P-FLAG Support Group

University of Wisconsin - River Falls

Feb. 16, 1996

P-FLAG Support Group to be Formed

By Jaime Larson
UW-RF News Bureau

With the aid of an anonymous donation, the UW-River Falls Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual support office is working to establish a local community chapter of P-FLAG, a national support organization for friends and family members of gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals.

Mandy Fox, UW-RF coordinator of gay, lesbian and bisexual student support services, is seeking members and potential leaders from both the University and the surrounding area.

P-FLAG stands for Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. Founded in 1981, P-FLAG has chapters in nearly 400 communities in the United States and in 11 other countries. Area P-FLAG chapters include Eau Claire, Red Wing and the Twin Cities.

P-FLAG's goals are to provide support to gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals; to educate and inform the public; and to advocate justice and equal rights.

Fox describes P-FLAG as an organization that encourages open communication among friends and family members of gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals to lead to a higher level of understanding, Fox said. "It helps people learn different information than our culture teaches them," Fox said.

"P-FLAG is one of, if not the most respected organizations by the gay community," Fox said. "It is every gay kid's dream to have their parents attend a P-FLAG meeting."

The local P-FLAG chapter is intended not only for UW-RF students, but for all area families and friends of gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals. "P-FLAG is not a campus organization," Fox said. "It is supposed to be a community organization."

Traditionally, P-FLAG chapters meet on the first Sunday of every month. Fox hopes that the River Falls P-FLAG chapter can begin meeting as early as March or April.

During the first meeting, Fox plans to show the video "Straight From the Heart: Stories of Parents' Journeys to a New Understanding of Their Lesbian and Gay Children." Besides dealing with parents' efforts to understand their gay, lesbian and bisexual children, the video also addresses religious questions faced by gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals and their families.

Though Fox is spearheading the effort to form a local chapter, she does not see herself ultimately as its leader. Rather, she would like to see the leadership come out of the families involved.

Anyone who has questions or is interested in attending meetings or helping to organize the local P-FLAG chapter can contact Fox at 715/425-3530.

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