PARENTS, FAMILIES AND FRIENDS ALLIED WITH THE LGBTQ COMMUNITY
Westwood's Guest Speaker Series:
Español So Cal
December 21, 2011 / 7:30 p.m.
Empowering LGBT Youth: Know Your Rights!
— ACLU Attorney James Gilliam talks about the rights of LGBT youth and the ways to enforce them -
The overheard slur in the hall, the shove on the steps, the put down by a teacher, the shunning by parents or foster parents—we’ve all heard the horrors that many LGBT youth have to face on a daily basis.
Increasingly, there are laws and policies in place to protect LGBT young people in school, in foster care, and in their own homes. But they can’t work unless we know about them.
James Gilliam, who has been at the forefront of this emerging body of law, will outline the legal protections that LGBT youth have. He’ll also talk about how to seek redress if you or your children’s rights have been violated.
Gilliam, deputy executive director of the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) of Southern California, is a long-time activist for the LGBT community. Besides helping to manage the day-to-day operations of the $7 million organization, he directs the ACLU/SC’s LGBT Rights Project.
Some of his LGBT related cases include working on the legal effort to overturn Proposition 8, defending a LGBT teenager thrown out of his home when he came out as gay and transgender, and representing an HIV positive woman facing deportation. He has written well-received and widely cited articles on LGBT youth in the foster care system and on the military’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy.
Gilliam is also an adjunct professor at Loyola Law School, where he teaches seminars regarding Sexual Orientation and the Law. He is the co-chair of the Sexual Orientation Bias Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association. In 2010, the National LGBT Bar Association named him one of the Best LGBT Lawyers Under 40.
Empower yourself, your child, your family members and community by learning this important information.
November 16, 2011 / 7:30 p.m
Finding out Your Child is Not Heterosexual:
Working through the Losses and Welcoming the Gains
— Dr. Vula Baliotis and Dr. Lisa Manuelian
Dr. BaliotisDr. ManuelianWhen people come to realize that they have same-sex attraction, they often go through a developmental process to accept their sexual orientation and to come out to others. Parents and other family members also move through a process toward acceptance. This process typically entails loss, grief, shame, and stigmatization; but through the journey, family members can create more authentic, meaningful, and intimate relationships with each other and find surprising joys, relief, and freedom in the knowledge they now have.
In this talk, Dr. Vula Baliotis and Dr. Lisa Manuelian will discuss the ways in which learning one’s child is not heterosexual can impact parents and describe the process parents might go through in accepting their child. They will also discuss the impact on siblings.
Our speakers have extensive experience conducting diversity trainings on various topics including dialoging about differences and conflict; worldview; power, privilege, and oppression; racism, ethnic oppression, acculturation, ethnic identity development, and multicultural identity development; sexism and gender identity development; heterosexism and sexual orientation identity development; class oppression; ageism; and religious oppression. They understand the cost and benefits of being different.
In her private practice, Dr. Baliotis specializes in working with people who find themselves on the periphery—of family, culture, or society. Her work includes LGBT individuals and their families, women, people adjusting to a new cultural, minorities, and gifted and creative individuals.
In addition to her diversity work, Dr. Manuelian also specializes in working with woman who are pregnant or new mothers and their partners to help them understand and deal with the hormonal and emotional changes.
Both speakers received their doctoral degrees in clinical psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University, and each has taught clinical psychology: Dr. Baliotis at Alliant International University, Pepperdine University, and Ryokayn College; Dr Manuelian at Alliant International University and The Chicago School of Professional Psychology.
October 19, 2011 / 7:30 p.m.
“My Two Wives and Three Husbands”
— S. Stanley Gordon and Joe Howard
What does it mean to be gay in a culture with no words to describe your experience and no models to follow? Both Stanley Gordon and his husband Joe grew up in a world where the only path to adulthood was the one that led to heterosexual marriage.
Gordon has described the experience of understanding and claiming his gay identity in his well-reviewed memoir My Two Wives and Three Husbands.
Born into a Russian-Jewish immigrant family in the 1920s, he knew he was different, but he didn’t know what that meant. It took two wives, and successful careers as a doctor of optometry and an entrepreneur to help him find out. In his talk he’ll share with us what he learned and where life took him (Broadway, anyone?).
