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PARENT GROUPS UNITE: THE BIRTH OF A UNITED PFLAG GROUP

In June 1978, Annella Harrison came out of the closet as the mother of a gay child. For years, homosexuality had been a constant problem for the career nurse and counselor. The anguish, grief and disappointment had finally become too unbearable to handle alone. She made her decision and told all who would listen. She even went to the Houston City Council during the 1978 Gay Pride Week to announce, "I am the parent of a gay child." This was the beginning of a Houston group similar to others springing up around the country, promoting unity among families, friends and LGBT people who are in the process of coming out.

Following the 1979 National March for Gay and Lesbian Rights, representatives from these groups met for the first time in Washington, DC. It was there that Annella met with 98 other parents. They decided to begin to contact each other and take the name Parents FLAG. She came back and led the first Houston group.

The name of PFLAG has changed over the years from POG (Parents of Gays) to Parents FLAG and then became officially known as PFLAG in 1993. In 1981, members decided to launch a national organization with headquarters in Los Angeles.

By 1980, PFLAG, then known as Parents FLAG, began to distribute information to educational institutions and communities of faith nationwide, establishing itself as a source of information for the general public. When "Dear Abby" mentioned PFLAG in one of her advice columns, PFLAG national received more than 7,000 letters requesting information. In 1981, members decided to launch a national organization. The first PFLAG office was established in Los Angeles under founding president Adele Starr.

Annella Harrison was an Honorary Grand Marshal of the Houston Pride Parade in 1995.


Sources: www.pflag.org
Houston Post article: 1978, Ed Jahn, reporter
Link for Houston PFLAG info at HoustonLGBTHistory.org