We all know the story, or one like it. A person comes out to their family or friends. They are met with questions, surprise, revulsion or rejection at first, and in the best case scenario, love moves those family members and friends to look for help and support; to understand.
For many, they find PFLAG, an organization and community designed to help them lead with love. It is a place to learn about how to be an LGBTQ+ ally, to seek and offer help navigating change and societal pressures, and to beat the drum of advocacy to end harm to LGBTQ+ people.
There is nothing quite like a PFLAG hug. It’s been a ubiquitous part of Pride celebrations and marches since 1972. A parent, sibling, grandparent, or friend marching to share their love and support for their LGBTQ+ loved ones never fails to bring tears of joy or hugs along the route.
This year is going to be the first time in 47 years that many Pride celebrations won’t happen, and people who need those hugs won’t be able to get them.
It is one of the reasons PFLAG Connects is so important to have at this moment in our LGBTQ+ history. We may not be able to physically hug, but virtual support is there as we need it.
PFLAG Connects — our new social distancing-approved program during COVID-19 — is where community members meet with chapters virtually, (online, through email, and on the phone), to bring our local, chosen LGBTQ+ family together.
In addition to offering local support meetings and events for families online, PFLAG Connects includes several elements:
- A weekly live streaming event, “Something to Talk About Live!,” to engage people on Facebook and YouTube in timely, topic-driven conversations
- A weekly PFLAG Connects newsletter
- Advocacy tools to engage with lawmakers virtually in educational policy roundtables and town halls
- PFLAG Academy online learning sessions, both live and on demand.
In Southern California, we have 11 PFLAG chapters that connect the community in support of LGBTQ+ people. Now, those chapters provide support and services virtually through PFLAG Connects. If you or a loved one would like to get involved, to give or to get support, please contact your local SoCal PFLAG chapter.