Welcome to PFLAG of Bergen County
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Keeping Families Together
Whether it is by e-mail, phone, or in-person at a PFLAG meeting, listening to and talking to others who have experienced the feelings you are encountering can be both cathartic and comforting.
PFLAG envisions a world where diversity is celebrated and all people are respected, valued, and affirmed inclusive of their sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.
By meeting people where they are and collaborating with others, PFLAG realizes its vision through:
- Support for families, allies and people who are LGBTQ
- Education for ourselves and others about the unique issues and challenges facing people who are LGBTQ
- Advocacy in our communities to change attitudes and create policies and laws that achieve full equality for people who are LGBTQ
Our Strategic Goals
One. Build the capacity of our organization at every level so that we may have all the resources, in the form of information, people and funding, necessary to move forward in our work with the greatest possible effect.
Two. Create a world in which our young people may grow up and be educated with freedom from fear of violence, bullying and other forms of discrimination, regardless of their real or perceived gender identity or sexual orientation or that of their families.
Three. Make our vision and our message accessible to the broadest range of ethnic and cultural communities, ending the isolation of families with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender family members within those communities.
Four. Work toward full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons within their chosen communities of faith.
Five. Create a society in which all LGBT persons may openly and safely pursue the career path of their choice, and may be valued and encouraged to grow to their full potential in the workplace.
Six. Create a society in which all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons may enjoy, in every aspect of their lives, full civil and legal equality and may participate fully in all the rights, privileges and obligations of full citizenship in this country.
We welcome the participation and support of all who share in our Vision and Mission and who hope to realize our goals.
Gay people are everywhere. They/we come from families from all corners of the earth,
from every culture, religious, ethnic group and every occupation. It is estimated that about 10% of the population is homosexual; thus, about one in four families includes a gay person. Gay people are healthy–both the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association have recognized that homosexuality is not a mental or emotional disorder.
Gay people share the same interest in sexual activity as heterosexual persons, neither more nor less. But, as with everyone else, sex is only one aspect of their lives. Gay people cannot be stereotyped any more than non-gay people. Gay people establish stable, loving, long-lasting relationships, work for a living, shop, watch TV, vote and pay taxes. Aside from the prejudice and bigotry they sometimes encounter, most gay people live happy and fulfilling lives.
Gay people are naturally homosexual. Homosexuality is not chosen, like selecting clothes or a line of work. No one knows exactly how sexual orientation is determined. In discussions with thousands of families with gay children, we have found that: a gay child is most often aware of his/her sexual orientation at a very early age. None of the children was influenced or taught to be gay by another person. Being gay is not just a stage youngsters go through. All attempts to change a child’s sexual orientation fail.
What is sexual orientation?
Sexual orientation is one of the four components of sexuality. It is distinguished by an enduring emotional, romantic, sexual or affection attraction to individuals of a particular gender. The three other components of sexuality are biological sex, gender identity (the psychological sense of being male or female) and social sex role (adherence to cultural norms for feminine and masculine behavior).
Three sexual orientations are commonly recognized.
- Homosexual = attraction to individuals of one’s own gender,
- Heterosexual = attraction to individuals of the opposite gender,
- Bisexual = attractions to members of either gender.
Persons with a homosexual orientation are sometimes referred to as gay (both men and women) or as lesbian (women only). Sexual orientation is different from sexual behavior because it refers to feelings and self-concept. Persons may or may not express their sexual orientation in their behaviors.
What causes a person to have a particular sexual orientation?
How a particular sexual orientation develops in any individual is not well understood. Various theories have proposed differing sources of sexual orientation, including genetic or inborn hormonal factors and life experiences during early childhood. However, many scientists share the view that sexual orientation is shaped for most people at an early age through complex interactions of biological, psychological and social factors.
Is sexual orientation a choice?
No. No. No. Sexual orientation emerges for most people in early adolescence without any prior sexual experience. And some people report trying very hard over many years to change their sexual orientation from homosexual to heterosexual with no success. For these reasons, psychologists do not consider sexual orientation for most people to be a conscious choice that can be voluntarily changed.
Why do some gay men and lesbians tell people about their sexual orientation?
Because sharing that aspect of themselves with others is important to their mental health. In fact, the process of identity development for lesbians and gay men, usually called “coming out” has been found to be strongly related to psychological adjustment–the more positive the gay male or lesbian identify, the better one’s mental health and the higher one’s self esteem.
For further information:
American Psychological Association
750 First Street, NE
Washington, D.C., 20002-4242
Phone: 202-336-5700 http://www.apa.org
Also visit PFLAG National
Hate Crimes Prevention
Hate crimes against our LGBT loved ones are tragically common today. In fact, according to the most recent FBI data available, there were 5,928 hate crimes in the United States in 2013 — and a total of almost 7,242 victims. And, sadly, many of these attacks are against our LGBT loved ones. Data shows that 20.8% of all hate crime victims were targeted based on their sexual orientation. There are tragic stories of many LGBT people, both locally and nationally, who have experienced extreme physical violence and even murder. Despite the increased acceptance and movement toward achieving full equality for LGBT individuals, hate crimes are still an unfortunate reality for too many people.
That’s why PFLAG National has created the Hate Crimes Prevention Guide & Toolkit, a resource informed by a wide variety of coalition partners along with the U.S. Department of Justice, for PFLAG members and supporters to learn what Hate Crimes are, and how to successfully work with local law enforcement leaders and other key community members to prevent, report, and respond to them.
Passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act
After more than a decade of lobbying, there was an overwhelming sense of relief when the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act was signed into law on October 28, 2009. The bill adds disability, gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation to existing hate crimes laws passed nearly 40 years ago. The new law also allows for some federal investigation and prosecution when local authorities are unwilling or unable to act. In addition, it encourages state and federal law enforcement officials to work together to more effectively address violent hate crimes. The new law is truly historic, as it is the first federal law to include protections for both sexual orientation and gender identity.
Department of Justice
Since the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act has became law, PFLAG continues to work with other national organizations and local chapters to help train federal and state investigators and prosecutors about the particulars of the law, along with providing guidance on how to access new resources available through the Department of Justice to address local hate crimes if a local law enforcement agency is unwilling or unable to investigate.
The new law authorizes the Department of Justice to investigate and prosecute certain bias-motivated crimes. The Department of Justice is the institution that will now regulate and enforce this law. Prior to the 2009 passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, federal law did not enable federal authorities to prosecute hate crimes motivated because of a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity at all.
Hate Crimes Prevention
Reported anti-LGBT violence continues to escalate — along with hate crimes based on race, religion, gender, national origin, and other real or perceived identities. Many of us live every day knowing such brutality could strike our child, loved one or friend. PFLAG has a critical role to play in helping prevent hate crimes in our communities, and chapters across the country are playing this role in many different ways. PFLAG National offers trainings designed to provide basic information and definitions for bias-motivated crimes; review the causes of hate violence; detail hate crime prevention initiatives at the national, state and local levels; and review model hate crime prevention programs for PFLAG chapters to adapt nationwide To learn more about these trainings, please contact your Field Manager today.
Educate Your Law Enforcement Officials
If you are interested in educating your state and local law enforcement officials about the new law, please be sure tocontact your Field Manager.
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