As we embark on a new year, I can look back at 2020 and see positive things that have occurred. Our weekly support Zoom meetings have brought people in who otherwise may not have been able to make the trip into town or to our satellite locations. Seeing familiar and new faces each Sunday has given me a feeling of connection in an otherwise isolating year. Being able to remotely attend a support meeting has been a blessing.
Another positive thing about 2020: It was an even year and the Texas legislation was not in session.
Odd-numbered years always cause me anxiety. The Texas legislators gather and introduce bills that will impact my family and friends and others like them. There have been years where bills were introduced which would have limited bathroom access for my children, force teachers to out their students, or affect whether they can adopt children of their own someday. My family, along with other families, spend a great deal of emotional energy and time making phone calls, writing letters, or going to Austin to speak face-to-face with our state representatives.
Sometimes those representatives hide in their offices or slide out a back door, where you can catch them on the stairs. I hand them one page, easy to read, copy of my family story while telling them my concerns about House Bill Number (fill in the blank). Then I watch as they fold the family story into smaller and smaller squares until it disappears into her voluminous handbag of disinterest. But then we visit another representative, and they give you eye contact and listen to your concerns. They thank you for coming in and sharing the story of your family and they’ll see what they can do. It’s an exhausting but vital part of advocating for your LGBTQ loved ones, and parents are the strongest advocates for their LGBTQ children.
The topic for the General Meeting on January 10 is “LGBTQ+ Texans and the 2021 Legislature: What to expect and how to get involved.” The 2021 Texas legislative session officially kicks off on January 12. Citizen participation is vital to protect our children and loved ones and Texas Equality would love to help get folks plugged in.
Our January guest speaker is Rachel Hill (she/her). She is the Community Outreach and Engagement Manager (North) for Equality Texas. She’s advocated for Texans for five years, over two Texas legislative sessions, and is committed to increasing understanding of and access to the advocacy process. Prior to joining Equality Texas, she worked with the Dallas Regional Chamber to increase the quality of life and opportunity for the Dallas region. Hill will share with us what bills are being introduced and what we can do.
After our guest speaks, we will break into small support groups. Small groups are the heart of PFLAG. It’s a time where you can meet other parents and allies and LGBTQ folk. We share our stories and experiences, voice our concerns and triumphs.
The meeting, along with small groups will be held via Zoom, the online meeting platform. Until the danger of COVID-19 ends, we will meet safely through Zoom online meetings each Sunday at 2 p.m. Meeting announcements are sent out to our emailing list. Let us know if you would like to be added to our mailing list.
The meeting is open to everyone, but you must get an email invitation and password to attend. To get that invitation, email helplinePFLAGhouston@gmail.com and one will be sent out to you. This helps keep outside shenanigans at bay and keeps our warm circle of love safe.
Our weekly support groups are still being held online, as well.
New officers. The 2021 PFLAG Houston Board was voted in during our November general meeting. Janice Anderson and Mandy Giles are co-presidents; Gwendolyn Lambert is secretary, and Lydia Middents and Cort Wernz are co-treasurers.
If you would like to be involved with the PFLAG Houston board, please contact us HelplinePFLAGHouston@gmail.com. Board members-at-large must be members in good standing.
Who we are. PFLAG Houston is committed to supporting families and educating the public about LGBT issues and invites all to consider the group’s numerous volunteer opportunities. PFLAG Houston is also passionate about advocacy to ensure equal human rights and end discrimination. PFLAG Houston invites all family members, parents, and/or youth who are having problems with coming out issues, and welcomes everyone, regardless of religious affiliation, ethnicity, or political persuasion. The group is proud of its rich history and the continued contributions of members and invites all to learn more about the organization and join in efforts to create a more diverse, accepting society. Find a home in PFLAG.