PFrequently asked questions about PFLAG Portland
Is PFLAG an acronym?
Not any more.
In 2014, the organization officially changed its name from "Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays" to, simply, PFLAG. This change was made to accurately reflect PFLAG members, those that PFLAG serves, and the inclusive work PFLAG has been doing for decades.
Are the chapters in the PFLAG Portland family independent?
No. Each of our chapters are peer-support programs of PFLAG Portland.
The chapters in our family share resources and responsibility for chapter family governance through a combined Board of Directors.
PFLAG chapters arise from and are shaped by the communities they serve. Ever since PFLAG’s founding in 1972 we’ve helped LGBTQ folks, friends, and families to stay strong almost entirely through the dedicated effort of volunteers. It takes a lot of time, work, and resources to build a new PFLAG chapter from scratch – resources that can be hard to come by. With PFLAG Portland's "satellite chapter" model we can respond to community needs quickly, while keeping operating costs as low as possible.
Is PFLAG Portland associated with a particular faith tradition?
We are not affiliated with any religion or faith community, but often partner with supportive faith communities.
Our current chapter meeting hosts are actively welcoming faith communities that support LGBTQ individuals and their families and have graciously donated the use of their space to us.
Meetings are held in community meeting rooms, welcoming and open spaces free of religious iconography.
Does PFLAG support political candidates?
PFLAG speaks out on issues and policy, but does not support candidates.
PFLAG works to keep the critical family and ally voice part of the political conversation. While we speak out on policy at the federal, state and local level, as a 501c3 organization, we do not advocate for or against particular candidates. We do, however, work to get out the vote, which is an important part of the political process. We educate the electorate on issues critical to creating a world where diversity is celebrated and all people are respected, valued, and affirmed.
Does PFLAG offer counseling or other services?
PFLAG is a peer-support organization.
Everyone at PFLAG is on a journey, and know that the journey is easier when shared. While PFLAGers may offer personal recommendations, and while PFLAG maintains a list of resources and providers, we don't provide such services ourselves.
Isn't PFLAG just for straight parents of LGBTQ kids?
PFLAG is a safe space for anyone who's on the journey towards living an authentic life as an LGBTQ person, or as a friend, family member, or ally.
We were founded by the mom of a gay son, but our membership has always been about half straight and half LGBTQ. Our meetings include people of all ages and family situations. PFLAG is for you.
Why is family support needed, now that we have pro-LGBTQ laws?
Laws don't change hearts and minds; hearts and minds change laws. Cultures change slowly.
The recent legal victories for LGBTQ folks are wonderful. But still the single most important factor for the health and wellbeing of LGBTQ people is family support and acceptance - whatever your age. And that acceptance is still far from being universal.
I'm 14. Can I attend a PFLAG meeting?
If you're accompanied by a parent or guardian, absolutely.
Owing to the sensitive nature of the topics we discuss at our meetings, you must be of the age of consent or attend with a parent or guardian.
Do you offer transgender-specific support?
Transgender individuals and families are a major focus of our peer support.
We've found, however, that our members like the way our big-tent approach breaks down silos and promotes deeper understanding of each person's unique challenges.
Our chapter meetings are always open to all. At each meeting our attendees can decide to split into sharing circles according to need. We understand that having a safe space is important for everyone that we serve - but over the years we've found that bringing everyone together for a portion of our meetings is an important part of staying strong.
There are many service organizations that address the unique needs of the transgender community. At our meetings you'll find many folks who've been there before and can help.