“This is truly a grassroots organization,” Charles says. “PFLAG was formed originally to support primarily parents, families and friends but we also are there for LGBTQ people. We’ve had people coming to meetings for more than 20 years,” he says.
Currently, PFLAG Atlanta is trying to “launch” itself again into the eyes of city residents who know there is something called PFLAG but may not realize there is a local chapter.
“We want the Atlanta LGBTQ community to know we are there as a resource,” he says.
Recently, Atlanta Police Department LGBT liaison Brian Sharp spoke at a PFLAG Atlanta meeting — he and his partner, Daniel, are “card-carrying members” of the group, Charles says.
In the past, PFLAG Atlanta has held a social event and fundraiser called the “Secret Garden Party” at a private residence — the name of the event was a fun way to pique people’s interest.
After consideration, however, the name of the event set for May 14 this year is called “Out in the Garden” to reflect the organization’s mission of supporting people coming out, Charles says.
“The only way to change hearts and minds is by coming out to people,” he says.
The event is family-friendly and accessible and open to all people interested in learning more and supporting PFLAG Atlanta.
“Seeing parents come in to a meeting and feeling like they are finally home is a great reward,” Charles says.
Top photo: PFLAG Atlanta members march in the annual Atlanta Pride parade every year in what the group’s co-president calls an ‘incredible experience.’ (Courtesy photo)