Kirsten Kingdon Orders PFLAG Members
Not to Talk to Us!

On August 10, 2000, Gayle Madwin uploaded the PFLAG section of this website and immediately emailed our contact at PFLAG National to let her know of its existence and ask whether she would mind recommending it in the weekly newsletter that PFLAG National sends out to its chapters. We were hoping to use it to raise awareness of queer by choice issues among chapter leaders and to compile a list of PFLAG chapters whose leaders pledged to make sure their chapters would support all queer people and not be hostile to any queer people's differing beliefs about the causes of queerness.

Without Gayle's knowledge or consent, and without even informing Gayle that PFLAG National had any objections whatsoever to the contents of this website, Kirsten Kingdon (Executive Director of PFLAG National) sent the letter below to every PFLAG chapter in the country, accusing Gayle of uploading these web pages without PFLAG National's "knowledge or consent." (PFLAG National obviously had knowledge of it, since Gayle informed them of it immediately after uploading it. As for consent, Gayle assumed that if PFLAG National had any objections they would tell Gayle their objections so Gayle could consider them and make any appropriate changes.

All text, underlining and emphasis in the letter below is reprinted exactly as it appeared in the original. Please bear in mind as you read it that PFLAG National never gave us the slightest chance to address any of these accusations before the letter was sent, and that even after the letter had been sent, PFLAG National refused all our requests for information about the letter's contents—making it absolutely impossible for us to defend ourselves against the accusations, since we weren't even allowed to see what we were accused of! Why was PFLAG National so determined to prevent us from telling our side of the story? Well, thanks to the help of several sympathic PFLAG chapter leaders who bravely disregarded Kirsten Kingdon's "suggestion" to avoid all contact with us and stood up for our right to see the accusations against us and have a chance to defend ourselves, we obtained this copy of the letter and wrote our line-by-line defense against Kingdon's misleading, hypocritical, and in several places outright false accusations. Please read our side of the story before judging the truth of any of these accusations.

TO: PFLAG Affiliates
FR: Kirsten Kingdon, Executive Director
DT: August 22, 2000
RE: Queer By Choice Questionnaire


As those of you who read the weekly email alert know, in recent months PFLAG has been corresponding with people who are "Queer By Choice." They represent people who have chosen to be gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender and are critical of the stance that sexual orientation and gender identity are biologically based.

One Queer By Choice person contacted many PFLAG chapters by email and said that they wanted to send their mother to a meeting, but needed to know first how the chapter would respond on the issue of queer by choice. Now this leader has used PFLAG chapter responses, as well as private email correspondence with the PFLAG national office, to launch a website that is critical of PFLAG's stance on the question of choice.

While Queer By Choice people raise important issues for PFLAG to consider, unfortunately they have not been respectful of PFLAG's process nor were they forthright with PFLAG chapters about why they were soliciting information. In addition, they have posted to their website excerpts from private communications exchanged between Queer By Choice representatives, PFLAGers around the country and the PFLAG National staff without our knowledge or consent.

PFLAG Action

PFLAG has an 11-year-old policy on "Diversity" that states in part:

"We who are Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays have learned that they come from families of all corners of the earth, from every culture, religious and ethnic group. Their homosexual orientation is neither chosen nor something they are taught to be, and it is not 'just a stage they go through.'"

This policy is currently under review by PFLAG's Board of Directors, as are all PFLAG policy statements. PFLAG's Policy Statements Task Force is weighing opinions and experience from PFLAG leaders, chapters, Queer By Choice and others in revising this policy, and plans to present a revision to the Board of Directors for approval at the October 2000 Board meeting.

Meanwhile, Queer By Choice is planning to contact every PFLAG chapter with a questionnaire on the issues, and they have also been raising concerns with the media. In order to minimize further misrepresentation of PFLAG's views and process, we suggest that if you are contacted by phone, e-mail or snail mail by representatives from Queer By Choice or by the media on this issue that rather than responding, you refer them to the national office. We appreciate your assistance in this matter. If you have any questions, please contact your field manager:

East Field Manager—TC Duong, 202/467-8180, ext. 227,
Central Field Manager—Lisa Weiner-Mahfuz, ext. 217,
West Field Manager—Ron Schlittler, ext. 226,

If you hear from the media, or have questions relating to media coverage on this issue, please contact Amy Kobeta, Communications Director at ext. 228,

Again, please read our side of the story before judging the truth of any of the accusations above.

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