In 1972, Jeanne Manford started an international movement when she marched with her son Mortie in New York’s Gay Pride Parade. Enraged that her son had been beaten at a gay rights protest two months before while police did nothing, she carried a sign at the Pride march that said, “Parents of Gays: Unite in Support of Our Children.”
Thirty years later, PFLAG has grown to include more than 500 chapters nationwide, over 200,000 members, supporters, and affiliates, representing the largest chapter network in the struggle for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBTQ) rights.
History of PFLAG Central Oregon/Bend
PFLAG Bend was founded in July 1993, following the defeat of the Oregon Citizens Alliance (OCA) sponsored Ballot Measure 9. This initiative sought to codify discrimination based on sexual orientation, declaring homosexuality an abnormal behavior. Recognizing the particular support needs of lesbians and gays and their families in small town Bend, a group of 14 gathered to form the first PFLAG east of Oregon's populous Willamette Valley.
In 1994, 10 people signed on as charter members of the Bend based group, procured a post office box, established a phone helpline, and began producing a bimonthly newsletter. A large lending library of lesbian/gay-related books and videos was started in 1995, and the group hosted the first Oregon State PFLAG Conference. In 1997, the chapter co-hosted a conference on homosexuality and the church, an "undiscussed" subject at that time in rural Oregon and established a speakers bureau. The year 2000, was dominated by yet another successful campaign against the latest OCA initative. In addition the chapter changed its name to PFLAG Bend/Central Oregon to reflect the geographic area served.
Visibility was the goal of 2001-2003. With a membership of approximately 80 people, the chapter began publishing quarterly picture ads in the "Bend Bulletin", adopted a highway for litter patrol, hosted two concerts, sponsored "Solidarity Sunday" in a number of churches, developed a website and had 70 people participate in the Bend holiday parade.
In 2006 - 2007, PFLAG sponsored a workshop on compassionate communication, we hosted "Gay Into Straight America", we sponsored and participated in Bend's first Pride event, we hosted the Portland Gay Men's chorus and we created a movie theater ad that played in Bend's major theaters. The chapter worked to establish the current Oregon Equality Act which makes it illegal to discriminate against gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender people in Oregon and the Oregon Family Fairness Act which creates domestic partnerships for same-sex couples.
Throughout the chapter's history, a monthly support group has been offered on the 2nd Tuesday of each month. Each meeting features an educational program. Most meetings include an allotted time for breakout discussion groups where individual's specific concerns or questions can be addressed. No meeting would be complete without hearty refreshments and time for socializing.
We are proud to celebrate PFLAG Central Oregon's 20th Anniversary! We had a wonderful party at Volcanic Theater Pub where we enjoyed refreshments, prizes, and the hilarious "Sorrid Lives". We were honored with a proclamation from the city of Bend!