In Gordon’s own words his life has been “one man's search for love -- first in the straight world, then in the gay one. . .against a background of professional endeavors, show business, family interaction, heartbreaks, triumphs, and laughter. Through it all I never stopped seeking, finding, losing, seeking, finding LOVE, for without it all else is hollow.”
Now a successful first time author in his eighties (his book earned 4.5 stars out of 5 on Amazon), he lives happily with husband number three, Joe Henry. Gordon’s son and daughter-in-law have blessed them with four terrific grandchildren and a growing brood of great-grandchildren.
Come and be inspired by this man whose life has been fabulous largely because of his own tremendous enthusiasm for the journey with all it’s false starts, strange twists and wonderful surprises.
October 15, 2011 / 8:30 am - 5:00 pm
Models of Pride 19
– An All-day Free LGBTQ and Straight Ally Youth Conference
Sponsored by L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center and LifeWorks
Special Parents Workshops - Lunch, Resource FaIr and ALL workshop materials are included
FAMILY FOCUS: Workshops for Parents, Guardians and Foster-Parents
Supporting LGBTQ youth in our families and communities is a rewarding–and challenging experience. Being a good advocate for the young LGBTQ person in your life starts with knowledge. These workshops are designed to help adults identify and work with a variety of issues–coming out from both young person’s and parents’ perspectives, the latest information on sexual orientation and gender identity, safe schools, building positive faith communities, and advocating for the rights of LGBTQ youth. Whether your child’s been out for weeks or years you’ll find new ideas to help them thrive.
Come with your questions,experiences, problems, and feelings.
Share the journey with other parentsand experts on LGBTQ youth.
PFLAG’s Hospitality Center for Family Focus Participants
The Hospitality Center is a place where parents, foster parents, and guardians can come to relax, have a moment of quiet, find resources, and talk privately or in small groups to parents from PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays).
If you have come to the conference with special concerns or if the sessions have raised any issues for you, stop by and meet parents with many years of experience supporting LGBTQ youth and their families. Talking can be especially helpful if you have learned recently about your child’s sexual orientation, gender identity or questioning. We’ll be available between and during the sessions, and we look forward to meeting everyone. Printed resources will also be available for you to take home.
August 17, 2011 / 7:30 p.m.
Advanced Screening - “We Were Here”
— Paul Federbush’s new release
Paul Federbush, well-known film executive, has brought amazing films such as March of the Penguins and Slumdog Millionaire to the market. His company Red Flag Releasing garnered nationwide attention for 8 The Mormon Proposition.
At the August 17 meeting of PFLAG Los Angeles, Federbush will screen portions of a new film his company is releasing, the wrenching, inspiring We Were Here a story of the AIDS crisis in San Francisco told by the people who lived it.
We Were Here focuses on 5 individuals – all of who lived in San Francisco prior to the epidemic. Their lives changed in unimaginable ways when their beloved city morphed from a hotbed of sexual freedom and social experimentation into the epicenter of a terrible sexually transmitted plague. From their different vantage points as caregivers, activists, researchers, as friends and lovers of the afflicted, and as people with AIDS themselves, the interviewees share stories which are not only intensely personal, but which also illuminate the much larger themes of that era: the political and sexual complexities, the terrible emotional toll, the role of women – particularly lesbians – in caring for and fighting for their gay brothers.
Red Flag Releasing (RFR) is a recently formed distribution company, was created “out of a desire to create new paths and opportunities for independent filmmakers in this age of ubiquitous technological change.” The company acquires completed films and pursues projects for which it can provide finishing funds.
As senior executives at Warner Independent Pictures, Federbush and co-founder of Red Flag Releasing Laura Kim , worked on the acquisition and release of such films as Oscar®-winning documentary March of the Penguins, as well as Oscar®-nominated films Good Night, and Good Luck. and Paradise Now. Federbush also acquired and worked as a production executive on Oscar®-winning film Slumdog Millionaire.
Come and hear a Hollywood professional with an amazing instinct for great films talk about the moving documentary that took the film festival circuit by storm.
July 20, 2011 / 7:30 p.m.
Coming Out on the Oprah Show
— Ulandsey Peterson went from living on the down-low to living out loud
On April 16, 2004, Ulandsey Peterson was a guest on the Oprah show with his face concealed and his voice altered. The show was about living on the "down-low," a life style in which men have sex with other man while maintaining a relationship, sometimes even a marriage with a woman. Ulandsey and the other three men who appeared on the show maintained that they were NOT gay or even bisexual.
