LGBT members who have not come out can go to PFLAG’s last meeting of the semester, where they will learn to deal with unaccepting families members during the holiday.
PFLAG once stood for Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, but the organization has since disaffiliated with their full name due to its limiting nature and now operates exclusively as PFLAG.
The meeting is at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at 719 Monroe Ave in Charleston.
The holidays bring family and friends together which can be an uncomfortable experience for some LGBT people who may or may not be out of the closet.
Daniel Nerone, a senior English major and “self-proclaimed notorious homosexual,” said the experience could be troubling for people who are still in the closet.
“For those who are in the process of coming out, or who haven’t started the process yet, it can be tricky,” Nerone said. “Especially because family members will traditionally ask about friends and dating lives.”
Nerone said PFLAG provides a sense of community for him and that he is grateful to have it in his town.
“I think it will do a lot of good, especially for questioning youth and their families,” Nerone said. “It’s great to know that there are people in Charleston fighting for the LGBT community.”
Donna Hudson, director of PFLAG, said she hopes students and community members will have a supportive environment to talk about this topic.
“Students from the university are going home for the holidays and if they have tension around the family, they will have to be there longer,” Hudson said. “So we want to give them a chance to talk about it.”
Hudson said the format for the meeting would be the common format for all the meetings. She said LGBT people and allies will sit down in a circle as they talk with each other and connect. She also said refreshments are usually provided and everyone is welcome.
Hudson said the meetings have consisted of a variety of viewpoints to discuss this topic from allied and LGBT parents, grandparents, college students and high school students.
“What has happened in our previous meetings is people have shared ideas and suggestions for one another on how to handle it,” Hudson said. “I am glad that PFLAG provides kind of a venue for that sharing and giving and receiving that support or suggestion.”
Aarthi Nagarajan, a senior family consumer sciences major and regular PFLAG attendee, said she learned more about the LGBT community from going to the meetings. She said she is excited to hear from everyone and learn what they go through.
“I understood what LGBT people have to face in the community of Charleston and what they go through emotionally,” Nagarajan said.
Alex Seidler can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]