PFLAG Tri-Cities is two years old this week! What a great two years.
We are going strong providing support, education, and advocacy, for LGBTQ people, family, friends and allies.
To celebrate we are having a party this Saturday night! Everyone is invited. The Presbyterian Student Fellowship at ETSU is hosting the party for PFLAG Tri-Cities.
It will be held at the Presbyterian Campus House.
Here is the announcement from our President, Dr. Kerry Holland:
PFLAG TriCities will be celebrating its 2nd birthday on Saturday April 17, 2010. Can you believe it's been 2 years since we first gathered together to express our common concern and humanity?! We'll gather at the Presbyterian Campus House on the campus of ETSU at 7pm. Bring your favorite party food and beverage. Sorry, no alcohol, though (cause we're on campus). There'll be birthday cake, music and a bonfire! The address is 1412 College Heights, Johnson City.Here is the original article about the formation of our chapter in April 2008.
We'll have our regular monthly meeting on Thursday April 15, 2010 at 7 pm in room 413 Warf-Pickel on the campus of ETSU. We'll be making plans for our first picnic of the season, too. I'm really looking forward to seeing you there! We've had a great 2 years! Bring your friends to the meeting AND to the party! We'll have a great time!
Dr. Kerry Holland, a Johnson City psychologist, the Rev. John Shuck, who pastors at First Presbyterian Church in Elizabethton, and others formed a steering committee to establish the Tri-Cities chapter.
“We are hoping to create a supportive community for people who have children or family members who are gay and lesbian or bisexual or transgender,” Holland said. “We are wanting to embrace them so they can continue to be a loving family to their children and siblings. And we want to create a similarly open and loving environment for the GLBT community here in the Tri-Cities area.”
Shuck was a member of the PFLAG chapter in Billings, Mont. As a member of the clergy for 16 years, he has seen families disown their children and the emotional and physical distress experienced by homosexual individuals shunned because of their sexual orientation. He hopes the local PFLAG chapter will provide comfort to those who are facing difficulties because of their sexual identity.
“I think there’s a great need for people to be who they are and be accepted for who they are and to have their family members accept them,” he said. “I think that so many times people think from religious convictions or other convictions that it’s not OK to be gay. And we want to say ‘No, it really is OK.’ What’s not OK is to discriminate and to act on one’s prejudices.”
Melanie Teegarden’s 14-yearold daughter faces criticism often because of her sexual orientation. Teegarden will be attending the PFLAG meeting.
“When people ask her questions about her orientation it tends to be with a hostile undertone, and she’s faced physical aggression in school repeatedly,” Teegarden said. “Strangers come up to her on the street and hurl insults at her. And this is just a way that I can stand up for my daughter and hopefully encourage other parents to stand up for their children as well.”
Holland said she wants PFLAG to be active in the community and believes that in the next several months the local chapter will be working toward an environment where everyone is accepted.
“What I would really hope is that several years down the road, we wouldn’t need to have a PFLAG Tri-Cities,” she said. “I don’t think that’s particularly realistic, given the time in which we live in. But I really would like to see a larger, vibrant organization that would be able to advocate in the community for all people; that perhaps we would not just be focusing on creating a supportive community, but we might be able to advocate for change in how things are done in the community and perhaps some legalized discrimination could be made illegal.”
Here is how to connect with PFLAG Tri-Cities:
Hope to see you Saturday at the party and Thursday at our monthly meeting in #413 Warf-Pickel!