What an incredible evening. Fifty people crowded around a classroom table at ETSU for our first PFLAG Tri-Cities meeting. I didn't expect the large turnout and was moved many times by what was said there. We respect confidentiality and so do not share who was at the meeting, but I can say that it was a time of healing.
We heard about the experience of rejection. We heard about the pain of alienation from family and faith communities. We heard about reconciliation and courage and a shared commitment to end the hurt and to make our community safe for all people. There were tears and laughter.
One person said that it was easier being gay when he lived in California. But his home is East Tennessee. "These are our mountains, too," he reminded us.
We heard the story of how this chapter started, with several people individually sensing the need for PFLAG and coming together. Now we are here.
Some folks come for support. Some are ready for advocacy and activism. All are welcome. Our next meeting will be May 15th somewhere on the ETSU campus. We will need a larger space. More to come about the location and our next steps.
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On the way home, I happened to hear this song that a family member had left in the car stereo. It sums up this evening pretty well, as well as what PFLAG is about, as I see it.
It is Celtic Woman, One World.