But that wasn't really the truth. Six years later, on October 7, 2010, Ulandsey Peterson dropped the mask, dropped the act, and came out publicly on the Oprah show. "I had to accept the truth that I am physically, emotionally and sexually attracted to men, and it was a difficult truth to accept at the time," he said. "I am gay."
His candor got him a serious grilling from Oprah because he feared a large-scale rejection even though his immediate family and friends had accepted him.
Peterson has been a soldier, a civilian property officer for the LAPD, a real estate agent, and, after the crash of the housing market, a bus driver for Los Angeles county Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
Ulandsey will talk about the pressure that causes men of all ethnicities to live on the "down-low." He will also discuss what experiences enabled him to come out so publicly. Finally. Ulandsey will describe the response he has experienced since his appearance on the show-both immediately after and over the longer term.
His courage in appearing on the Oprah Show is something all PFLAG members can appreciate. Come and listen to his story of becoming who he now is-a gay man who is out and proud.
June 20, 2011 / 7:30 p.m.
Scholarships to Educate Future LGBT Leaders
— Vincent Garcia: The Point Foundation
It’s no news that college costs are staggering. Even two-parent, middle class families are struggling to put their children through school. LGBT youth frequently have special difficulties. Those who are out may find that college tuition is used as a bargaining chip to coerce an impossible change to heterosexuality. Others may conceal their sexual orientation or gender identity far longer than they wish in order to safeguard the precious resource. And LGBT kids disowned by their families have the hardest road of all.
That’s where the Point Foundation comes in. Vincent Garcia, scholar and alumni program director, will describe the help available through this remarkable organization that provides scholarships, mentorship, leadership training and hope for students of merit who have been marginalized due to sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
Applicants to Point Foundation and subsequent scholars turn to Point Foundation because their families are either unable or unwilling to support them and their goals for higher education. Each student has a compelling and inspiring story of overcoming incredible obstacles and hardships. Many have been cruelly rejected by their families, forced to leave home, and cut off from all financial support. Yet Point Scholars are excelling at our nation's most prestigious and demanding universities and colleges, while also leading in a variety of extracurricular and community service activities.
In addition to financial support, Point Foundation matches each scholar with a mentor who is a successful professional in fields such as the arts, science, education, business, law, medicine and other humanities. Point Foundation Mentors build rewarding, personal relationships and serve as exemplary role models for the organization’s scholars. They also assist Point Scholars with professional career decisions, including the pursuit of graduate studies, internship placement and job opportunities after graduation. Additionally, each Point Mentor oversees the design and completion of an annual community service leadership project that is required of each scholar. Throughout the year, Point Mentors and Scholars work collaboratively to set goals and objectives that build leadership skills through service.
For our speaker, Vincent Garcia, the struggles and opportunities involved in a college education are immediate and vivid both from his own experience and the lives of the young LGBT persons he serves. Vincent has over 18 years experience in student recruitment and college advising. Prior to joining Point, Vincent was Associate Director of Admission at California Lutheran University, where he led the Multi-Cultural Recruitment Team and developed freshman recruitment travel strategies. In his first year, Vincent saw Cal Lutheran's multi-cultural applications increase by an average of 30%. He was involved with both campus events planning and communication teams, while hosting events for organizations including Young Black Scholars, College Summit, and Upward Bound. Vincent demonstrates a strong commitment to both access and equity in higher education, while committing himself to numerous charitable organizations including the National AIDS Training program, The California AIDS Ride, and to the EIF Revlon Run/Walk for Women to fight women’s cancers in Los Angeles.
Come hear Vincent explain how your child can find a good college match and benefit from the Point Foundations programs and other LGBT scholarships.
Visit their website: Point Foundation
June 12, 2011
March with us in the LA PRIDE Parade Celebrating LGBT Pride!
– We invite you and your family/friends to participate
in a one-of-a-kind experience you’ll never forget!
This year we really need your support more than ever. We received a wonderful grant from LA Pride to help us spruce up our appearance in the parade, and now we have great new banners and a huge PFLAG Los Angeles flag, all made possible by this grant. We just need YOU!
So please spread the word and participate with PFLAG-Los Angeles and hopefully other chapters. Wear a red T-shirt or red clothing (not a requirement).
