How and why did the movement of parents of LGBT children emerge?

How and why did the movement of parents of LGBT children emerge?

 All its existence, the LGBT community often faces misunderstanding, harassment and intimidation on the part of society. But perhaps the biggest problem is the negative attitude towards children on the part of their family. 

To help parents accept their child and provide all necessary information about LGBT, parents’ organizations working with family members of LGBT children appear. Now we study the history of these organizations in the world.

In the world "parental movement" began to emerge in the 1970s. It all started in 1972 when Jeanne Manford saw on television how her son was beaten during Pride in New York, dedicated to LGBT rights advocacy. She was extremely outraged by the fact that the police ignored the fact of beating her son. So, she decided to fight. Manford wrote a letter, which was published by the newspaper New York Post, saying, "My son is a gay, and I love him." At this point, none have publicly declared about  homosexuality of one’s child. After this letter, Jeanne and her husband were frequent guests at the television of the USA.

Next year, during the gay pride, Jeanne Manford was holding a poster with a call for all parents to unite and support their LGBT children. The first meeting was attended by about twenty people, where parents and children were able to share experiences and feelings. The organization PFLAG was born. And then started a real "boom" – from across the country calls and letters requesting information how to create  similar groups in other regions were received. Thus, already in 1976 there was an office in Los Angeles, and in 1978 – one in Chico (CA), which became the first non-city group for parents. 

Today, PFLAG organization is considered to be the most massive for parents and allies of the LGBT community in the United States. Moreover, PFLAG affiliates operate in 11 countries.

The parents’ movement in neighboring Canada developed due to a similar scenario. In particular, in 1979 the Toronto organization "Gays’ Parents " (Parents of Gays) was created. In 1981, the organization teamed up with the similar one, bearing the name "Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (FFLAG), into the organization called Parents’ FLAG. Currently, this is the global international organization with branches in major cities of Canada. One of the main functions of the organization is to provide informational support for parents. Often children turn to their parents for advice regarding their gender identity or sexual orientation, but not all heterosexual parents are sufficiently knowledgeable on LGBT topics to be able to give reasonable advice. Therefore, parents who are more educated in the issues of the LGBT community, as well as psychologists and experts in organizations such as PFLAG, can advise necessary literature for parents and children seeking answers to their questions.

The parents’ organization in the UK appeared only in 1993 though the hotline for parents of LGBT children had been working for about 30 years. However, due to the amount of received calls and increase data base of parents, the organization "Families and friends of lesbians and gays" – FFLAG (Families and Friends of Lesbians And Gays) was decided to be created. The priority should be noted as the need for so-called support groups for the parents themselves, in contrast to the US and Canadian organizations.

Often parents have difficulties with accepting the fact that their children are not "normal", and parents of other LGBT-children come to help, providing information on LGBT issues, psychological and emotional support. The parents’ organization AGEDO in Italy was created due to this reason. One of its missions is to educate parents about what is sexuality, and homosexuality isn’t unnatural or kind of perversion. In this and other similar organizations, new members of  parents of LGBT children are able to share their stories, get advice from experienced parents and learn more about their child and their needs.

Association of parents, friends and relatives of homosexuals – BEFAH (Bundesverband der Eltern, Freunde und Angehörige von Homosexuellen) was founded in Germany in 1997, but some meetings took place since 1993, and the movement dated back to 1985. Currently, the association cooperates with other international organizations and, in addition to providing support for parents of LGBT children is actively involved in the life of the LGBT community. Similarly, the Swiss organization FELS, formed in 1997, was founded to mediate between the state and LGBT and to represent the interests of their children when the children themselves are unable to do so.

In 1994 the Spanish organization AMPGIRL was founded. According to the founders, it was established in order parent-members of the organization can show the public by example that their LGBT children are appreciated and loved as they are and highlight the problems of the LGBT community in their society. There are similar organizations in Belgium (Tels Quels), France (CONTACT), Poland (Akceptacja) and Ireland (LOOK).Speaking of other regions, the parents’ organizations exist in Turkey (LISTAG), Israel (Tehila), Latin America (Asociación Internacional de Familias por la Diversidad Sexual), and Singapore (SAFE). There are offices of PFLAG in China, Vietnam, Australia and South Africa.

Therefore, the movement of parents of LGBT children is evidently common in the countries of the democratic world. These associations of parents are frequently subdivisions of global international LGBT organizations and are intended to spread information among parents and in the society, to provide psychological and moral support, and sometimes even solve complex legal issues.

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