Quotes from Safe PFLAG Chapters

All of the quotes below are taken from personal email correspondence that PFLAG chapters sent to us in response to an inquiry from QueerByChoice list founder Gayle Madwin which asked, in part:

I'm wondering if you have any kind of official policy on what causes homosexuality. Or unofficially, have there been any lectures or discussions on it, and if so, which point of view did they tend to support? . . . [If a] parent and child have trouble talking about homosexuality because the parent believes it's inborn and the gay/lesbian child wants to convince them it's a choice, how would the PFLAG members be likely to respond to that?

As you'll see, the responses from these chapters were very different from the responses on our Quotes from Unsafe Chapters page. We're also in the process of collecting more quotes for this page. The chapters quoted by name have all given us permission to quote them by name.

"I can't speak for other people. The way I address the nature/nurture issue is to minimalize the question. After all, whether or not homosexuality is a choice is pales next to the issue of the injustice LGBT folks suffer under the law, sin school, in church, in the workplace, etc. These folks exist, and arguing the cause trivializes their pain. PFLAG is an organization dedicated to supporting families with queer members. The cause is moot."—Tom Aitken, PFLAG Hilo/East Hawaii Island, Hawaii

"It's been my experience that if a gay person said, 'This is my choice,' then people would respect that."—Laura Siegel, PFLAG San Francisco, California

"None of the PFLAG meetings I have attended have ever discussed the 'causes' of homosexuality. My understanding [is that] cause/reason is not the issue. The fact is parents have homosexual children. The focus is how to support these children, help them win their rights, how to educate others around them."—Bonnie, PFLAG Waveland/Gulf Bay Coast, Missisippi

"When gay friendly folk make emphatic statements that are well meaning but simplistic, they find themselves in the same position as the most ardent fundamentalist Christian. The result is that communication and dialogue are destroyed. I have a presentation that I have made many, many times that suggests that variety of sexual orientation is almost infinite and that categories break down communication and we end up not listening to one another. The material has been printed in a journal called The InSpiriter published by the Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists. I also will send copies to anyone who might be interested. [ . . . ] When someone comes to me and says "I chose," my first obligation is to listen. The complexities of our sexuality are still being sorted out."

"Greetings Gayle ~~ First PFLAG is a safe environment for such conversations. As a whole most of PFLAG folks say—who cares!!!  Inborn~choice~preference what does it matter. What matters is we love our children just the way they are. Some g/l/b/t folks believe their sexuality was determined prebirth. We celebrate this position. Some g/l/b/t folks believe their sexuality is preference or choice or chance. We do not have a judgement on any ones self determination of their sexuality. Any one ~ gay, lesbian, bi, trans or straight!!"

"PFLAG has no official policy on what causes homosexuality. We do have a booklet called 'Why Ask Why?' which discusses some of the research on causes and quotes various experts on the complexity of the cause issue. 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."

"I don't believe PFLAG has an official policy on it because I don't think anyone has proven beyond a doubt how a person becomes gay. There has not been found an official 'gay gene'."

"PFLAG members are concerned only with acceptance. Does it really matter whether one's sexuality is a question of choice or genetics?"

"PFLAG doesn't have an official or unofficial policy on the cause of homosexuality. We have learned through knowing and participating in the lives of our gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender children, family members and friends that gay people do not need to justify their sexuality any more then non-gay people do. Remember that gay, lesbian, bisexual & transgender people exist in every walk of life, religion, nationality and racial background. Therefore, all gay people like straight people are very different and have come into their sexual identity in very different ways. Although we may be curious it is really not that important to know why your child is gay in order to support and love him or her."

"We are not here to take sides but to work toward acceptance and appreciation of every individual. At our meetings, everyone is entitled to express their own opinion, however, they are not allowed to judge the opinion of others. Quoting official sources on the origins of orientation, one way or another, does little to resolve anything. What PFLAG tries to do is to create a non-threatening atmosphere where all parties can make themselves heard."

You may also want to visit our Quotes from Unsafe Chapters page and contrast it with this page.

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