Students at I.S. 289 have one question after another for PFLAG mom, Johanna Antar

The 2013-2014 school year in New York City wraps up on June 26, and this year PFLAG NYC was busy bringing the Safe Schools Program into schools right up to the end. Our last school engagement of the year was to the 7th Grade at I.S. 289 in Manhattan. Talk about going out with a bang: we had our biggest single team for the year at that one event — 13 people. And the event capped off the most successful year yet for the Safe Schools Program: we made 30 school visits and reached over 4,600 students.

The Safe Schools Program is now PFLAG NYC’s most far-reaching activity, sending teams of speakers into classrooms all around the city to teach respect and create safe learning environments for all students, including those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning (LGBTQ).

The Safe Schools speakers are all volunteers — either parents, other relatives or straight allies, as well as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people of all ages. These volunteers share with students their personal stories about learning to accept themselves or their child for who they are. The school visits create a safe space for students to ask questions, and hear a perspective many of them were never introduced to. Read more »

On Saturday, April 26, 171st Street between 33rd and 35th Avenues in Flushing, Queens, will be named “Jeanne, Jules, Morty Manford PFLAG Way” in honor of PFLAG and its founding family. All PFLAG supporters are invited to a naming ceremony at 12:30 p.m. co-sponsored by City Council Members Daniel Dromm and Paul Vallone.

The former Manford family home
The former Manford family home on 171st Street, Flushing (Photo by David W. Dunlap/The New York Times)

PFLAG NYC is deeply honored that the PFLAG movement is being recognized in the street name along with Jeanne, Jules and Morty Manford. The Manford family home was a safe space and shelter for many LGBT young people for 30 years, so it is a fitting tribute that the block on which it stands will be named for the family. The New York Times collected moving recollections about the home last year in an article, “How a Queens Home Became a Cradle of the Gay Rights Movement.”

The idea for PFLAG began in 1972 when Jeanne Manford marched with her son, Morty, in New York’s Christopher Street Liberation Day March, the precursor to today’s LGBT Pride March. She became the first parent to publicly march in support of a gay child. Read more »

Chancellor Fariña being sworn in at an education committee hearing. (Photo by William Alatriste)

Last month, the new chairman of the City Council’s Education Committee, Council Member Daniel Dromm, held a hearing on the treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students, families and staff in New York City schools. We commend Council Member Dromm for bringing attention to this important issue so early in the new Council’s term. As a proud supporter of PFLAG, co-founder of PFLAG Queens, and the first New York City public school teacher to come out publicly as gay, Council Member Dromm knows deeply and personally how this issue touches our families and loved ones.

In follow-up to the Education Committee hearing, Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña took the impressive step of highlighting the treatment of LGBT youth and adults in the Principals’ Weekly bulletin. She wrote a letter that has been widely distributed in the schools, and she highlighted the new policy on transgender youth and the Respect for All Program, which PFLAG NYC has been part of from its inception. The full text of the letter is below. Read more »

Event Sponsors

The & Pacific Islander LGBT People and Their Families">API Project of PFLAG NYC joins with other community organizations to host “Asian-American Parents Who Love Their Queer Kids,” a book reading and discussion on Wednesday, April 9.

Author & activist Marsha Aizumi returns to NYC to join other Asian American parents who will share their thoughts about moving from fear, shame and sadness to unconditionally loving their queer children. Aizumi, author of the recently published Two Spirits, One Heart will do a short book reading and talk about the lessons she has learned through her journey with her transgender son.

A small group discussion will follow where individuals will have a chance to ask questions, share experiences, or just sit and listen to the thoughts and concerns of others. It is our hope that participants will walk away with greater understanding, increased awareness and deeper commitment to being courageous, compassionate and connected to those they love. Read more »