Sunday, December 9, 2007

PFLAG-"It's like coming out over and over again each time you meet a new person."

At the suggestion of Rabbi Steve Greenberg, we considered attending a meeting of PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays). He thought that this may be a good place to seek support even though it is non-denominational.

All of the PFLAG meetings in our metropolitan area meet on a regular basis, usually monthly, in a church. It seems as if the programs are being run out of these facilities because the church is performing a type of "chessed" or "tikun olam" community work.

At first we were uncomfortable with the idea of meeting in a church, but then we laughed to ourselves, because of the type of community in which we lived, we were sure that no one that we knew would ever come to a PFLAG meeting because of the venue. Nevertheless, when we arrived at the meeting we were a bit apprehensive about getting out of the car.

Once we made it into the building, we were greeted by a group of warm and caring people. The leaders of our group are a husband and wife team whose son came out in 1975. They are proud to claim that their son is a wonderful brother to his four other siblings as well as being a fine person and a great uncle to all of his nieces and nephews.

Like any self help group, you go around a room and everyone tells their tale. Some stories are quite sad and some are amusing. The president of the group relates her story of her daughter who is now 30 with 2 adopted children. She tells us about her daughter's teenage years with all the rules that were imposed on her, such as a midnight curfew, no boys allowed in the room with the door closed, etc. The mother then tells us how she never had a problem with her daughter having her girl friends have sleepovers. She claims "boy did I miss that one!"

Listening to the stories of parents who have gone through this trip as well as hearing first hand stories from gay men and women does seem to help. My wife asked one man, who appeared to be in his late thirties, "if ten years down the road, will it get any easier for me." His reply was "No. Each time you meet someone, it's like coming out over and over again."


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