PARENTS, FAMILIES AND FRIENDS ALLIED WITH THE LGBTQ COMMUNITY
Westwood's Guest Speaker Series:
Español So Cal
December 16, 2015 – 7:30 pm
Helping LGBTQ Youth find their True COLORS
– Stephanie Flax highlights services free to LGBTQ Youth at Antioch University, Los Angeles
LGBTQ youth have a lot to cope with. Not only do they have to struggle with the usual teenage issues of finding a welcoming peer group, separating from parents, handling romance, keeping up their grades and making plans for college, they also have to explore and come to terms with their LGBTQ identity. In their homes and schools, they are a minority–often a minority of one.
COLORS, an LGBTQ youth counseling center, is designed to provide them support as they come to terms with these challenges. Stephanie Flax, program director, will share with us the opportunities for LGBTQ youth at this service, provided free of charge by Antioch University, Los Angeles (AULA).
COLORS offers LGBTQ affirmative therapy that addresses not only the teenage bullying, suicide, depression, substance abuse and other symptoms of oppression, but also, and more importantly, empowers LGBTQ youth to realize their finest potentials through psycho¬education and sustained psychological healing.
Antioch University Los Angeles has a history of serving the LGBTQ Community. In 2005, it launched the nation's first graduate LGBT Specialization in Clinical Psychology training a new generation of activist psychotherapists equipped with much needed multicultural competence in LGBT ¬affirmative counseling.
Stephanie Flax, our speaker, has a life long commitment to serving others both professionally and in volunteer positions. She is graduate of AULA's Master in Non-Profit Management, and has worked with a variety of populations, including seniors living with Alzheimer's disease. A passionate supporter of the LGBTQ community, she will talk about ways in which we can all be affirming to LGBTQ youth and outline the services provided by COLORS.
Visit their website at www.colorsyouth.org
Previous 2015 Guest Speakers or Events:
November 18, 2015 – 7:30 pm
Giving Thanks for YOU with an extra helping of support!
At our November meeting, we'll be going back for seconds–not of turkey and dressing, but of support. Thanksgiving is the official start of the holiday season. Ahead of us is the prospect of gathering together with family and friends. While that is often a time of happiness and rejoicing, it's also complicated.
For LGBTQ persons and their families the holiday can bring up lots of mixed emotions. Happy memories and nostalgia can remind us of our dreams for ourselves and our family members that may not have materialized or are coming true in an unexpected way.
Holidays may mean that new people are sitting down at our tables–perhaps a child's partner, reminding us in a very concrete way of their sexual orientation. And the "what should I wear to Grandma's house" may spark a wide-ranging fight if a transgender child wants to dress in a way that expresses their gender identity.
How do we handle the evangelical aunt or the conservative grandfather? What if you are a straight sibling playing go-between and peace-maker among family factions?
Our November meeting is a time to talk about potential problems, strategize ways of responding to difficult questions or people, and expressing our own holiday emotions–whether happy or sad.
You can be sure our PFLAG family will welcome you with lots of support, understanding, and love.
October 21, 2015 – 7:30 pm
– Robert Peterson explains Pre-Exposure Prophylaxsis (PrEP) for HIV prevention
Although it has been replaced in the medical headlines by the Ebola virus, the vaccination debate, and other hot topics, HIV-AIDS is still with us. It remains a threat to every sexual active person, especially those not in an exclusive relationship. While antiretroviral medications can prevent HIV from progressing to AIDS and prolong life, they may have debilitating side effects and do not work equally well for all patients.
Staying HIV free is vital. Prevention begins with safer sex practices. As of July 2012, there is more help. That's when the FDA approved a medication Truvada that has been found to be "highly effective" in preventing infection in HIV-negative people. The regime is called PrEP, and it's a one-dose-daily medication, whose success depends on strict adherence to the program.
Is this medication right for you or someone you love? That's a complicated question only answerable when you know the facts. Our speaker, Robert Peterson, will discuss the way in which HIV works, how antiretrovirals control it, and what exactly PrEP is and does. He will describe studies on the effectiveness of this program, and also talk about the side effects of the drug. He'll suggest ways to discuss this option with your physician and to get financial help for the medication if you need this.
Pre-exposure preventative drugs like Truvada are controversial. It is not 100% effective and does not prevent other sexually transmitted diseases. It's not a free pass to resume risky behaviors or abandoned safer sex practices such as using condoms. It IS a new tool in the prevention of HIV-AIDS, which PFLAG members should be aware of.
Robert (Rob) Peterson is Vice President of PFLAG Bakersfield, and has been a PrEP user and educator for 18 months, giving presentation at PFLAG chapters throughout the state and at community forums.
