Who we are

We’re just regular people, perhaps like you, that have struggled with the emotional, societal and political issues surrounding homosexuality. The Tacoma PFLAG chapter began in 1981 as a small group of parents and friends meeting in a local church. Their commitment to justice for all led to affiliation with PFLAG National in 1996. PFLAG is a non profit organization not affiliated with any religious organization, although chapters frequently meet at churches.
Our purpose

With lifetimes of misinformation about homosexuality and gender identity, many people don’t know where to turn when they find out a family member or friend is gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered (GLBT). PFLAG provides direct support to people who need answers to their questions and help with strengthening family relationships.

Support groups meet each month and offer a non-judgmental outlet for feelings and a place to meet other people in similar situations. Meetings offer opportunities to learn about GLBT people and their families – through speakers, videos, and discussions. Those who come for help often become those who help others.

PFLAG is making a safer world for GLBT people and their family members by dispelling myths and by communicating the truth about GLBT families and friends. PFLAG reaches out to schools, faith communities, and other organizations to encourage leadership that fosters community acceptance of diversity.
Our appoach

PFLAG promotes the health and well-being of GLBT persons, their families and friends through:

Support for parents and friends. We understand the difficulties in learning that a loved one is homosexual. Our monthly meetings provide a supporting environment where you can share your thoughts, or just listen and hopefully learn from the experiences of others.

Support for gay, lesbian, transgender and questioning people. PFLAG support group meetings provide a safe space where you can discuss your feelings and experiences, your sexual identity, seek the acceptance and unconditional love that our members have to offer, and to gain perspective on what parents and family members experience during the coming out process.

Education. A variety of educational materials in the form of books, pamphlets and video tapes are available for checkout from our library. Our monthly meetings provide an opportunity to exchange information on the issues facing GLBT people.

Advocating for justice. PFLAG advocates on behalf of public policy to ensure equal rights, and to provide full support of human and civil rights for sexual minorities.

Our actions

We work toward the PFLAG objectives of Support, Education and Advocacy in many ways. Our monthly meetings provide time for support for those in need, as well as an educational program (see the Calendar page for some of our past program topics).

We participate in many local GLBT-related events, such as Pride Parades, Out in the Park, AIDS walks, Regional and National PFLAG conferences, etc.
Tacoma PFLAG provides financial support to local organizations including the Pierce County Aids Foundation, the Rainbow Center, Heartstrong, Gay/Straight Alliances in local high schools, and other GLBT organizations.

In February 2008 we, in conjunction with 4 other local GLBTQ organizations, sponsored Rainbows Over Tacoma, an evening of comedy, music and interpretive dance at the Washington State History Museum. It was a great night out, and raised funds to help sponsoring organizations to serve the GLBTQ community.

We encourage our members to become advocates after they become comfortable with their positions on GLBT issues. These can be efforts as small as putting a bumper sticker on your car, bringing up the subject of homosexuality, same-sex marriage, etc. with your friends or co-workers, writing letters to the editor of your local newspaper, or making a phone call to your legislator. Our members also frequently volunteer to speak at local events or organizations to help others understand the issues faced by the GLBT community and their families/friends. Collectively, these “small” efforts can have a huge impact.

Tacoma PFLAG works to make schools a safer place for GLBT students. Terry Rhines, our Safe Schools Coordinator, has made significant inroads by speaking to students and providing diversity training to the staff in local schools. Terry’s essay on homophobia and harassment in schools is here.

We realize the importance of providing support and equal rights for GLBT military service personnel. In 2005, we organized a special event at the University of Washington, Tacoma, campus featuring Adm. Alan Steinman and Col. Grethe Cammermeyer, who discussed the military’s current policy of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”.

In July of 2009, Tacoma PFLAG received the Pierce County Pride Special Achievement Award to recognize its work in the local community.

Seattle Pride, 2006

Tacoma Out In The Park

Rainbows Over Tacoma, 2009

Pierce County Pride Award, 2009

´┐╝We also have a lot of fun! Our board meetings are full of energy and interesting ideas. If you would like to help in our efforts, please inquire about becoming a member of our board. If you’d like to see what we’ve been up to, you can read summaries of our past activities for 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009.