A new Baton Rouge chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays is meeting for the first time Thursday night.
More than a decade ago, there was a PFLAG chapter in Baton Rouge, but the support group dissolved for an unknown reason, said Kevin Serrin, chairman of the board of the Capitol City Alliance.
Capitol City Alliance is a nonprofit group in Baton Rouge that supports lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues.
Serrin is a local advocate who helped re-establish the PFLAG chapter in Baton Rouge.
The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. at the Unitarian Church, 8470 Goodwood Blvd.
The Baton Rouge chapter is headed up by Carol Frazier, who is serving as PFLAG’s president.
Frazier said she became involved because of her son.
“My son was gay and he came out to me in 1993,” Frazier said.
Frazier’s son committed suicide nine years ago, she said.
“I didn’t see the warning signs. At the time, there was no support group for me to go to,” Frazier said.
Frazier said she hopes people come to the meeting for support, education and understanding.
PFLAG, which has national origins that date to 1972, was created to help parents and family members of gay people talk to each other about their experiences, Serrin said.
“PFLAG is really about parents who have gay children and may have questions about that or want to talk to other people with similar experiences,” Serrin said.
Serrin said common questions parents have are: whether they’ll ever have grandchildren, what to do when they met their child’s significant other, and are there words they should avoid using.
“The meetings give members a chance to get together and share their experiences in a confidential way. It’s a peer support group,” Serrin said.
Serrin said PFLAG meetings also are a great way for parents to discuss how they and their children can cope with the bullying that often goes on with gay children.
“I also think a PFLAG chapter is really needed here in Baton Rouge because religion plays such a large part in people’s lives here, and they may struggle with that and may not feel comfortable talking to their children about some of these issues,” Serrin said.
Serrin said the meetings will be monthly and a board of directors will be chosen at Thursday’s meeting.
PFLAG is a national nonprofit organization with more than 200,000 members and supporters and over 350 affiliates in the United States.
The mission of PFLAG is to promote the health and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons, their families and friends through support, education and advocacy.
For more information about the Baton Rouge chapter of PFLAG, email firstname.lastname@example.org.