A Big Thank You from the Chapter President

Friends, I want to thank those of you who support Pflag Macon Georgia, which I am the chapter president and a longtime member. Many of you know the chapter has gone through changes as our members moved on and I felt it was necessary to keep the chapter in existence. With that we had issues securing a meeting location and dealt with the lack of interest in the community. We have a secured final meeting location thanks to Michael-Ángel León :) And we meet on the 3rd Monday of every month at the Rainbow Center in Macon. We will consider other (additional) days, times and locations if there is a confirmed interest. And if anyone ever needed to talk over coffee or a meal, that is always possible. Sometimes we need a one on one. Whatever helps. :)

I have to tell you that some suggested to me many times that it was time to close the chapter. They would ask me what am I trying to prove or what is my goal. Well i’m not going into those details anymore with the naysayers and the do-nothings. PFLAG members worldwide know the answers as to why we keep going no matter how small.

It’s hard to keep running with obstacles and apathy BUT PFLAG MACON IS STILL AND WILL ALWAYS BE HERE as long as I am here and able to keep it going and as long as we have and can build our team. And we are!

Every month when closing down was considered, a new person calls or messages us seeking information or a conversation for support. They may not always show up at a meeting but being there when someone calls is just too valuable to give up. So as PFLAG was there for me when I needed it 17 years ago, it will be there for that one, three or more people out there who may need us in the near future. Simply put, even if I am really an unqualified leader of a chapter,I am always learning and working to improve and I promise you that PFLAG IN Macon Georgia isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

As we continue I ask that you consider “liking” our new Facebook page. Some of you have responded to personal invitations from either me or Harry Underwood, our webmaster. THANK YOU :)

Harry Underwood and I are the moderators of the Facebook page and I especially want to thank Harry for his hard work updating our website and new facebook page. Our intention is to transition from the traditional (original) “friend” page to the easier to manage newer format. So if you are a friend of pflag Macon Georgia, we ask that you move on to the newer page as the older profile page will become inactive at the end of the year.

Thank you again for your support of PFLAG in Macon Georgia.

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PFLAG Macon at “National Same-Sex Kiss-in Day”

On August 3, PFLAG Macon Chapter president Edric Floyd was among a group of LGBT rights supporters at the “National Same-Sex Kiss-In Day” held across from Chick-Fil-A on Zebulon Road in Macon. The event was organized by MaconOUT, a Facebook group. Thanks to all who came out in support of LGBT rights in Georgia!

Local station 13 WMAZ was there to cover the event:

If problems exist with the 13 WMAZ video above, here’s the YouTube video:

More video:

More news coverage:

The Telegraph

Photos:

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Middle Georgia needs an inclusive alternative to the Boy Scouts of America

The decision by a 10-member board of the Boy Scouts of America’s continued ban against the membership of gays and atheists is a bad decision that is unnecessary, unjust and unduly discriminatory. This March 2008 issue of PFLAG FYI covers the large and growing number of Americans who have left or disaffiliated from the organization since Dale v. The Boy Scouts of America, a Supreme Court case which ruled that the BSA, as a private organization, can continue to discriminate against LGBT people and people who don’t believe in a deity.

However, for many who are well aware of such awful issues as the BSA’s continued discrimination, the lack of access to information on alternatives for the activities and engagement of the youth in communities across this country as provided by the BSA makes for a difficult situation.

Fortunately, there are alternatives which are thriving and very active.

Navigators USA

One such alternative is Navigators USA, a small but growing scout-like organization set up by Robin Bossert in 2003 after his church, the Unitarian Church of All Souls, voted to disaffiliate from the BSA due to its policies, which run counter to the inclusive principles of the Unitarian Universalist Association, of which All Souls is a member church. At present, there are 23 local chapters that have been set up from New York to California to as close as Tennessee and North Carolina, and two new chapters were launched this year. Navigators USA’s principles are inclusive: LGBT people and atheists can serve as members and as leaders in the organization.

Navigators USA has been endorsed by a growing number of peers, ranging from the Unitarian Universalist Association to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. According to its website, it is easy to establish a chapter in any local area, and one only needs to reference the wishes of 5 younger children who are interested in forming a chapter to get going. Learn more at http://navigatorsusa.ning.com.

Camp Fire USA

Another, more established alternative to the BSA is Camp Fire USA, formerly known as Camp Fire Boys and Girls. Established in 1910 as the first nonsectarian, multicultural organization for girls (later extended to boys), no policy against the membership or leadership of gays or atheists is known to exist. It is primarily known as a camping-focused organization, and is open to kids aged 3-18. The Georgia Council of Camp Fire USA can be reached for more information at campfireusaga.org.