September 16, 2015 – 7:30 pm
– Tom Froehlich—gay man, author, and jack-of-all-trades talks about the benefits of not fitting in
It's hard to believe that the lively and enthusiastic Tom Froehlich every wanted to fit in. But as a gay teen growing up in a conservative Midwest town, he tried desperately to belong. He learned to hide not only his sexuality, but anything else that made him stand out. Fortunately, he failed, liberating himself to have glorious and sometimes disastrous adventures on the road to becoming his true self.
With a style that is by turns humorous, satirical, and poignant, Tom will tell the story of the many paths he has taken. He has been a graphic designer, writer, owned and operated a pottery studio, bartended, traveled the world buying beautiful things with someone else’s money, taught art and math to kindergartener students and worked in drug & alcohol recovery.
Now, having found his true calling, he is a author and motivational speaker, encouraging listeners, especially youth, to discover and celebrate everything they are. His books include It Happened Along the Way and 101 Simple Suggestions for Better Living. He is also the author of a blog called "My Uncle's Shoes and Other Serendipitous Stories from Everyday Life."
Teresa Proctor, host of the nationally syndicated talk show, “Wise Divas”, proclaims, “Tom has an effervescent personality you will remember long after he has left the room!” PFLAG Board Member Karen Mason says “It’s amazing how Tom can keep you laughing even when addressing difficult issues. He has a way of looking at life that makes the scary things, not seem so scary.”
Join us at our September meeting to hear a speaker whose serious insights come wrapped in a layer of fun.
Visit his website at www.tomspeakz.com
August 18, 2015 – 7:00 pm
– You and a guest are invited to a special advance screening
Lily Tomlin is Elle Reid. Elle has just gotten through breaking up with her girlfriend when Elle’s granddaughter, Sage unexpectedly shows up needing $600 bucks before sundown. Temporarily broke, Grandma Elle and Sage spend the day trying to get their hands on the cash as their unannounced visits to old friends and flames end up rattling skeletons and digging up secrets. Starring Lily Tomlin, Julia Garner, Marcia Gay Harden, Judy Greer, Laverne Cox and Sam Elliott.
Click here for more information and to RSVP*.
*RSVP confirmation is required for attendance.
August 19, 2015 – 7:30 pm
An Advocate for LGBTQ Victims of Crime
– Joanne Zaratan talks about a special program to assist members of our Community
Nobody likes to think about it, but any of us can be a victim of violent crime. In Los Angeles, there are approximately 400 violent crimes per every 100,000 persons.
Sadly some of us, are at far greater risk than others. According to data compiled by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the LGBT community leads the list. LGBTQ persons are more than twice as likely to be violently attacked as African Americans, more than twice as likely to be attacked as Jews, more than four times as likely to be attacked as Muslims, and more than 13 times more likely to be attacked as Latinos.
Tonight's speaker, Joanne Zaratan, lead coordinator, will tell us about the help available to victims through the City of Los Angeles' Victim Assistance Program, and in particular it's Underserved Victim Advocacy and Outreach Program.
Recognizing that the LGBTQ community has not always been respectfully treated by law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and city officers, the City Attorney's Office created the Underserved program in 2012 to assure that services and support will be to ALL crime victims and witnesses.
Zaratan has been working directly with victims of crime and their families for over ten years. Among the services offered are assistance in filing for the California Victim Compensation Program (CalVCP), information and resource referrals, crisis intervention and emergency assistance, criminal case status or disposition information, orientation to criminal justice system, court support, and restitution information.
Her interest and passion in the field of victim advocacy stemmed from a college internship she accepted with the City Attorney’s Office Victim Assistance Program in 2004. In addition to her direct work with victims, she is continually involved in outreach to community members, non-profit organizations, and other government agencies.
Don't be a victim. But if you are, remember you have a friend in City Hall—Joanne Zaratan and the Underserved Victims Advocacy and Outreach Program.
July 9 - 19, 2015
Join PFLAG at We are thrilled to be collaborating with OUTFEST Los Angeles – eleven days of worldclass films, discussions, and parties. Outfest Los Angeles is the premier LGBT film festival in the world and has presented more over 5,500 films and videos for audiences of more than half a million people.
For 33 years Outfest has led the charge, spotlighting emerging talent, creating community between filmmakers and audiences and offering a forum for stories that reflect and often transform LGBTQ lives. Outfest is also the only nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring that the extensive but threatened
LGBT film heritage is preserved.
Tickets are going fast. Call the Box Office at (213) 480-7065 and mention that you are with PFLAG and receive $2 off each ticket for any film at the festival! This discount IS NOT available when purchasing the tickets on-line.
