PFLAG & Queer by Choice:

Building a Safe Environment
for Our Parents to Learn About Our Choices

People who consider our queerness a healthy choice often feel that the proper way for our parents to respond when we come out to them would be to heartily congratulate us on our courageous decision and throw a party. Unfortunately, our parents hardly ever do this: distraught tears, cruel rejection, flinging stereotypes, and going into severe denial that may last years, decades, or quite possibly forever are all far more common parental reactions. In order to deal with these parental reactions, we need to be able to count on our local PFLAG chapters to help our parents learn to understand and come to terms with the identities that we've carved out for ourselves.

Queer by choice people have often been skittish about turning to PFLAG for help, fearful that PFLAG will tell our parents that we're confused, ignorant, self-hating or delusional just because we say that we've proudly chosen to be queer. These kinds of messages don't exactly do wonders for a parent's willingness to listen to, empathize with, and show respect for their child's queer identity—and besides, most people's goals in coming out to their parents include a desire to finally be understood as the people we truly believe ourselves to be. As the old adage goes, most of us would rather be hated for who we are than loved for who we are not.

This fear that many of us have of turning to PFLAG for help is by no means unfounded. Numerous PFLAG chapters have, in the past, actively and continually promoted the message that we are indeed confused, ignorant, self-hating or delusional for saying that we've proudly chosen to be queer. Many continue to do so to this day. But there are also some other PFLAG chapters doing a wonderful job of providing support to the whole queer community, taking as their motto not the monolithic and thought-policing "Being queer is not a choice" but rather "Being queer is good, regardless of the causes, and we all have the right to form our own opinions about the causes and to express our own experiences of choice or lack of choice in our own words." Our goal in this section of our website is to provide queer by choice people with a guide to what kinds of treatment we can expect from our local PFLAG chapters, and along the way, to hopefully encourage more chapters to take steps to address our needs.

"Issues of what causes sexual orientation and gender identity are complex, and there are deeply held feelings about it among PFLAGers. Regardless of our personal feelings, it is important for PFLAG on the national and local levels to honor people's experiences of their sexual orientation and gender identity, and to welcome them into the organization. We are all committed to the same goal—making the world safe for GLBT people and their loved ones."
                    —PFLAG National Quarterly Affiliate Mailing, September 3, 2000

National-Level Activism

Chapter-Level Activism

Please feel free to use the graphic at right on your PFLAG website. We'd especially appreciate it if you choose to link it to this web page, but you're free to use it regardless of whether you link it or not. It's one of our ways of making it easier for you to help queer by choice people in your city feel a little more welcome!

Our Safe Chapters List

Submit Your PFLAG Chapter
for Inclusion on Our Safe Chapters List

Looking for Queer by Choice Commentary on or from Your Area?
Try Looking Up Your State or City Here!


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PFLAG and Queer by Choice in the News

Looking for Alternative or Additional Support?

The QBC-Families Mailing List is a tiny, brand new discussion list designed to provide support for the families of queer by choice people—in other words, the families of lesbian, gay, transgendered, polyamorous and bisexual people who consider their sexual orientations and/or gender identities to be wholly or partially chosen. Having relatives or friends whose viewpoints are such a stigmatized and invisible minority within the queer community can be very lonely and confusing, but you're not the only one to experience this. Others on the QBC-Families list have been through similar experiences, and we're here to help! In addition, this list also serves as a wonderful support forum for PFLAG chapter leaders to discuss ways to provide better support for relatives and friends of queer by choice identified people within PFLAG.

Please note that queer people whose parents are on the QBC-Families Mailing List must get their parents' permission to be allowed to join, and in return, parents whose children are on the QueerByChoice Mailing List must get their children's permission before joining QueerByChoice. This policy exists in order to ensure that both children and parents have safe spaces in which they can speak freely about their feelings and beliefs.

Want to join the QBC-Families Mailing List?

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© 2000-2009 by Gayle Madwin. All rights reserved.