by Joey Lamberti
"I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully.
Most people never listen." Ernest Hemingway
This year, the LGBT community has broken new ground. In June, the Supreme Court officially legalized gay marriage nationwide
, and just this month, the U.S. Justice Department voted in favor of a Virginia transgender teenager
who was claiming discrimination for not being allowed to use the appropriate restroom for their identifiable sex. Another news story swept national headlines when the patriarch of a popular reality show officially came out as a woman
. The public reaction to these decisions have not been entirely positive, which is rather telling when every recent amendment or decision is a brave and bold statement for the LGBT community. While others may not share the same tolerance, it would be a non-issue for my wife and I if our sons were to come out as homosexuals or transgender. The goal of this piece is not to reject differing ideals, but to briefly shed some light on just how far the LGBT community has come, and how much further they can go with their parents, peers and most importantly, the state, as advocates instead of enemies.
On March 26, 1973, a short while after marching with her son in New York’s Christopher Street Liberation Day March
, Jeanne Manford
held the first formal meeting for parents in support of their gay and lesbian children. The buzz surrounding these meetings would spread into other communities, and new groups would take form. In 1980, the representatives of these groups formed the largest organization of its kind: PFLAG
, or Parents for Lesbians and Gays. As of 2015, there are over 350 individual chapters
across the nation, where parents, family members and friends of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people can receive support and educational materials.