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PFLAG at Work in Concord

by Gretchen Frasier

The Concord Meeting of Greater Boston PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender People) celebrated its 15th anniversary in May, 2007. In 1992 there were few resources available to gay, lesbian bisexual and transgender (GLBT) people in Boston Metro-west. PFLAG became the first ally organization in the area to stand up for the rights and welfare of GLBT people and their families.

Greater Boston PFLAG continues to fill an important need for Concord and surrounding communities. Monthly discussion-meetings bring together supporters who recognize that there is still a long way to go to realize a society that treats all of its citizens equally and with dignity.

Earlier this year, on March 21st, Concord’s First Parish Church presented The Laramie Project. This is a performance based on interviews with residents of Laramie, Wyoming following the murder of gay-student Matthew Shepard. The Laramie Project was followed on March 27th by The Concord Project, a panel discussion on the level of safety that exists for everyone here, particularly for students in our schools. Gretchen Frasier was on the panel as the mother of a gay man who had grown up in Concord and as a representative of PFLAG’s Safe Schools and Communities Project.

PFLAG’s mission supports GLBT persons, their families and friends through providing information about sexual orientation and gender identity at meetings, on the Greater Boston PFLAG website (www.gbpflag.org) and through the help-line (866-427-3524). The Safe Schools and Communities Project is committed to developing school and work environments where all people are welcome, safe and included. Safe Schools don’t just happen – they require work that is done over the course of many years. And they need to be maintained because there is turnover in student populations and faculty. PFLAG believes that we all have a natural need for acceptance, to feel empowered and included. Recent Massachusetts Department of Education research shows that in schools with a Gay Straight Alliance and student/faculty training, the risk factors for GLBT students (skipping school, violence and attempted suicides) are significantly reduced.

With its unique family voice and grassroots network, Concord PFLAG is creating a safe and just world in ways that no one else can. Concord PFLAG meets on the third Sunday night of the month, in the library of Trinity Episcopal Church from 7:00-9:00 pm. Diana Hughes (978-369-8649) is the PFLAG representative sitting on CCHRC. Please contact her for further information.

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The Concord-Carlisle Human Rights Council is a community organization of volunteers working together to foster respect, understanding, good will, and conciliation among individuals and groups in the community. It is dedicated to the belief that all people are entitled to dignity and respect. The role of the Human Rights Council is one of education and advocacy.

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