Com­ing Out Se­ries

Meet the cru­saders be­hind the LGBTQ+ rights move­ment

Raise Vegan - - Contents - by Janet Kear­ney with help from Lind­sey Pem­brooke

Raise Ve­gan is able to bring you this se­ries with the help of Lind­sey Pem­brooke ( they/ them), who has been in­volved in the New Haven Pride Cen­ter since 2016 and joined the Cen­ter’s Board of Di­rec­tors this year. In ad­di­tion to co- co­or­di­nat­ing the Trans­gen­der Adult Sup­port Group at the New Haven Pride Cen­ter, they are a trained group fa­cil­i­ta­tor with PFLAG. org ( plfag. co. uk) and ac­tive in sup­port groups around the state and on­line. If you are non- bi­nary or the par­ent of a non- bi­nary child, you can find their sup­port group on Face­book: Non- Bi­nary Gen­der Pride.

In the fi­nal in­stall­ment of our four part se­ries, we dis­cuss the brave trail­blaz­ers of the LGBTQ+ com­mu­nity. We ex­plore how they give younger gen­er­a­tions the courage to be who they truly are, how they shape the world and in­spire peo­ple around them. You’ll meet in­di­vid­u­als who stood up to their peers and said, “No, I will not con­form to your ex­pec­ta­tions,” and showed so­ci­ety what love and sup­port are truly ca­pa­ble of. If your child has over­come their ini­tial fears and come out to you, you may be think­ing, so what now? While your child may be com­fort­able show­ing you their true self, they could still be ap­pre­hen­sive about com­ing out to the world. Meet­ing peers who have gone through sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tions, and can help your child gain con­fi­dence, is a great place to start.

You may not be ready for this as a par­ent, but there is noth­ing more af­firm­ing than meet­ing other peo­ple like your­self af­ter you have felt iso­lated for a long time. I would sug­gest en­cour­ag­ing them to meet oth­ers through lo­cal sup­port groups, but don’t force the sub­ject. Do the ini­tial ground­work and find lo­cal or­ga­ni­za­tions, groups and in­di­vid­u­als to whom they could reach out. Show them which sup­port groups and friends are there for them and, when they’re ready to take that step, they will be in­spired to be­gin a healthy pro­gres­sion to lead­ing a more ful­fill­ing life. PFLAG - Par­ents Fam­ily and Friends of Les­bians and Gays - is an or­ga­ni­za­tion that I highly rec­om­mend as a place to start. With four hun­dred chap­ters across the United states, and 200 thou­sand sup­port­ers, PFLAG is a place that your child can go to meet other peo­ple like them­self, hear oth­ers talk about their ex­pe­ri­ences and to have a chance to share their thoughts and feel­ings in a safe space. As a par­ent, you will have the same op­por­tu­nity to meet other par­ents nav­i­gat­ing sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tions.

Meet­ings be­gin with large group in­tro­duc­tions from speak­ers and then break into smaller, more spe­cific sup­port groups, such as: youth, ally/ par­ent, LGB+ re­la­tion­ships, and adult trans­gen­der.

Some­times all it takes is one per­son to change the world and that is why I love the story of PFLAG’s cre­ation and the Pride move­ment it­self.

The Pride move­ment was cre­ated in the af­ter­math of the Stonewall ri­ots. The ri­ots are re­garded as the sin­gle most im­por­tant turn­ing point for gay rights in the United States. The Stonewall ri­ots were a se­ries of vi­o­lent protests that oc­curred in late June, 1969 in re­sponse to a po­lice raid of the Stonewall Inn, a gay club in New York City’s Greenwich Vil­lage. The raid be­gan in the early hours of June 28th; an un­for­tu­nate se­ries of events cre­ated the per­fect storm and the scene quickly turned into a vi­o­lent riot. The fol­low­ing year, on the an­niver­sary of the riot, the first un­of­fi­cial Pride Pa­rade took to the streets of NYC and marched from the Stonewall Inn to Cen­tral Park, it in­spired many more pride marches around the world in the years that fol­lowed.

Dur­ing this first pa­rade, Jeanne Man­ford, a par­ent and a school teacher, was march­ing with her son, Morty, car­ry­ing a sign that read “Par­ents of gays, united in sup­port of our chil­dren.” Fel­low marchers ap­proached her and begged her to talk to their own par­ents. Jeanne would later go on to cre­ate an in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tion, PFLAG. This was a rev­o­lu­tion­ary act at the time, es­pe­cially as the early 1970s were chaotic for any­one that was LGBTQ+ or sup­ported the com­mu­nity, and yet, here was a mom that loved her son enough to stand by him and proudly show that sup­port.

PFLAG has changed to meet the sup­port needs of the LGBTQ+ rain­bow, as the times re­quired it. Orig­i­nally in sup­port of les­bians and gays, PFLAG has ex­panded to pro­vide sup­port for bi­sex­ual, trans­gen­der, non- bi­nary, and gen­der non- con­form­ing youth and adults, with par­ents and al­lies pass­ing on their knowl­edge to those who fol­low in their foot­steps. Their mis­sion is to re­as­sure peo­ple across the sex­ual and gen­der spec­trum that they are not alone. Thank­fully, Jeanne is not alone in her quest to cre­ate in­clu­sive­ness in the world. We’ve high­lighted some of her peers here, and wish we had enough room to talk about the hun­dreds of thou­sands more who give up their lives to help oth­ers.

“Give me the place to stand, and I shall move the earth.” - Archimedes

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