Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Open Arms of Support in Birmingham

Rebbecca Odom wrote a wonderful letter to the editor that was featured in The Birmingham News in Birmingham, Alabama. Click here to visit the Birmingham PFLAG chapter's web page, and click here to read Rebbecca's letter...

Lifetime recently aired the movie Prayers for Bobby. It is a heart-wrenching account of a mother's struggle with an undeniable, agonizing truth: Her child's untimely death was a direct result of her misguided rejection. The story, based on real-life events, follows Mary Griffith from her refusal to accept that her teenage son is gay, through the anguished grief she suffers at his suicide and her struggles to obtain absolution for her intolerant actions.

Mary finds that forgiveness in an unlikely place, the welcoming arms of a community she had once so venomously despised. It's a harrowing yet inspirational tale of ignorance succumbing to knowledge, acceptance replacing intolerance and understanding opening the door to love.

The film highlights a reality many families face. When a loved one comes out as gay, lesbian, bisexual and/or transgendered, it can have a devastating impact on the family. Often, family members feel afraid, lost and alone. But, that's rarely true.

Thousands have united across the nation and around the world to form PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) chapters. This nonprofit organization was founded by another mother, Jeanne Manford, seeking to provide families in crisis peer-to-peer support and education. She recognized the need to bring families together with others who have shared similar experiences, emotions and reactions.

To date, there are five PFLAG chapters in Alabama offering monthly support meetings. One is in Birmingham.

Rebbecca Odom

No comments: