Edmonds woman starts LGBTQ support group

By Brian Soergel | Mar 23, 2017
Marlene Lund

An Edmonds woman has started an LGBTQ support group for residents of south Snohomish and north King counties that will have its first meeting next week.

Marlene Lund said the group is a satellite of the Seattle chapter of PFLAG, a national nonprofit organization formed to provide support and education for parents and families of LGBTQ individuals, as well as the individuals themselves.

The first PFLAG chapter was formed in 1973 in New York, and was at that time primarily focused on helping parents come to accept their gay and lesbian children and learn to advocate for them, Lund said.

“The name was originally the acronym for Parents and Families of Lesbians And Gays. As our mission has grown, and more awareness of the variety of sexual orientations and gender identities have become known, we no longer are only serving parents and families, and we realize that the LGBTQ community is comprised of more than lesbians and gays.”

The organization has kept its name, but now no longer uses it as an acronym for the organization. The group is comprised of more than 500 chapters nationwide, all run by volunteers.

North Seattle is the 17th group to be established in the state. There also is a support group that meets at 7 p.m. the third Monday of each month at Everett United Church of Christ.

Lund is one of two facilitators for the local group, which will meet from 7-9 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of the month at Haller Lake United Methodist Church, 13055 First Ave NE, just north of North 130th Street.

The first meeting is Tuesday, March 28. Meetings are free.

Lund said PFLAG also is involved in advocacy efforts to help support greater equality and inclusion for LGBTQ individuals, both locally and nationally. For example, she said, most chapters participate in annual Gay Pride events, including having contingents that walk in the Pride parades.

“This new satellite meeting of the Seattle chapter is intended to reach an area that is inconveniently distant from any of the others, so that we can provide more complete service coverage for our area,” Lund said.

“There are no other organizations with a national network of support groups for this particular demographic, and no competing groups in the north King/south Snohomish area.”

Each monthly meeting will start with a guest speaker or presentation of a topic related to concerns for the LGBTQ community or parents' and family members' questions or concerns. The second half will be dedicated to group support and discussion for people who have questions or are struggling with a particular issue. Discussions are kept confidential.

Membership applications will be available at Tuesday’s meeting, which will enroll people in both the local chapter and the national organization. However, membership is not required to participate in meetings.

Most of PFLAG’s funding comes from membership dues, grants and charitable donations. PFLAG also participates in larger funding drives, such as Seattle Foundation's GiveBIG annual campaign, which will be taking place this year in May.

 

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