Let us know if you planon marching with us viaFacebook or E-mailOur contingent will gather at Crescent Heights somewhere South of Santa Monica Blvd. We will not have any more specific information regarding our position until the day of the parade, but you can ask people/organizers at that time.
If possible, please plan to arrive between 9 and 10 a.m. to help us set up.
Parade steps off sharply at 11 a.m.
See Our Slideshow of Pride 2011 Photos!
Helpful Parade Day Tips:
Bring water, sunscreen (maybe a hat). Eat a good breakfast and maybe bring some snacks.
Be aware that Marchers throwing any item into the crowd will cause the entire contingent to be immediately removed during the parade.
Parking and traffic congestion on Parade day in West Hollywood is impossible at best; any vehicles parked illegally WILL be ticketed towed away. Consider carpooling. Suggested parking areas include East of Fairfax, Pacific Design Center, the Kings Road parking structure, and the Beverly Center. Parking permits in West Hollywood are waived from 7:00 a.m. Sat., June 11 to 7:00 a.m. Mon., June 13.
May 18th, 2011 / 7:30 p.m.
“Separated at Birth”
— Craig Lawven tells how HIV saved one man’s life
All of us know that societal stigma of LGBT youth cost lives. The suicides of very young LGBT teens harassed by their peers, unprotected by their schools, and sometimes rejected by their parents has made headlines even in the mainstream media.
Those horrible events are the visible tip of the iceberg. For every teen suicide there are hundreds of young, and not so young people killing themselves through risky behaviors.
Craig Lawven was one of them. A boy growing up “different” in an Ohio town, left home searching for self-acceptance and meaning—and wound up using drugs and alcohol. Having no place to turn but gay bars in his search for community, Craig continued his substance abuse, which contributed to risky sexual behavior. Even that didn’t help him feel connected to the gay community in which he lived or the larger society.
Testing HIV+ in June of 2006 was a turning point in Craig’s life and forced him to take a personal inventory and look at the root causes and conditions in his life. It was a catalyst for finally coming to terms with just what it means to be a gay man in America today and how one can define that road for himself. His continuing journey led him to the doors of the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center, where he now works as an HIV Outreach Specialist and Educator in the Positive Images program.
His story, while difficult to hear for parents and LGBT individuals alike, is ultimately about hope and empowerment. From his personal experiences and those of men in the Positive Images program, he has suggestions to give us about how we can keep the people we love safe and together—not separated from themselves.
April 20th, 2011 / 7:30 p.m.
“My Journey With Ellen”
— Betty Degeneres, an inspiring example of parental love.
The mother of the world’s most famous lesbian, talks about her personal journey from an ordinary mom to a spokesperson for acceptance, tolerance and LGBT rights.
Initially many parents go into the closet after their child comes out. Betty DeGeneres didn’t have that luxury. In 1997 when Ellen came out on the television program that bore her name, Betty was thrust into the spotlight, supporting Ellen through the cheers and attacks her honesty occasioned. Although her own process had begun in 1978, when Ellen told her mother about her sexual orientation during a walk on the beach, Betty had to deal with intense public scrutiny.
She has worn her notoriety well. In 1997 Betty was named the first non-gay spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign’s National Coming-out Project. Since that time, Betty has spoken at universities and corporations throughout America on the subject of acceptance of diversity and equal rights for our gay family members.
She has written two books: “Love, Ellen – A Mother/Daughter Journey” and “Just a Mom.” Her columns, Ask Betty, on Planetout.com, and a monthly interview column on HRC.org/familynet, were website favorites until her recent retirement.
Betty was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, where she met and married Elliott DeGeneres. Following a divorce and remarriage, she moved to East Texas where she studied to become a licensed speech pathologist, ultimately working at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in the Rehabilitation Department.
A long-time friend of PFLAG, Betty shares her journey with her famous daughter with the wit, kindness and courage that both of them are famous for.
March 16th, 2011 / 7:30 p.m.
— Screening “I’m Just Anneke”
Gender non-conformity. Fancy words to describe a reality beyond the male/female duality most of us take for granted. For an increasing number of families, this reality is the stuff of everyday life.
That’s what the film “I’m just Anneke” shows: an ordinary family living with a child whose gender identity is fluid. What do moms and dads do when their child transcends the “baby pink” and “baby blue” categories?
