Windows on Our Past

Windows on Our Past

Over the course of this anniversary year, we will be telling the story in a number of ways, at meetings and celebrations. Here on the website we’re highlighting our Founder’s Bio and Windows on Our Past. We hope you will return each month as we open a new window on milestones in our early history.

Many of the items are photos of documents—laboriously typed on Smith Corona and other typewriters and covered with handwritten notes—so don’t expect YouTube or Instagram. Instead you will see items that our extraordinary founders made with their own hands as they struggled to break down prejudice with carbon paper and a passion for justice.

These yellowing, fragile pieces of paper come from a time when LGBTQ relationships were criminalized, where the mere suggestion of a gay identity could lose you your apartment or your job. They come from a time when LGBTQ persons lived closeted lives to survive. They come from a time psychologists blamed domineering mothers and weak fathers for the sexual orientation or gender identity of their children. There was no Google, no Wikipedia, no Facebook, no help for family members or ways to connect with other parents.

All the wonderful organizations we take for granted now—National Center for Lesbian Rights (1977), HRC (1980), GLAAD (1985), National Center for Transgender Rights (2003), and PFLAG (1974)—were just starting to form.

Each photo and document is a stepping stone on the way that led to today’s PFLAG organization, to our current chapter, and to the greater equality and acceptance LGBTQ persons and their families now enjoy.

           Would I have had the courage to take this step?  What can I do now to move equality forward?

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