LGBTQ+ 101

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WHAT DOES LGBTQ+ MEAN?

The acronym LGBTQ+ stands for “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning and those who identify some other way”. 

  • Lesbian is used to describe a woman whose enduring physical, romantic, and/or emotional attraction is to other women.
  • Gay is used to describe a man whose enduring physical, romantic, and/or emotional attraction is to other men.
  • Bisexual describes an individual who is physically, romantically, and/or emotionally attracted to both men and women.
  • Transgender is an umbrella term for people whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from the sex they were assigned at birth.
  • Queer is a term which reflects how language changes with society.   A term predominantly used by the LGBTQ community to stake a contrast from mainstream, heteronormative society, "queer" means different.
  • Glossary of Terms:  https://pflag.org/glossary

What’s the difference between sexual orientation and gender identity?

The relationship between gender identity and sexual orientation is complex. Sexual orientation refers to  individuals’ attractions to others–who they love and date, and to whom they are physically and/or emotionally attracted. The terms lesbian, gay, and bisexual refer to one’s sexual orientation. 


Gender identity refers to an individual's internal experience of gender. Transgender refers to one’s knowledge in their gender identity being different than that which was assigned at birth. 


In basic terms, gender identity is concerned with who one is, and sexual orientation is concerned with who one loves.

WHAT TO EXPECT AT A PFLAG Chapter Meeting

Meetings are every 3rd Monday from 7-9pm at 989 San Ramon Valley Blvd.

  

Q:  Do I have to make an appointment or let someone know that I’m coming?

       A:  No. You can simply drop in to our meetings which run year round, no matter what.  We're always holding a 

             meeting the 3rd Monday of every month from 7-9pm at 989 San Ramon Valley Blvd.


Q:  Who can come to a meeting?

       A:  Everyone! There are many different types of people who come to PFLAG meetings. All are welcome. Our 

             chapter is celebrating its 25th anniversary next year.  We have a few board members who have been with our

             chapter since almost the beginning.  A few of our founders are still members as well, even though they have

             moved away.  We also have new families joining us at our meetings almost every single month.

             You will always have a home with PFLAG whether you just want support now, or whether you'd like to stick 

             around for awhile!


Q:  Who are at these meetings?

       A:  The people who are at PFLAG meetings are everyday people. We come from various backgrounds, occupations, 

             and age groups. Some of us have gone through similar experiences to what you may be facing with your lgbtq 

             loved one. Sometimes we are still struggling with being a parent or family member of a loved one who is LGBTQ.

             Many of us come to PFLAG just to share stories and enjoy the company of other PFLAG members.


             Many of us have had to struggle with being LGBTQ or having an LGBTQ child, and being in a church or temple 

             that rejects LGBTQ people. You are welcome at PFLAG. We will support you in your struggle.


Q:  Why do people come to a meeting?

       A:  Each of us comes for different reasons:

  • Parents and family members come to get support from other parents and family members who have been through similar experiences.
  • Spouses of LGBTQ persons come because they want to support their spouses and their families.
  • Allies and friends come to meetings to: 

                       *  support a friend who is LGBTQ

                       *  learn how to handle LGBTQ issues that face them in today’s society, and how to stand up for the rights 

                           of LGBTQ people

                       *  learn what transgender or non-binary gender is all about.                       

                      *  to connect with other folks in their community who care about and are working for equal rights for 

                           LGBTQ folks

  • Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) people come to a PFLAG meeting: 

                          *  to learn from other family members and allies how they can tell the people in their own 

                              lives that they are LGBTQ.

                          *  to help other people adjust to the news that someone they know is LGBTQ.

                          *  to create a family of choice to replace the family they lost when they came out.


Q:  Do I need a reason to attend a PFLAG meeting?

       A:  No. You do not have to have a pressing issue or be associated with anyone in the gay community. You can 

             simply come and you will be welcome.


Q:  What usually happens at meetings?

       A:  We start off with an introduction about PFLAG, some guidelines about confidentiality and some quick

             announcements.  There might be an educational component or a guest speaker, followed by sharing, or it 

             might be a regular sharing meeting.  Sharing often begins with introductions, if we have an LGBTQ loved one, 

             or if we are LGBTQ or not.  We always end with refreshments and socializing, mingling to get to know 

             each other a little better.


Q:  I am really not comfortable with the idea of coming to a meeting yet. Is there any way I can meet PFLAG members

       without having to go to a meeting?

      A:  We understand that it can be difficult to be the newcomer and to come to a meeting for the first time. We’ve 

            all been through that experience. We'll try to arrange a meeting with an experienced PFLAG member so you 

            can talk about your experience prior to your joining us in one of our regular monthly meetings.  This is often

            just a casual get together over a cup of coffee at a local coffeeshop.


           Some people bring their friends or someone else they trust to PFLAG meetings. We welcome anyone who 

            walks through our PFLAG door.


Q:  What do people talk about at meetings?

       A:  PFLAG members talk about all kinds of things. Some share the news that their LGBTQ child or loved one 

            has come out to their family.  Others may know or suspect their child or loved one is lgbtq+, but their child

            hasn't come out to them yet.  You might hear people discuss concerns about family members, friends or 

            co-workers  who are not accepting of LGBTQ individuals. It's common to hear how someone has become much 

            more aware of lgbtq inequality and insults they witness in their everyday lives. We'll sometimes share news 

            stories affecting lgbtq individuals and/or the community. 


            No matter what your individual story is, you may like to hear what other people have done regarding 

            their own "coming out" about having an lgbtq+ child or loved one.  It's not uncommon to share feelings of

            grief or a sense of mourning over the hope and dreams we had pictured for the future.  It's so very helpful

            to hear from those who went through this a long time ago share all the happy stories of how it truly gets

            better... way better!


Q:  I have heard that PFLAG meetings only consist of parents who sob about their children being gay. Is this true?

      A:  No. We take time to celebrate our loved ones. We talk, we enjoy each other’s company, and we have great

            refreshments!  We also always support those who are struggling, since we've all had our own struggles and

            know how helpful it is to have someone to talk to who understands what we're dealing with.  


Q:  How often do people come to PFLAG meetings?

      A:  People come as often as they want. You are under no obligation to PFLAG, ever. We hope that you find the 

            PFLAG chapter a welcoming and interesting community.  We also like to have fun together at different

            events throughout the year as well!


           It's common to have people come back because they want to give support to others who are coming to a 

           PFLAG meeting for the first time.


          Not all meetings are the same.  If a PFLAG meeting is not what you expected, let us know.  We can give you

           feedback on whether you experienced a "typical" meeting or not.  If you didn’t feel you got what you needed 

           from a PFLAG meeting, we encourage you to talk with a PFLAG board member to make sure that we hear 

           your story and your concerns.  That's how we can best ensure we're meeting the needs of our members.


Q:  Do I have to join PFLAG and pay dues to attend?

      A:  You don’t have to be an official dues paying member, but we hope you will consider supporting PFLAG by

            joining the chapter. Membership supports the chapter’s expenses and helps cover the cost of our initiatives. 

           You can also support the chapter by making donations or volunteering your time.


Thank you,

Your PFLAG Board Members of the Danville / San Ramon Valley Chapter