Frequently Asked Questions about PFLAG Boulder County Meetings and Membership
Do I have to make an appointment or let someone know that I am coming?
No. You can simply attend the meeting on the second Sunday of every month at 2:00 p.m. at one of our various Boulder County locations. See the event calendar for the specific location of each event. If you wish, you are welcome to contact our helpline at 303-444-8164 and leave a voice or text message and someone will respond to your inquiry.
Who can come to a meeting?
Anyone and everyone, including friends, come for different reasons. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, “queer” or questioning persons (LGBTQ) and their family members may first come to a PFLAG meeting because they are dealing with personal issues and need support, resources or a listening ear. Sometimes LGB persons and family members attend to support other parents adjusting to the news that their child is LGB. Transgendered persons or their family members may have somewhat different issues, but whoever needs support and greater understanding about gender identity or expression and sexual orientation is welcome. Straight persons who consider themselves allies and care about fairness for LGBTQ’s are warmly welcomed. There is a separate meeting for spouses of LGBTQ persons whose needs are often different. They need help with personal issues that have permanently changed their family life.
Straight persons come to meetings because they simply want to help the LGBTQ rights movement or they want to help a friend who is LGBT or they are curious about how to handle LGBTQ issues that face today’s society. Some people attend PFLAG just to learn how to stand up for the rights of LGBTQ persons or just because they are curious about doing more to support LGBTQ persons. There are many different types of people who come and all are welcome. You always have a home in PFLAG. You can count on it.
Who attends these meetings?
People come from various backgrounds, occupations, and different age groups.
Many, but not all, have gone through similar experiences of struggling about being LGBTQ or a parent or family member of an LGBTQ loved one. Some 48% of our chapter members are LGBTQ and 52% are family or friends. Although people may first come to PFLAG to share personal stories, most of our members say that the educational programming is what brings them back to meetings. Others come to PFLAG to become activists to work for equality, safety and fairness for LGBTQ persons.
Do I need a reason to attend a PFLAG meeting?
No. You do not have to have a pressing crisis or have to be associated with anyone in the gay community. You can simply come. We welcome allies who may not be LGBTQ or have a family member who is, but they believe in social justice and want to act on that value.
What usually takes place at a meeting?
PFLAG chapter meetings begin with small groups, one for newcomers and those who need support, another for those who just want to talk about issues of general concern. Whatever is shared in the support group is confidential. The program part of our meeting is open both to members and any visitors who are interested in the topic or speaker. Simple refreshments are served. Then we share announcements of upcoming events, followed by an hour-long program which may be a panel, a guest speaker, a film or other means to address a variety of LGBTQ topics to fulfill our educational mission.
I am really not comfortable with large groups. Is there any way I can meet PFLAG members without having to go to meetings?
If you prefer a private meeting with someone who has been through a similar situation, you can contact our PFLAG helpline and request to meet for “coffee and conversation,” someone from PFLAG who can listen to you and offer empathic support. We would be happy to arrange this for you. Also, people have brought their friend or someone else they trust to accompany them to a PFLAG meeting. We welcome anyone who walks through the PFLAG door.
What do people talk about at meetings?
PFLAG members talk about all sorts of topics. Some share the news that their LGBTQ child has told other members of their family of his/her sexuality or gender variance and we all celebrate that courage to be honest about who he/she is. Some members talk about the struggles their spouse or other relatives have with accepting their LGBTQ child. Some members talk about how difficult it is to hear gay jokes. Some members talk about a news story or a political event that was unfavorable to gays and we gather information to educate ourselves about current LGBTQ events.
Does PFLAG have ties to religion?
PFLAG is a non-sectarian organization. There is no connection between PFLAG and any particular faith. However, we realize that religion plays an important role in determining attitudes toward LGBTQ persons. We are also aware that welcoming faith communities play an important role in changing anti-gay attitudes in society and supporting LGBTQs and their families, so we work to improve their knowledge and understanding.
People from different religious backgrounds or none at all come to PFLAG meetings. Some of us are affiliated as individuals with our local congregations and some of us had to struggle with being affiliated with a church or temple that rejects LGBTQs. Some of us have left any faith community and choose to think of ourselves as “spiritual but not religious.” PFLAG makes no judgment about anyone’s personal decision concerning their faith or non-faith beliefs. Even though our chapter meets at the various community churches, we are not affiliated with any church or temple. FUMC is a Reconciling Congregation which means they welcome LGBT persons into full participation. They have supported PFLAG since l993 by providing low-cost space. Cairn Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is an open and affirming church and is allowing PFLAG Boulder County to offer it’s services throughout the county.
How does a person join PFLAG?
PFLAG is a membership organization. Annual dues are $25 for individuals and $35 for a family unit. The Supporting member level is $50 and a Sustaining membership is $100. Fifteen dollars of each membership goes to National PFLAG as our affiliate dues to contribute toward the many services available to us from the national staff. Besides offering workshops to help chapters expand membership, develop leadership and build capacity as strong local volunteer-run organizations, the national office lobbies for LGBTQ legislation. We are one of 500 chapters across the country, unified by National.
We hope that you find the PFLAG chapter welcoming, socially gratifying, and enriching to your understanding of LGBTQ issues. After people have their own needs for support met, we hope that they will want to become involved in supporting others and giving back to the organization through their participation in leadership roles, attendance at meetings and/or special events and continuing financial support.
One thing I have heard about PFLAG meetings is that they consist of mothers who sob about their child being gay. Is this true?
Although we do make sure we take time to support those who are experiencing struggles, we also take time to celebrate our loved ones. Sometimes tears are a first step in the process of moving toward acceptance. There is usually a process for parents and family members similar to Kubler-Ross’s “death and dying” steps. Parents who never anticipated their child could be gay are first shocked and in denial, followed by sadness and blame. They can choose to stay stuck there or move to expand their understanding by learning more about what it means to be gay. Once on that path, they move to acceptance and eventually can even discover pride and move into advocacy. Some parents move immediately into actively working to make our society more accepting.
Another story is that all PFLAG Moms and Dads have to march in Pride Parades. Must they?
Marching in the annual Gay Pride Parade is a form of advocacy for our LGBT loved ones. We think of marching as an act of unconditional love. That’s why PFLAG gets such love in return. It can be a gratifying experience because PFLAG always gets the most applause and heartfelt cries of “thank you” from appreciative crowds. But not everyone is ready to be “out” in a public way and that’s all right. Those who march have reached a place of acceptance and pride in being gay or having a gay family member. Marching isn’t just for family members. Anyone is welcome to walk with PFLAG at this favorite annual event, but it is not mandatory. Others prefer to express their activism by lobbying legislators or speaking out to stop harassment at school or discrimination in the work place or community.