1. To hasten understanding and acceptance by families
The motto of PFLAG Brisbane is “Keeping families together.” PFLAG is very proactive in promoting acceptance and understanding of people who disclose their sexual diversity to family and loved ones. Parents often feel isolated, confused or angry when their loved one “comes out” and this is an important area where PFLAG can offer assistance.
2. Educating the general community
PFLAG believes it is important that mainstream society understands the negative effect homophobic beliefs and outdated attitudes has on the gay community in general.
Our message is delivered through radio interviews (local, state and national), newspaper articles and speaking to community organisations on a variety of topics relevant to the difficulties of being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
We believe there is a need to:
- make people aware that sexual orientation isn’t a choice;
- promote an understanding that those living in the gay community aren’t deviants or lack morals;
- highlight the struggle of self loathing versus self acceptance;
- emphasise the prevalence of suicidal attempts for LGBTI youth between the ages of 15 years and 24 years. LGBTI youth are 6 times more likely to suicide than heterosexual youth;
- make people aware of the fear of abandonment by family at a time when acceptance and understanding is most needed;
- raise the issue of homelessness and sexuality being relevant to 1 in 5 youth on the street, not to mention those sleeping on friends couches because of family abandonment;
- make people aware of the risk of depression and drug and alcohol abuse by those who identify as LGBTI when they suffer lack of understanding and abandonment by family.
PFLAG believes educating the community about sexual diversity makes people less judgmental and removes the “fear” factor of knowing someone who is LGBTI. Families learn of our existence and can access our services and support.
3. Advocating for equality
PFLAG is very active in LGBTI Lobby Groups both on a state and national level. We believe it demonstrates that we are supportive of the gay community and it has been recognized that many politicians and community leaders are more willing to listen to PFLAG members rather than LGBTI representatives themselves to discuss the inequalities and injustices those in the gay community suffer.
PFLAG was involved with changes to the Queensland Discrimination Laws in 2001/2002 that initially recognized long term same sex relationships. PFLAG regularly lobbied politicians during the John Howard government to improve the rights of same sex couples and has written and met with State politicians in relation to:
- Age of Consent;
- Known Adoption for Same Sex Couples.
PFLAG made a submission to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission inquiry into Economic Discrimination of Same Sex Couples, where three parents were asked to speak at the Hearing in Brisbane which was led by Graham Innes. In November 2008 the Senate passed legislation that removed Economic Discrimination for same sex couples. Thanks to the dedication of the national gay lobby groups, our sons and daughters are now being recognised federally and the hard work by everyone over the years is finally beginning to show results.
PFLAG was also approached by Elizabeth Broderick to arrange a morning tea with several lesbian mums during her “Listening” Tour so she could hear about the issues and discriminations they dealt with on a daily basis.
PFLAG National Spokesperson, Shelley Argent was nominated to attend the 2020 Summit in Canberra in April 2008.
At the 2008 Human Rights Medals and Awards Ceremony in Sydney in December 2008, PFLAG Brisbane received a “Highly Commended” in the Community Award (Organisation) Section in recognition of their work with the LGBTI Community in Queensland.
PFLAG Brisbane believes that it is time that our same sex attracted sons and daughters were afforded the dignity and equality their heterosexual siblings enjoy in the eyes of the federal government and society as a whole. Until this is achieved, we will continue to lobby governments, speak out in the media and educate the community as a whole because we believe this is the way to make a better world for our sexually diverse sons and daughters.