This past weekend I attended PFLAG’s bi-annual convention in Portland, OR. I love the theme, We Are The Change. As parents and allies, it says to me that we do more than support and even more than advocate for our LGBTQ loved ones. We are responsible for making the changes that will make a difference in their lives.
One highlight for me was meeting Evan Wolfson and seeing the documentary about the movement he started over 32 years ago, Freedom to Marry. He is so smart and so kind. Now that we have won the freedom to marry in this country, he is teaching the strategies he used to help other countries and other issues. One profound thing he shared is that it’s not just about being out, but about sharing our stories. Being out isn’t enough. People have to get to know us and our LGBTQ loved ones. That is one big way we are the change.
I attended workshops and got to spend some great social time with old and new friends. One of the workshops I attended was on bisexuality. What I took away from that was the difference between sexual identity and sexual orientation. For example, my sexual identity is straight but I could have a sexual orientation of bisexual if I fall somewhere other than 0 on the Kinsey scale.
I went to a workshop asking the questions “How Young us Too Young?” about transgender children. The presenter stated that when a child is ready to express their gender, that’s the right age for that child. Then she asked why we don’t ask non-transgender kids how they know their gender. The other big thing I got from that workshop is the distinction between the American College of Pediatricians and the American Academy of Pediatricians. The latter has over 65,000 members. The former broke away and pretty much uses junk science to “prove” that kids aren’t really transgender. It’s really easy to confuse the two and no surprise, those who fight non-discrimination for trans people quote that junk science to promote things like bathroom bills.
I’m so impressed with the organization that is PFLAG and the work they do. They make a difference in the lives of LGBTQ people and their families every day.