Why Are We Focusing on PFLAG?

On May 24, 2000, after nearly eight months of correspondence between us and PFLAG National, with no progress evident except a vague reassurance that our concerns had been forwarded to their Policy Statements Task Force and placed "on the agenda" but with no estimated date when that "agenda" would actually be dealt with, our primary contact at PFLAG National sent us this inquiry:

One thing I still have not understood about this situation is why you are focusing on PFLAG on this issue?  This is an issue for the movement as a whole, and I feel as if you are holding PFLAG accountable for something that is much larger than us.

This is a question that will probably occur to many PFLAG Chapter leaders as well. Frank Aqueno responded to it with the following parody that says everything much better than I could possibly hope to rephrase it:

Dear Rosa Parks:

The Lily White Bus Company has received your
complaint. We have forwarded it to our Negro
Policy Task Force which has placed your concerns
on its agenda.

We would point out however that as a Negro you
are unable to drink from certain fountains, eat at
certain restaurants and that you cannot vote. We
wonder why you are addressing your complaints to us?


In other words: we have to start somewhere! But we also feel that PFLAG is the organization that has the most direct, personal, and intimate impact on our lives. The statements of the Human Rights Campaign Fund denying the possibility of choice may appear occasionally in our morning newspapers to toss a black cloud or two over our morning, but it is not fundamentally to them that we turn for support when our mothers or fathers break down in tears at the news of our queerness, hurl stereotypes at us, or tell us we're just confused and going through a phase. The choice-phobic actions of PFLAG wound us on a much deeper and more intimate level than those of any other organization ever could.

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© 2000 by Gayle Madwin. All rights reserved.