At the March meeting of PFLAG Los Angeles, Jonathan Skurnik screens a film about one particular, spunky gender non-conforming kid. Anneke is a 12-year-old girl who loves ice hockey and has a loving, close-knit family. Anneke is also a hardcore tomboy and everybody she meets assumes she’s a boy. The onset of puberty has created an identity crisis for Anneke. Does she want to be a boy or a girl when she grows up, or something in between? To give her more time to make a decision, her doctor has put her on Lupron, a hormone blocker that temporarily freezes her body in a pre-pubescent state.
The film, itself, is part of The Youth and Gender Media Project, a collection of short films that introduce the complexity, diversity, and ultimately the normality of transgender youth and their families to a broader audience.
Jonathan has produced and shot numerous award winning documentaries, including “Something’s Moving” about American Indian boarding schools, (winner of the Unspoken Truth award at the 2008 Media That Matters film festival) “The Elevator Operator” about a Ukrainian immigrant who runs a manual elevator in Manhattan, (winner of the Best Documentary at the Urban TV film festival in Madrid), and “A Day’s Work, A Day’s Pay” about welfare reform, (winner of the prestigious Harry Chapin award for films about hunger and poverty).
Come meet this talented filmmaker and learn more about the world of trans kids and their families.
February 16th, 2011 / 7:30 p.m.
Robin Tyler: Hero of Marriage Equality
— How love and a compelling law suit conquered all
Robin and her partner Diane Olson have been called the Rosa Parks of the lesbian and gay civil rights movement. Tyler et al versus the County of Los Angeles made history, not only as the catalyst for the State Supreme Court’s decision granting equal marriage rights, but also for the ruling granting gay men and lesbians legal minority status for the first time in history.
As leaders in this fight and original plaintiffs in this case, the County of Los Angeles gave Robin and Diane the only marriage license issued on Monday, June 16, 2008, the evening before licenses were available to the public at large. That made them the first same-sex couple to be legally married in California.
On June 27, 2008, the City of Los Angeles honored Robin and Diane with a special community service award for being original plaintiffs in this monumental case. In addition, the City Council unanimously voted for June 16, their wedding day, to be forever known as “Marriage Equality Day” in Los Angeles.
As we all know, the fight is not over. On the day after passage of Proposition 8, the ballot measure banning gay marriage, Robin and Diane filed a personal suit asking the State Supreme Court of California to overturn this homophobic initiative.
Robin will speak about how she got the courage to be a pathfinder in the fight for marriage equality, and tell us how we can work effectively for LGBT civil rights.
Come meet and honor this courageous woman, and listen to her inspirational story.
Download Flyer for this event: Color / Black and White
January 19th, 2011 / 7:30 p.m.
Queer Questions Straight Talk
— Author Abby Dees talks about how to ask and answer those difficult questions
The “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy is gone from the United States military, but it is still alive and well in many families and friendships. Moms and dads, brothers and sisters, cousins and friends have questions for their LGBT family members and friends, but are often silent because they don’t know how to ask them.
At the same time, LGBT individuals may find themselves answering the same questions over and over or having to respond to an awkwardly phrased and sometimes offensive query.
How do we bridge the communication gap so that real friendship and intimacy can grow in relationships? With humor and compassion, Abby Dees suggests some practical ways to start a dialog—even if the questions are clumsily raised.
Dees is a civil rights attorney and editor for St. Lynn’s Press who has been actively involved in lesbian, gay and bisexual rights and awareness work for 25 years. She believes tolerance can come about through effective communication, and that’s what inspired her to write Queer Questions Straight Talk (QQST). She's gathered this information through her own life experience and also by conducting many hours of interviews with a wide variety of people. Abby feels QQST can help both LGBT individuals and also their straight loved ones who are wanting to support them.
In addition to her civil rights work and her writing, she is closely involved with the Los Angeles chapters of the Human Rights Campaign, the Trevor Project (gay teen suicide prevention), and the San Francisco office of the National Center for Lesbian Rights.
She understands the importance of having an emotional support system from family and friends when one is dealing with sexual identity issues. Abby will speak on her own coming out process and the role her own family and friends played and continue to play in her life. Abby feels blessed that this is a support system she carries with her even now as her mother Cathy was the editor for Queer Questions Straight Talk.
Come to the January meeting of PFLAG Los Angeles and learn how to ask and answer those nagging questions. –See how communication can be the key to understanding and living a fulfilled life for both LGBT persons and their families.