Most people remember vividly the coming-out moment
STRAIGHT FAMILY AND FRIENDS
Hearing a child, a sibling, a nephew, a best friend, or a student, say “I am gay” or “I am transgender” or I am bi-sexual” causes many different and powerful emotional reactions. For a lot of us, it was shock. Perhaps even a sense of indignation: “This doesn’t happen to people like us!” Others experience relief: “I thought this might be true.” Some people are honored: “I am glad that you trusted me enough to tell me.” Some people are angry: “Why are you burdening me with this?” All these reactions and lots more are completely normal.
Frequently, negative emotions overwhelm us – sorrow, anger, disappointment, embarrassment, shame, fear. That shouldn’t be surprising. While attitudes have changed dramatically over the last decade, we still live in a culture that gives us many negative messages and stereotypes about gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, as well as transgender, non-binary and gender fluid persons. We need time and information to sort out the facts hidden by the myths. Our brochures provide some general information about sexual orientation and gender identity.
What helps even more is talking with people who have been on the same journey. That’s what PFLAG is for. Come to a meeting. Listen. Share your feelings if you are able. Ask questions. If that’s too big a step, call one of our help lines or contact us by e-mail.
However you feel, be assured that the LGBTQ person in your life loves you and cares deeply about what you think. That love and a healthy desire to live life honestly inspired them to come out to you. By coming to this website, you have taken a big step toward responding with equal love and courage. Your relationship with your loved one can grow deeper, stronger, and closer than ever before. We look forward to seeing you at a meeting soon!
TRANSGENDER, GENDER FLUID AND QUEER PERSONS
Regardless of where you fit on the gender spectrum, you’re welcome at a PFLAG Los Angeles meeting. Our members include people who are transgender, gender nonconforming, gender questioning, gender creative, gender queer, and gender fluid. Whether you are in the process of questioning, finding a comfortable expression of gender identity, transitioning, or living your own authentic life, you can find a home at PFLAG. Parents, family members, friends and allies of transgender and gender variant persons are also warmly welcomed.
All PFLAG Los Angeles meetings have participants who are on the gender spectrum and parents of transgender or gender fluid children. In addition, we have started PFLAG Gender Focus, to serve your specific needs. See our meetings page for time and place. Our Gender Focus meeting is designed to help end any discomfort or isolation you feel, with leaders experienced in transgender issues and knowledgeable about resources for people with a variety of gender experiences. Parents of gender creative children are also encouraged to attend.
We recognize that a variety of challenges face transgender individuals and their loved ones, including employment and housing discrimination, the complex process of getting appropriate identity documents, finding culturally competent healthcare providers, family and parenting issues, and, unfortunately, violence. Our PFLAG Gender Focus meeting will offer a place to talk about these issues and find specific sources of help. Knowledge is power, and we hope to empower you and your family and friends.
Parents also have special challenges. While many transgender individuals wait until adulthood to disclose their gender identity to their parents, some children, even very young children, talk openly about their gender identity or give their families clues through their choice of toys, clothes, and playmates. These gender variant children may grow up to be transgender, gay or lesbian, straight, or to occupy their own unique place on the gender continuum. Guiding these children through the maze of education to a happy, healthy adulthood requires knowledge, sensitivity and a supportive community. Our PFLAG Gender Focus meetings is a great place to talk about the challenges and joys of guiding your special child to adulthood.
You are the reason our organization exists. Many of our members and board members are LGBTQ and lots of LGBTQ persons attend our meetings. They come at every stage of their journey. Some are in the questioning phase. Others are getting ready to come out to friends, family, employers, and, especially, parents.
Some LGBTQ people come alone. Others bring a friend for support. Frequently, LGBTQ people bring a parent or relative who is having a difficult time. We enjoy it when people who have been out a long time come back to provide support for other or just to get a little extra love from parents who care about all LGBTQ children.
Since many of our LGBTQ members came to us during the coming out process, we’ve provided some information about coming out safely in our brochures.
Remember, our first name may be “Parents,” but you, our children, are always welcome to come to our meetings, use our help lines, or contact us by e-mail.
Whatever your situation, you have a home at PFLAG.