Other organizations

Other organizations which serve as gay-friendly alternatives to the functions of the BSA include:

  • SpiralScouts, which appeal to those persons or families of

    SpiralScouts International

    polytheistic or Neopagan spirituality (started in 1999).

  • Camp Quest, which engages young atheists, humanists, freethinkers and naturalists with summer camps.

A More Inclusive Youth Engagement

Organizations like these are inclusive and empowering to their members and sponsors. They don’t serve any so-called “gay agenda” or “atheist agenda”, but are organizations which succeed where the Boy Scouts fails: engaging and training youth in life skills and development, bringing youth of a wider, more diverse number of backgrounds together as fellow passengers on the road of life, and extending such programs of self-development and community involvement to more Americans, no matter their sexual orientation, gender identity or their religious or non-religious worldviews. We encourage organizations like these in the local area.

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PFLAG Macon needs you! The community needs PFLAG

Ok, I am posting this note hoping that from this point forward we are growing an army! This is a call out to friends both on and off Facebook, gay or straight,  married or single, religious or athiest, the local GSA’s and their friends! It is in response to a very disturbing and ignorant article in our local newspaper written by a homophobic woman Rinda Wilson citing very misinformed reasons against same-sex marriages and how harmful she feels that homosexuality is to children and society.

You can read her letter here.

And a few days later a rebuttal appeared. The rebuttal letter suggests that people like Rinda Wilson should seek out organizations for better information.

Well….. We in the Macon area have a small chapter organization that provides support and advocacy for the LGBT community and their family and friends. You know about PFLAG. I post often about PFLAG on my personal Facebook page and I moderate Facebook pages for the local chapter.  PFLAG is a very valuable support resource and can be an asset to any community the organization can serve.I am the current chapter president for the Macon chapter and honestly I cannot continue running it solo.Our attendance to meeting is painfully low and often non existant. Most of our members have moved on due to retirement and job opportunies in other states. Few have stepped up to replace the lost members or to help continue this chapter and frankly I am not as qualified as I need to be to run this certainly not alone.  It’s hard trying to schedule a meeting, a topic of discussion and securing a meeting location with reliable access. The meeting location has been settled but then its been difficult finding the right time to hold a meeting when everyone can attend. And then there are the many who say they will attend and DON’T.

If you say you will, then please do what you say. We need you. Your community needs you. A lost gay youth somewhere in our neighborhood needs US so they feel like they have every reason to life long and be happy as themselves. I know a lot of you are friendly and concerned and some of you have helped in the community and each of you are invaluable. Many of you  have helped PFLAG in the past. We really need you now!  Letters like Rinda Wilson’s are a strong reminder of the work WE need to do in OUR community.

So can we please join together and work to make our world stronger?  Can you please consider joining to save PFLAG in Macon and being there to serve and support?  We need some of your great minds and experiences, we need to reach out to those when they need support and education and when people seek us for support it would be great if we had a strong network of people and resources to SHOW and teach that it can get better and our lives are just as good if not sometimes better than what most expect.I can’t do this alone and frankly I hate to see PFLAG go away. We have a meeting location secured thanks to the Rainbow Center. Some of you have privately expressed you weren’t comfortable meeting there but you need to get over that. The support we can provide to the community is far more important than the location of where we meet espeically when the place that offered us the FREE unrestricted meeting location is one of our strongest local allies.  Besides, when PFLAG MACON grows into a strong supportive force in our community we can then determine where the best place to meet will be.

What’s more important is what we can do good in our community. AS A TEAM WORKING TOGETHER.

So please consider this carefully. We can start with the simple monthly PFLAG Meeting. Lets plan for great attendance for the  upcoming meeting and use it to plan a strong stragedy for community outreach and support. Lets get to know each other as a team of neighbors in OUR community working to make a difference. After a few months of getting to know each other and working together then lets restore PFLAG Macon Georgia with a committed volunteer board of directors that can continue to provide support and advocacy in the LGBT community in our own backyard so we will always have a strong defense against the likes of a Rinda Wilson.

If you want to get on the team and support PFLAG in Macon, then please find our Facebook page, “like” our Facebook page, follow us on twitter @pflagmaconGA and keep in touch. And when you see the announcement of our upcoming meeting time, set your DVR for whatver is on TV that night and come meet with us. Those two hours are the beginning of someone’s lifetime we can save. Even if its just one. I was once one who was saved because a fine group of people organized to create a local PFLAG chapter and I was lucky enough to find them and learn and live.

Lets get busy. We have a lot to do. :)

Edric Floyd
PFLAG Macon Georgia
478-345-1186 (leave message)

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A Pride to Remember

Happy Birthday, Dr. Turing.

