Our PFLAG chapter was formed when two Greenville mothers, Leslie Johnson and Carole Lender, discovered they had in common the experience of each parenting a gay child. They held their first PFLAG meeting in the fall of 1992, having the courage to go public at a time when it was not popular to talk about LGBTQ+ issues.
“We started our chapter because we did not want any other children to suffer the way our sons had,” Johnson said. “We also wanted to offer support and love to the inclusive community, educate about who GLBT people (the terminology in those days) are, and make sure we were out and advocating for all our children whenever and wherever we could.
“We chose to be ‘out’ with our pictures and telephone numbers because we believed secrecy breeds shame, and yet we recognized secrecy was necessary until one was ready to be ‘out.’
“It is gratifying to know the number of people who have reached out to our chapter and supported their own family members,” she continued, “and of those who have also gone on to educate and advocate on behalf of the LGBTQ+ community.”
Johnson said she hopes the time comes when PFLAG no longer needs to exist.
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