Parents, Families And Friends Of Lesbians And Gays (PFLAG) Records

Span Dates: 1972-2009
Bulk Dates: 1981-2009
Volume: 54 cubic ft.


Series I contains files related to P-FLAG's administration, including the Board of Directors, Regional Directors, affiliates and chapters. Includes materials related to development, finances, strategic planning, personnel, and membership, as well as the daily operations of the P-FLAG offices. Information regarding the "organizational grievance" of 1996-1997 is also included. Also, oversize meeting diagrams. Series II includes the correspondence of various P-FLAG officials, as well as some correspondence related to specific P-FLAG projects, for example the Respect All Youth (RAY) Project. Series III contains general subject files including (among others): P-FLAG Directories; the Public Services Announcements Project; the Spouse Task Force and Straight Spouse Support Network; lesbian/gay/bisexual youth issues, including youth suicide; various advocacy projects and lobbying efforts, including the Defense of Marriage and Employment Non-Discrimination Acts, the "Parents, Schools, Values" congressional hearings, materials for the Campaign for Military Services project, and testimony regarding discrimination of gays by the Boy Scouts of America. Series IV contains files pertaining to the AIDS crisis, including correspondence and subject files. Series V pertains to the Family AIDS Support Project, including administrative information, correspondence, and general subject files. Series VI contains P-FLAG publications, including draft and final versions, as well as media advertisements. Also, some annotated reprints distributed by P-FLAG. Some P-FLAG chapter publications are also included, including chapter newsletters. Series VII pertains to Project Open Mind, a media campaign aimed at raising awareness about violence towards gays and lesbians. Includes the POM Campaign Manual, information about POM consultants, advertising (including TV buys), endorsements, fundraising, financial information, strategic planning, the POM Presentation Handbook, and POM training in Atlanta, Houston, St. Paul/Minneapolis, Seattle, and Tulsa. Series VIII includes documentation pertaining to P-FLAG National Conventions: national guidelines, correspondence, registration, organizing/planning of convention, program/workshops, convention weekend materials, and publicity. Also includes materials related to P-FLAG regional conferences, as well as P-FLAG Leadership Training Institutes, which took place in association with the national conventions beginning in 1993. Series IX consists of audiocassettes from P-FLAG National Conventions, as well as other tapes produced by P-FLAG. The numbering system was established by P-FLAG (except for tr7676a, a non-professional recording from the 1993 Convention in New Orleans). Tapes identified as "missing" were not received from P-FLAG. Occassional lacunae in the numbering system are identified: "Tape X does not exist." Series X consists of news clippings, photocopied articles, and press releases about P-FLAG, gays and lesbians, family of gays and lesbians, etc. Series XI consists of photographs of conferences, programs, PFLAGpole publications, scholarships, etc.

Hist/Bio Note

Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (P-FLAG) was born when Jeanne Manford, a New York school teacher, expressed her outrage at her gay son's mistreatment by local police in a published letter to the New York Post in 1972. The public response to her statement, "I have a homosexual son, and I love him," was so great that she held the first support group meeting for parents of gay children in March 1973 at the Metropolitan Duane Methodist Church in Greenwich Village. By 1976, when the Los Angeles chapter was started by Adele Starr, numerous groups had formed around the country. The first national meeting was held in 1979 to coincide with the first March on Washington for Gay Rights, and Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays was officially founded in 1981 with its headquarters in Denver, Colorado and was incorporated in 1982. In 1989, it moved to Washington, D.C. In the 1990s, it added "families" to the organizational name. In 1997, there were fifteen regions, each headed by a regional director, over four hundred affiliate chapters, and 70,000 individual members worldwide. P-FLAG's three-part mission includes support, education, and advocacy. Its peer group meetings help what P-FLAGers call "new" parents through their often negative reactions to and distress about the news that a child is gay, lesbian, or bisexual. P-FLAG also offers support to individuals whose spouses, parents, or other family members have "come out" to them. Parents and other family members also benefit from and provide educational resources which aid in the process of acceptance. Publications, fact sheets, readings lists, cassettes, conferences, seminars, and speakers bureaus form the backbone of the educational arm of P-FLAG's mission. Advocacy often entails applying educational campaigns to points of political leverage including voting blocks and public bodies. For example, many P-FLAG chapters have become highly involved in supporting anti-discrimination initiatives and in combating anti-gay ballot initiatives. P-FLAG chapters also often march in local and national gay pride parades. On the national level, P-FLAG organized a multimedia public education program called "Project Open Mind." P-FLAG's national president Nancy McDonald joined other activists in a meeting with President Bill Clinton to urge him to support programs for gay youth and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act designed to ban anti-gay bias in the workplace. P-FLAG collaborates with the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the Human Rights Campaign to push a common agenda. McDonald credits Executive Director Sandra Gillis with the surge of membership from 1993 to 1997. In this time, the number of affiliate chapters almost doubled.

Finding Aid

An excellent finding aid is available. A keyword search within the finding aid for "religion" or "religious" identifies numerous files related to PFLAG cooperation with religious organizations.


Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections 2B Carl A. Kroch Library Cornell University Ithaca, NY 14853


Ally | PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays)