Emma first shared their sexual orientation about 6 years ago, I never
imagined how my life would change. We assured them that we loved them
and always would and asked a lot of questions. We were glad they had
trusted us and wanted to support them in every way we could. I was
surprised to realize how attached I was to the future life I had
imagined for my child and family. I discovered it was very hard to let
go of that. Like many parents, my initial reaction included worrying
about my child’s safety and future happiness.
I had a lot of
questions and wanted information and someone to talk to - which led me
to PFLAG. At my first meeting, I heard from other parents about their
kids’ positive experiences and relationships as well as challenges. It
helped so much to be able to share how I was feeling with people who
clearly understood. I’ll never forget the response months later when I
shared prom photos at a monthly meeting. Everyone was so happy and just
really understood what a big deal that was – all the worry and fear and
relief and joy that was behind sending Emma off to an event like that
and having it be wonderful just like it should have been.
I am in a
very different place now in my journey. I have become a better parent
and I better understand what’s really important in my life. I am
continuously learning and being challenged. I am surrounded by kind,
loving, wise friends who are actively trying to make the world better.
Finally, I know that Emma will find love and support from most of the
people in their life.
As of last year, I became the president of
PFLAG Greater St. Louis. I still attend PFLAG meetings as often as I can
because I still get so much from them. They’re a chance to be
reassured and reassure, learn and educate, celebrate and worry, and
ultimately help others. Through the efforts of the new board and
numerous volunteers, the last year has seen a revitalization of our
PFLAG chapter culminating in this year’s Pride events and especially the
Pride St. Louis Grand Parade. Yes, it was my first! It felt amazing and
powerful to demonstrate such VISIBLE support for the LGBTQ+ community,
to celebrate with our loved ones, and to feel the impact of 50 years of
PFLAG’s work. The parade route was filled with folks whose lives have
been helped by PFLAG and those who still need us, providing inspiration
for the work we will do in the coming year. I am so grateful to those
who were there for me when I needed the support PFLAG provides and for
those who currently give their time and energy to support, educate, and
advocate through PFLAG.
Thanks to Emma for setting me on this path!