By Merrie McLean Smithson
I am a mother of a 29 year old son who came out to my husband and me on Christmas Day 2011. I didn’t know where to turn—Mama Dragons hadn’t been invented yet! Fortunately, I found PFLAG. The support, education, and advocacy training I’ve received from this organization have been invaluable!
PFLAG is the nation’s largest family and ally organization. It was founded in 1972 by the simple act of a mother publicly supporting her gay son. Uniting people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) with families, friends, and allies, PFLAG is committed to advancing equality and full societal affirmation of LGBTQ people through its threefold mission of support, education, and advocacy. PFLAG has over 400 chapters and 200,000 members and supporters crossing multiple generations of American families in major urban centers, small cities, and rural areas in all 50 states.
If you’d like to be a part of the positive changes that we make in the community, we invite you to participate in our monthly in-person meetings. During these meetings, members and fellow advocates and friends gather for support and education discussions. We invite a number of speakers and professionals to discuss topics relevant to the LGBTQ community. We take pride in creating a safe and comfortable environment to allow people from all walks of life to come and join our discussions.
Come join us for a meeting and find out for yourself how great it is! The Salt Lake City chapter meets on the second Tuesday of every month at the Utah Pride Center. Our educational program runs from 7 to 8 pm, followed by our support group from 8 to 9 pm. For more information visit our webpage at pflag-saltlakecity.org or our facebook page Pflag SLC. If you do not live in the Salt Lake City area, see www.pflag.org for the chapter nearest you.
Merrie joined PFLAG in 2012 and has served on the executive board as secretary since 2013. She has worked for 25 years as a speech language pathologist in the Salt Lake City School District. She enjoys reading, running, going to the gym, watching movies, and playing with her 5 grandchildren.