Approximately once a quarter we try to put together a summary of news from our local chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. Our mailing list contains more than 150 addresses of people and organizations, many of whom are keenly interested in what we are doing but cannot attend our monthly meetings. We value their interest and support and prepare this report with them in mind as well as our more active participants.
Our New Website Continues Its Remarkable Success
We went public on January 1, 2006 with our new website (www.pflagnashville.org). We think it is not only attractive to the eye, but also contains a greatly expanded wealth of information, including entire booklets that can be read on-line or printed. In January the site was visited 1,460 times and, in the shorter month of February, 1,283 times. We were surprised to have the number of visits in March exceed the January total to reach 1,539. Then on April 3 the site received 204 visits in a single day. We have clearly begun to serve a great need with this renewed form of outreach.
Trying To Do Our Part On the Political Front
PFLAG has three primary goals: Support, Education and Advocacy. While we place a premium on supporting folks who are experiencing the trauma and uncertainty that can accompany either coming out or having someone close to us do so, we do not neglect the other important concerns. With the state legislature in town, we cannot fail to hear the call to advocacy. We have responded in various ways so far, but underneath it all is our partnership with the Tennessee Equality Project (www.tnep.org). We have overlapping memberships and have been devoting time in our meetings to updates on the status of various political moves that impact the lives of gay and lesbian citizens. It is already the case that Tennesseans will vote this fall on a constitutional amendment that would make it illegal for persons of the same gender to marry. Now there are stirrings of a new attempt in the legislature to forbid homosexually oriented couples from adopting children. PFLAG members are writing letters to the editor, contacting legislators, contributing funds to TEP and more.
A Very Successful Diversity Training Event for School Counselors, Therapists
Last fall it was suggested in one of our meetings that a resource packet be developed for school counselors and teachers and a committee was appointed for the task. To our delighted surprise that project grew into a day-long diversity training event sponsored and funded by Bradford Health Services. Attended by 30 people, including 20 school counselors along with several Bradford staff members and others, the leadership was provided by Diversity Builder. We are very proud of the PFLAG folks who helped to make the event possible. And the resource packets did get into the hands of school counselors in Davidson and Williamson counties.
Author Marc Adams Brought to Nashville By PFLAG
PFLAG Nashville presented author Marc Adams (The Preacher’s Son, and other books) in a Sunday afternoon lecture at Vanderbilt Divinity School on March 19. He told his gripping story of growing up in a fundamentalist family and eventually attending college at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University. His excruciating experiences as a young gay man coping with life in such environments, left him with a passion to reach out to LGBT students attending evangelical colleges. He founded an organization, Heart Strong, to which he devotes his full time efforts to serve those students.
And There Is A Lot More We Could Report
Two of the most senior members of PFLAG (who shall remain nameless) responded to an invitation to attend and distribute literature at a concert by up and coming young singer Garrison Starr when she appeared at Mercy Lounge (she expressed her appreciation of PFLAG in the invitation) on March 23. These intrepid (look it up) senior citizens figured they could somehow remain alert until the 9 p.m. starting time. Unfortunately, Ms. Starr did not appear on the stage until ten minutes to eleven, and since they were due to leave on a trip early the next morning, the less than indefatigable (another one) pair heard a few of her songs, deposited PFLAG brochures in places most likely to be seen in the dark room and took their leave.
Two of us spoke to a large adult Sunday School class at Belmont United Methodist Church on February 12 to support their quest to declare themselves an open and affirming group in the United Methodist connection. We have been to the church on other occasions and have great appreciation for what they are doing.
If you were aware of the controversy surrounding anti-gay comments by Rep. Debra Maggart in the media lately, you may not know that the issue surfaced in direct response to letters sent by a Vanderbilt graduate student after her initial attendance at one of our PFLAG meetings. Rep. Maggart, who is on one of the legislative committees considering a ban on adoption by homosexually oriented persons, defended her position by citing outrageous “studies” that inform her opinion that gay people are unfit to be parents. The public surfacing of this exchange of emails created quite a stir in the press.
Finally, we had some good programs at our meetings during the first quarter of 2006: a presentation about the Nashville Association of Professional Persons, now the GLBT Chamber of Commerce; a presentation about Diversity Builders’ training resources; and updates from the Tennessee Equality Project.
—Submitted on behalf of the leadership team,
PFLAG Nashville, April 2006
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