Yesterday, the brilliant man who helped his country win the war against the Nazis and set a standard for modern computing, only to be tortured, stripped of his livelihood and resort to killing himself because of his homosexuality, was born 100 years prior.

On Wednesday, the riots which sparked the modern gay rights movement around the world took place in New York City 43 years prior.

This is a month to celebrate how we, as a society, have overcome and continue to overcome deadly bigotry and bad laws.

One must not have to suffer indignities or die for one’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Never.

We at PFLAG Macon recognize Dr. Alan Turing‘s life, work and tragic end during this Pride Month. We also know better about how we can measure the civility of a society by how that society treats its inhabitants on the basis of such characteristics. We can shape our future by changing our present.

And we do this by talking. Over the Internet. Using the computers which derive their heritage from the work of people like Dr. Turing.

We also change our present by talking and advocating for greater affirmation of the lives and commitments of LGBT people in institutions of power. Starting at home, at church, in the workplace or in the street.

And on the streets of places like Chicago today, the conversation on the street continues in the form of Pride parades where the anniversary of the Stonewall riots are celebrated.

Of course, the local chapters of PFLAG will be present at all of them.

To quote Joe Jervis‘ paraphrasing of a Jewish in-joke about holidays:

“They wish we were invisible.

We’re not.

Let’s dance.”

To Middle Georgians of all sexual orientations and gender identities, we at PFLAG Macon wish you a Happy Pride.

EDIT: And a very special anniversary to all New Yorkers! Today is the 1-year anniversary of marriage equality becoming law in New York. Relive the moment in this video.

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[VIDEO] 2008 Macon Protest against California Proposition 8

This rally was one of many held nationwide in several cities on November 15, 2008 to protest against California’s Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in that state. This rally was held at Rosa Parks Square in Macon.

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[VIDEO] 1999 Macon Pride march

Video of the June 19, 1999 Macon Pride march:

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[VIDEO] 2010 Deonna Sage – Derrick Martin Equality Rally, Macon

The following is a series of videos and photos from the April 9, 2010 Rally for Equality held at Rosa Parks Square in downtown Macon to support Derrick Martin, his boyfriend Richard Goodman, and local performer Adam Braswell (AKA “Deonna … Continue reading

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Local History: Affirming and Welcoming Congregations

Cross-posted from the Macon State College Gay-Straight Alliance:

The presence of Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the Heart of Georgia is best ascertained by learning the history of activities, organizations and events which heavily involved LGBT individuals in this area. In a state which heavily leans to evangelical Christian denominations in much of its demographic, the role of religion in the lives of LGBT individuals in this area cannot be underestimated. However, while Georgia’s religious leanings are debatably related to the present and past prohibitions or negligences of LGBT rights in the state government, LGBT people benefit or may benefit from a number of LGBT-welcoming religious or ethical establishments in the area in recent history. Continue reading

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PFLAG Macon Chapter updates for 2012

Hello everyone! Just to update directly that PFLAG meetings have moved to the 4th Sunday afternoons from 3-5 at Christ Episcopal Church. This is because of easier access to the church building and other concerns that were expressed about the Monday meeting time.

However, 3rd Mondays DO work for some and considering the recent church access issues that moved our meetings to the coffeehouse I would like to continue 3rd Mondays as an informal additional option for PFLAG. So starting next month, PFLAG Macon will meet twice. It will be either Jittery Joes or The Joshua Cup. I am going to speak to management to ensure that its ok for us to regularly meet to avoid conflicts with others who may schedule gatherings.

Also working out plans to have a monthly “family Night” potluck hopefully to start in February. This could be on a Friday night or whatever night of the groups choosing. This is sort of a return of the old Macon Pride Friday gatherings. Not an official PFLAG Meeting but an opportunity for a social gathering in an encouraging safe space.

Please note that there will be NO MEETING TONIGHT (January 16th) as I am unable to meet today and considering it is a holiday and many will be otherwise busy and turning in early for their return to work and school tomorrow. I will update the website and other online listings this evening to reflect the new meeting schedule.

I hope you can make it to the next PFLAG meeting this Sunday, January 22nd. On the agenda I am planning a video presentation that is a great introduction to PFLAG professionally produced by the San Diego Chapter (about 30 minutes) followed by conversation. Refreshments will be available and we will also discuss considerations to establish a new board of directors which we need to establish soon. More details on that later as I am working with PFLAG itself on those concerns.

Thanks for your support of PFLAG. If you cannot make it, please pass on the information and encourage others to attend.

Edric Floyd
PFLAG Macon Georgia.

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