PFLAG Chapters' Discussions

Not all people who consider our queerness a choice are able to accompany our parents to PFLAG meetings. Some of us may be unavailable at the time of the meetings, while others may be unable to face the prospect of witnessing homophobic emotional outbursts from our parents. And when our parents attend meetings without us, they may not speak up when they hear things that contradict what their children have told them. It is therefore very important for discussion moderators to try, whenever possible, to add their own comments that will help balance out any statements that parents may make denying the possibility of choice. The following quote appears on our Quotes from Safe Chapters page:

"Among the parents and glbt people who attend meetings there are a wide variety of views and some people hold theirs quite dogmatically, so I can't guarantee that a person attending a meeting won't be exposed to 'It's not [or never] a choice,' or 'It is a choice,' but we generally try to keep the discussion to personal experiences and most experienced discussion facilitators won't let such a statement stand without some modification. Usually parents attending PFLAG will hear the message that they need to listen to their glbt child's experience and perception of their identity."

This quote illustrates our ideal for how PFLAG chapter discussions should be moderated. If someone at your chapter starts making repeated statements at meetings such as "The reason it's wrong to discriminate against gay people is that they didn't choose to be gay" or "Ask any gay person, they'll all tell you they didn't choose to be gay," someone else at the meeting should be mindful of the effect that such constantly repeated statements could have on parents of queer by choice people and try to present a more choice-friendly perspective. A simple question such as "Do you think children have the right to choose who to marry and choose their own religious beliefs? If they were able to choose to be gay, why wouldn't they have the right to make that choice?" or "Are you aware that there are some gay people who say they've chosen to be gay and that it was a good choice?" should be enough in most cases, and if the parents are interested they'll ask further questions and get a more complex discussion going.

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