Wednesday, July 15, 2015 - 7:30 pm
The Force of a Soul
– Rev. Dr. Mel White, a Christian and a national LGBTQ leader talks about change
Rev. Dr. Mel White is a giant in the work of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex acceptance. For nearly 30 years, he was a pillar of the Christian conservative right working as a pastor, professor, author, filmmaker and ghostwriter. When he finally accepted his homosexuality as “a gift from God,” Dr. White wrote his autobiography, Stranger at the Gate: To be Gay and Christian in America. Since coming out as gay, he has worked continually to bring hope and healing to LBGTQ people everywhere through Soulforce, his justice ministry.
Since 1999, Dr. White and his partner, Gary Nixon, have run Soulforce as a network of volunteers across the U.S. who use the tools of nonviolence pioneered by Mahatma Ghandi and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to end religious based oppression of LGBTQ Americans. Soulforce has trained thousands of volunteers in nonviolence. More than a thousand have been arrested and fined for “taking the message to the streets.”
In this historic month, when the U.S. Supreme Court has legalized gay marriage throughout the United States, it is a great honor to have Dr. White speak to us and recount his inspiring journey. He turned 75 in June as well but is not slowing down. Come and hear Dr. White’s message about God’s unconditional love and the inherent dignity and integrity of all people including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex individuals. His newest book is Grace and Demion: A Fable for Victims of Biblical Intolerance.
For more information visit his website at www.melwhite.org.
June 12-14, 2015
March with us on Sunday, June 14!
and join the Care with Pride Campaign promoting
respect and safe schools for all students.
Wednesday, June 17, 2015 - 7:30 pm
After the Wedding
- Attorney Marc J. Schwartz reminds us that legal issues still exist for married LGBTQ couples
You've said your vows and cut the wedding cake. You may even have filed your taxes jointly. But the fact that same-sex marriage is legal doesn't make it simple. For the newlyweds and their happy families, there are still a lot of decisions to make related to how best to hold assets, inheritance issues, estates planning, and trusts.
There are also parenting decisions, whether a couple brings children into the marriage or chooses to become parents. Does one parent need to adopt a non-biological child? What issues arise if you are considering surrogacy?
Marc J. Schwartz will suggest some of the questions all of us need to consider, and provide guidelines to the answers--all with an emphasis on LGBTQ couples and their special needs.
Marc is a magna cum laude graduate of Pepperdine School of Law with nineteen years of experience in estate planning, real estate, and business law. He specializes in this area of law because of his passion for helping all kinds of families create happy and secure futures. His firm also works closely with a surrogacy law firm to help LGBTQ couples become parents.
Come to a presentation that may help all members of our community be more prepared for the future.
Wednesday, May 20, 2015 - 7:30 pm
Here, You Belong!
- Hillel Wasserman has a message of inclusion from Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angles
Now in its hundredth year, Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles (JBBBSLA) is serving the youth of the Jewish community–no matter what.
Children are wildly different—different personalities, different talents, different economic and family circumstances, different gender identities and different sexual orientation. But they all have one thing in common—the need for caring adults in their lives.
JBBSLA reaches out to all Jewish children between the ages of 6 to 18, matching one child with one big brother or sister, who has made a commitment for regularly visits at least twice a month for a year. That's part of a century long tradition. What's new is that the organization now has an explicit policy of including LGBTQ persons at all levels of the organization.
CEO Randy Scwab says, “At JBBBSLA we believe that there is great richness in the mosaic of Jewish life here in Los Angeles, and LGBT men and women are an important part of that picture,” In recent months he has worked to implement an inclusion policy that translates that commitment into specific outreach to the community.
The policy reads in part: "Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles actively acknowledges and embraces the richness and full spectrum of the Jewish community. It is our commitment to create an environment where all voices will be heard and treated with respect. These standards are expected of our leadership, staff and volunteers as JBBBSLA builds its diverse constituency with full acceptance, irrespective of gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, race, ethnicity, and/or level of Jewish observance."
Volunteer mentors get as much as they give. “Bigs” pick their “Littles” up from their homes to take them on a variety of recreational, cultural or educational activities—or even just hang out. It is in those moments of shared ballgames, museum outings, miniature golfing or just goofing off at the duck pond in Franklin Canyon, that kids can let go, open up, and ultimately gain the confidence they need to move through the world as blossoming adults—simply because someone took the time to allow them that space. Big Sibs have the priceless reward of knowing they changed a child's life for the better.
If you are interested in becoming a Jewish Big Brother or Big Sister
check out their website at www.jbbbsla.org.
