Every LGBTQ2S+ person in Toronto finds love and acceptance in their families and communities.
Toronto Pflag promotes the health and well-being of LGBTQ2S+ people by helping to keep families together through Support and Education.
HISTORY OF TORONTO PFLAG
Encouraged by the decriminalization of being gay in 1969, members of the Toronto LGBTQ2S+ community were disappointed and surprised when they continued to experience discrimination and apprehension for kissing in public. (It would not be until 1971, and only after a public outcry culminating in the 13-page “We Demand” manifesto, that Indecency and Gross Indecency would be removed from Canada’s Criminal Code.)
Hostility toward the community was rife. Two moms, June Tattle Goss and Anne Rutledge, independently became known in the community for supporting their gay children. Eventually their sons met and introduced their mothers to each other. Together, Tattle Goss and Rutledge founded Parents of Gays (POG) in the early 1970s. As with many grassroots efforts, the actual date is not known. Initially, meetings were held in private homes, until they were provided meeting space and a phone line by the Metropolitan Community Church (MCC). These moms discovered another mom, Pauline Russell from North Toronto, had founded a group called F-FLAG (Friends and Family of Lesbians and Gays) that was meeting at the Community Centre at 519 Church. They joined together and started calling themselves PFLAG.
In 1984, Mary Jones from Brampton was told by her lesbian daughter (she had a gay son too) about the group in Toronto. Mary joined and things took off due in part to Mary publishing her number in a Chatelaine magazine article about resources for the LGBTQ2S+ community. PFLAG now served Toronto (June, Pauline), Mississauga (Anne) and Brampton (Mary).
Impassioned parents and community members have carried on since then: answered the support line, convened meetings in church basements all over the city, marched in every Pride Parade, and mounted two TTC campaigns.
Today we hold monthly support meetings in three locations across the city, still answer the support line, provide free school presentations for Grades 2 to 12, and do workshops for businesses at a reasonable cost. Donations and the corporate workshops provide the funding for everything else we do. We call ourselves Toronto Pflag, dropping the acronym that was based on of the less exclusive “lesbians and gays” reference.
There are now PFLAG chapters across Ontario and Canada. Similar groups were being formed in the United States at about the same time, and now there are over 400 American chapters. Now there are Pflag organizations in at least 18 countries around the world.