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October 30, 2012

Letter: PFLAG promotes positive discussion

To the editor:

Two weekends ago, I joined folks under the rainbow umbrella at the PFLAG table at the Essex Clamfest. This outing generated a lot of good conversations with people.

PFLAG is a terrific organization that isn’t well known, so I’m following up with this brief note to explain what they are about.

PFLAG stands for “Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.” Monthly meetings are held so that parents who learn that their children are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender can chat with others about the situation. There are many questions that come up as the situation evolves. It can be helpful to talk with others who have had similar experiences.

As parents, we all hope that life will be easy for our children. We understand that sexuality differences can make life more complicated. Society is changing quickly but prejudices remain. Parents need some time to understand and accept the situation so that they can be supportive of their children, and discussion helps.

People are not choosing to be gay, lesbian or transgender. They discover this about themselves over time. This can be highly stressful. Children who receive support from their parents can have a much easier time than those that don’t.

Parents often cannot reach out for support from the normal sources. We aren’t sure how other family members will react. We can get support from our churches for many situations, but in this situation the support many not be available. PFLAG offers an alternative to these normal sources of support.

A PFLAG meeting is attended by parents who have been through these situations and by people who are aware of resources and information to help new parents understand the situation.

The local meeting of PFLAG takes place on the first Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m. in the First Universalist Church of Essex, 57 Main St., Essex. Please join us if you have questions or if you have been through these situations and want to help others.

Our sexual preferences are one element of what defines us as a person, but it is far from the most important element. Our friends and children remain good people and deserve our support and love.

TOM DUFF

Essex

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