Wednesday, April 15, 2015 - 7:30 pm
- Abandoned at 14, Michael Garcia tells his story of suffering and survival
Parents who come to PFLAG Los Angeles may have some uncomfortable feelings about their child's sexual orientation and/or gender identity, but they are trying to be supportive.
That's not what happens to every child who's LGBTQ. Some get harsh and unrelenting criticism, others get thrown away.
That's what happened to Michael Garcia at the age of 14. This month he'll share his experience as a homeless youth who managed to stay in school, get good grades and graduate. All while trying to figure out his where his next meal was coming from.
This remarkably resilient youth went on to be a member of his high school's student council, captain of the cheer team, and a peer mediator.
Michael and the youth like him are a main reason why PFLAG exists. We work for the day when wonderful LGBTQ kids like Michael will be celebrated not exiled by their families.
Wednesday, March 18, 2015 - 7:30 pm
Exploring Gender Diversity
- A Guided Tour by Benji, genderqueer activist and leader of PFLAG Silver Lake
By the time a child in our society is born, dozens of people have inquired about that child's path in life: the pink path or the blue path. The assumptions and expectations are set up long before the M or F has even been placed on the birth certificate.
But what woman goes through her life entirely dressed in pink, fulfilling every stereotype set forth about womanhood by the media? What man hasn't been told that he needs to be more of a man than he already is? And what about the people whose core senses of self don't fall neatly in either of the two boxes?
Our society has built up an elaborate system to structure masculinity and femininity as two mutually exclusive categories, and the repercussions impact us all on a daily basis. Benji, who alternately goes by Lucy, will delve into some of our most basic assumptions about what it means to be male or female, boy or girl, man or woman, XX or XY, fueled by estrogen or governed by testosterone, or to fall into a category outside of or intermingling the above.
Lucy will give you pointers and examples for how to be a better ally to folks who may find their true selves outside strict binary gender norms. Not only will you walk away with a better understanding of a diversity of gender experiences, but with a new appreciation for your own personal relationship to your gender.
Lucy is a genderqueer activist who has been speaking for the PFLAG Speakers Bureau for years. They have presented workshops and lectures about gender at colleges, LGBTQ organizations and conferences, and have participated in a Gender 101 YouTube series.
Wednesday, February 18, 2015 - 7:30 pm
An Extra Helping of Support!
- More time for sharing our ups and downs
At some meetings there just doesn't seem to be enough time to talk about all the issues that come up in the support group. That's why we try to schedule one or two meetings a year devoted exclusively to support.
We're inviting you to come with all your questions, challenges, inspirations, joys, and struggles related to sexual orientation and gender identity--your own or someone else's. Our more relaxed format this month will enable us to have longer, and perhaps deeper, conversations.
Take advantage of this chance to talk in depth about the issues close to your heart.
Wednesday, January 21, 2015 - 7:30 pm
Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo
— Two plaintiffs in the Case Against Proposition 8
"Hero" is an overused word. But it fits Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo who, with their fellow plaintiffs Kris Perry and Sandy Stier, brought the successful law suit that overturned Proposition 8 in the state of California. In a grueling, five-year battle that culminated in the Supreme Court, Katami and Zarrillo won the right for LGBTQ couples to marry in California and opened the door for legal challenges to marriage discrimination laws in many other states.
Katami and Zarrillo would probably describe themselves as an ordinary couple--a house with a mortgage and two dogs. But they showed extraordinary courage in opening their lives to court testimony, media scrutiny, partisan censure, hate mail, and an outpouring of love and support from the LGBT community with its straight allies. They bore the pressure of testifying in a case of crucial importance. They endured the strain of five years of legal maneuvering where intervals of intensity were punctuated long stretches of agonizing waiting.
Paul is a fitness expert and small business owner with a bachelor's degree and a master's degree from the University of California system. Jeff is the general manager of a theater company and graduate of Montclair State University in his native New Jersey. They became a couple in 1998. By 2008, they wanted to formalize their union but the only option open to them was a civil union, which lacked both the protections and the status of civil marriage.
After witnessing a particularly ugly commercial warning against "the gathering storm of gay marriage," they committed themselves to activism in the fight for marriage equality. When the opportunity came to serve as plaintiffs in a major law suit with attorneys Theodore B. Olson and David Boies, they agreed. Jeff testified "When someone is married . . . it says to [others] that these individuals are serious, these individuals are committed to one another; they have taken steps to be involved in a relationship that one hopes lasts the rest of their lives."
On June 26, 2013 the Supreme Court issued a ruling upholding the lower court judgment that Proposition 8 was unconstitutional. On June 28 a stay holding that lower courts ruling in abeyance was lifted. That day Paul and Jeff were married at Los Angeles City Hall by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
Come witness history at our January meeting!