Welcome to the home page of the Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (and others) Support Group in Toowoomba and the Darling Downs.
What is PFLAG?
PFLAG is an international peer support group which began in 1972 when one mother, Jeanne Manford, proclaimed her love and support for her gay son, Morty, by walking in a New York Christopher Street Liberation Day March.
PFLAG started in Australia over 30 years ago. PFLAG Toowoomba is the new kid on the block, starting in 2015.
What is PFLAG Toowoomba and the Darling Downs’ purpose?
We want to help Toowoomba and the surrounding towns become a more welcoming place to live for people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, intersex, or asexual/ agender (LGBTQIA)… or any others on the spectrum of gender identity and sexual orientation.
We support the parents, partners and friends of LGBTQIA people by providing a listening ear and a safe place to talk. We hope to build a community of parents, family and friends of LGBTQIA people where we can share our experiences and support for each other and our loved ones.
We strive to support LGBTQIA people who are, or fear they may be, abandoned by their families. We provide information to them while they are going through the process of “coming out”.
We aim to educate the general community about LGBTQIA issues.
We join with LGBTQIA people in advocating for less discrimination, good services and equal rights.
Please contact us if you want to be an ally to LGBTQIA in Toowoomba and the Darling Downs.
It’s a Big Step When You Child Comes Out
Some families have no problems when a child comes out. Others are accepting, but have fears about what it might mean for their child. Some find it hard to understand and relationships can be strained.
PFLAG groups around the world stand up for their children and say “I love and accept my LGBTQIA child”. It’s as simple and as complex as that.
PFLAG knows that parents go through a range of emotions when their children come out and provides a safe place for parents to work through those feelings.
Where and What Sort of Organisation Is PFLAG?
There are PFLAG groups in all Australian States. Each group is acts independently and is 100% voluntary. PFLAG has no political bias and is non-religious. The national group, PFLAG Australia, gives us a stronger voice, allowing us to speak out against the discrimination, injustice, homophobia and transphobia that still exists in society today.
Why Is There a Need for PFLAG?
The LGBTQIA community is one of the minority groups in Australia that lives with discrimination, inequality and injustice. (Note the emerging acronyms, SOGII – Sexual Orientation Gender Identity & Intersex, and MOGAI – Marginalized Orientations, Gender identities, And Intersex, for this community.)
Information about LGBTQIA rights can be found at this Wikipedia page via this link. The Human Rights Commissioner of Australia has recently released a 2015 report which you can find via this link. Whilst legal protections exist against discriminative practices in Australia, particularly since 2013 with the passing of the Sex Discrimination Amendment (Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Intersex Status) Bill, in reality, many LGBTQIA people regularly face verbal and physical bullying, and violence in their daily lives. Despite the majority of Australians supporting same sex marriage, the Marriage Act is yet to be amended, with same sex partnerships recognized only as de facto relationships. See this link.
As parents and friends of loved ones who identify as LGBTQIA, we believe it is important that they are able to live their lives with honesty and integrity without the fear of discrimination, ostracism or abuse, should they disclose their sexual orientation.
For those who are not accepted, they know they are welcome and supported by our group.
We feel that it is important to not just support our children and friends, but to stand beside them.