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PFLAG at 50: Cape chapter president reflects

PFLAG, the country's first organization to advocate for LGBTQ+ equality, turns 50 this month.

The group's first support meeting took place in 1973. But PFLAG's origins stem from the year before, when teacher Jeanne Manfordmarched with her gay son, Morty, on Christopher Street Liberation Day in New York. Morty had been at the Stonewall Inn, in 1969, when bar patrons resisted a violent police raid. The event was a flashpoint in the LGBTQ+ movement, and Manford's activism led to the formation of PFLAG, which first met in a church basement.

The former name—Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays—was changed to PFLAG in 2014 to include bisexual and transgender people.

Joe Lima came out as gay to his college roommate in the 1980s.

"To get used to the idea of saying 'I am a gay man' really made it easy for me to find my way and feel comfortable in my skin, and to start moving forward with the whole coming-out experience with other friends and eventually family," said Lima, president of PFLAG Cape Cod.

Coming out "is a very liberating experience but it's an ongoing experience," he said. "It's not just a one-and-done process."

PFLAG Cape Cod has awarded $75,000 in student scholarships to students who perform advocacy work. One scholarship honors the late Anne Toran, a Falmouth resident and an advocate for LGBTQ+ equality, who named PFLAG Cape Cod her beneficiary.

The Supreme Court in 2015 legalized marriage equality across the country.

"My husband and I have in some ways taken for granted that marriage equality is sealed into law," Lima said. "But there's no guarantee, as we all saw with last year's ruling on Roe v. Wade. A lot of people are still not entirely convinced that marriage equality will be permanent."

Register here to attend Wednesday's Zoom film screening ahead of Transgender Day of Visibility.

Patrick Flanary is a dad, journalist, and host of Morning Edition.