GA Voice - - Outspoken -

Decades later, chap­ters ex­ist in more than 400 com­mu­ni­ties, from Alaska to Alabama. Out­side At­lanta, the Ge­or­gia re­gion in­cludes chap­ters in Johns Creek, Ma­ri­etta, Macon, Peachtree City and Athens.

Over time, Voutos said the group’s mis­sion has stretched to in­clude ed­u­cat­ing the com­mu­nity on LGBT is­sues. In turn, she said the com­mu­nity is ed­u­cat­ing them on their needs – which in­creas­ingly cen­ter on trans­gen­der and queer youth.

Ken­ne­saw par­ents with trans daugh­ter grate­ful

Fam­i­lies like the Sli­pakoffs, in Ken­ne­saw, typ­ify the new face of LGBT fam­i­lies.

Eight years ago, Jen­nifer Sli­pakoff was look­ing for­ward to wel­com­ing a son. Al­ready the mother of one rough and tum­ble boy, she read­ied her nursery with tra­di­tional boys dé­cor, and pre­pared for a house bustling with PFLAG now has chap­ters in more than 400 com­mu­ni­ties across the US. (File photo) trucks and play gun fights.

Her trans­gen­der daugh­ter Al­lie, now a third grader, had other plans.

Sli­pakoff said she first no­ticed her daugh­ter grav­i­tat­ing to tra­di­tion­ally fem­i­nine things around 18 months – a doll here, fe­male-themed pa­ja­mas there. When her lit­tle one started turn­ing capes into skirts and pil­low­cases into flow­ing hair, Sli­pakoff con­cluded she was go­ing to have a gay son.

Then one day, Sli­pakoff said Al­lie feigned sleepi­ness and slipped into the girl’s pa­ja­mas her open-minded par­ents had bought for her. Mo­ments later, Sli­pakoff said her tod­dler was wide awake – but un­will­ing to take off the pa­ja­mas.

“I re­al­ized that she had just put those pa­ja­mas on be­cause they were girl’s clothes,” said Sli­pakoff, who, in a light­bulb mo­ment, re­al­ized she was see­ing more than just a gay youth.

Over the next few years, her child tran­si­tioned into full-time girls cloth­ing, fe­male pro­nouns and a name that suited her bet­ter than her birth name. By the time Al­lie talked about be­ing a mom, not a par­ent, Sli­pakoff had started look­ing for fam­i­lies like hers.

She joined PFLAG At­lanta two years ago. It has since be­come an in­valu­able place to meet peo­ple who un­der­stand the jour­ney of rais­ing a young transwoman.

“For me,” she said, “it’s just a place where peo­ple get it.”

For their work helping cre­ate a safe space for count­less LGBT fam­i­lies and sup­port­ers, PFLAG At­lanta will be hon­ored with a grand mar­shal slot in the At­lanta Pride pa­rade on Oct. 9. The pa­rade will fea­ture a dozen such grand mar­shals nom­i­nated for on­go­ing con­tri­bu­tions to the LGBT com­mu­nity. Other grand mar­shals in­clude Si­mone Bell, south­ern re­gional direc­tor for Lambda Le­gal, and Out On Film.

By be­ing in the pa­rade, Voutos said the group hopes to build to­ward its future by echo­ing the past and that bold day so many years ago.

“It’s the op­por­tu­nity for us to say, ‘Come and talk to us,’” Voutos said.

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