What Is Advocacy?

Advocacy means taking a stand against the prejudice which our children face
At Richmond PFLAG, we believe that everyone is entitled to their own opinions and beliefs, but these opinions and beliefs do not entitle them to harass and discriminate against our GLBT loved ones. We know that not everyone who comes to PFLAG is ready to be an advocate or activist. We are all on different roads to acceptance and celebration of our children's sexual orientation and/or gender identity, but advocacy takes many forms. It can be as simple as writing a letter to your congressman to protest or support legislation. It can also be the seemingly difficult decision to come out as the parent of a gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered child to family and friends. Each person must decide what their own comfort level is. While you decide where your comfort level is, please take a moment to look at some of the issues facing your GLBT loved one.

Marriage: Same sex couples won the freedom to marry in 2015.  However, laws have been proposed or passed in a number of states that would protect from discrimination claims anyone who believes that marriage is between one man and one woman.

Hate Crimes: Each year thousands of gay or transgender people are the victims of hate crimes. But most state and local governments, including Virginia, have done nothing to enact legislation that could deter these crimes.

Schools and Youth: We all remember how children teased and bullied each other in schools when we were kids. Very little has changed, and with more and more children coming out as gay and transgendered at earlier ages, it is more important than ever that we try to protect them and all children who face teasing because they are different.

Parenting and Families: More gay and lesbian couples are choosing to become parents today than ever before. But because the law doesn't recognize them as a family, they are often denied even the simplest rights that all straight parents enjoy.

Reparative Therapy: This so called "therapy" has been discredited by most professionals in the medical field and has even been called dangerous and potentially damaging. Yet many gays and lesbians struggling to accept their own sexual orientation seek out the false hope of a "cure" hoping to change the way they were born.

Communities of Color: Because they are a minority within a minority, gay and lesbian people of color face prejudice on two fronts, both from the public at large and from within their own community.

Transgenderism: Our transgender children are often misunderstood and discriminated against even within the gay community itself. They also have special challenges on the road to equality. Even something as simple as which public restroom to use can be a traumatic experience for our transgender loved ones.  Several states have proposed or signed legislation requiring people in schools and government buildings to use the bathroom that matches the sex listed on their birth certificate. 

Civil Rights: Although great strides have been made in the past few years, our GLBT children still face many obstacles on their road to equality. In addition to marriage and parenting rights, our sons and daughters still cannot serve openly in the military, even though history proves that they have silently served with distinction and honor in the past. GLBT Americans in most areas of the country must still live in fear of losing their jobs or their homes if they are found to be gay. However, this is a road we can help them on if we are active in our communities.

If you would like to learn more about any of these issues, please
see the PFLAG National website