PFLAG introduces lecture seriesWritten by Matt Liasse | | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Toledo Chapter of PFLAG (Parents, Families, & Friends of Lesbians and Gays) is looking to increase its membership by moving meetings to a new location.
Because attendance tapered off, the group will kick off a monthly lecture series on March 28 to spark interest. The group will meet at Park Church, 1456 Harvard Blvd. The first lecture, “Bullying: Some Facts and What You Can Do,” presented by Susan Telljohann and Sherry Tripepi, is 7 p.m. March 28.
“[Bullying is] a huge problem,” said Janis Sankowski, president of the Toledo chapter. “Bullying happens for many reasons; it doesn’t just happen because you’re gay. And so the information that will come from that lecture is important to anyone who has a relationship with children, teens or anyone.”
April’s lecture, “Gender Identity in Youth,” will tackle the topic of transgender youth and how to support them. Speaker Antonia Caretto has worked with transgendered youth and specializes in the areas she will speak about. This lecture on gender identity will be at 7 p.m. April 25.
“In this area, [Caretto] probably has the most knowledge in dealing with transgender youth,” Sankowski said.
The final lecture on May 23 will be led by the Rev. Ed Heilman of Park Church. Heilman will talk about the religious rejection often faced by the LGBT community.
“Sometimes we question, ‘Should we meet in churches?’ It’s such a big issue,” Sankowski said. “That is a sore area for a lot of people in the LGBT community because they have been shunned by their churches and turned away. So it’s an important topic because [for some people] not only do they lose their families, they also might lose their faith.”
Sankowski said it is important to hear Heilman address the issue.
The lectures are open to the public and perfect for anyone involved in the LGBTQ community, Sankowski said. She added the biggest goals of the lectures are to educate and provide a safe place for conversation.
The Toledo Chapter has been in existence since February 2011, with meetings the fourth Thursday of every month. Nationally, PFLAG is a nonprofit organization with more than 200,000 members. It was founded in 1972.