New PFLAG chapter created for “considerably large gay community” in Guthrie
by Victoria Backle
PFLAG, the organization made up of the parents, friends and families of lesbians and gays, has chapters spread throughout the United States. The volunteer-run organization dedicates its efforts towards education, advocacy support, outreach and training for individuals and schools.
Guthrie, Oklahoma’s chapter of PFLAG is a new addition, as of October 2016, to the organization and a wonderful asset to the state. After months of planning, forming a board and getting paperwork filed to start a new chapter, Guthrie’s PFLAG is ready to impact their community in 2017.
John Borrego is an ally, a founding member of the Guthrie chapter and a retired priest of the Episcopal Church.
“I am an ally,” said Borrego. “I’ve been doing my best with the considerably large gay community in Guthrie. You’d be surprised for such a small town in Oklahoma, but with such a big arts community we do have a large LGBTQ community as well.”
Borrego officiated a wedding last year for a woman named Stefani Fortney and her wife. Fortney expressed concern with the anti-gay bills that were coming before the Oklahoma legislature and asked Borrego if he would be interested in overseeing a chapter of PFLAG in Guthrie.
Borrego added, “It was a very complicated process, but we organized a board, found the documents and got registered as a non-profit.”
Since the chapter is brand new, there are a lot of logistics involved with letting the community know of their existence. The chapter will be hosting several events in the coming months to show support for the LGBTQ community as well as support for their city.
In April, the chapter will be involved with the 89er Parade held in Guthrie. In November, they will be a part of Guthrie’s Big Event. They plan on being active with homecoming parades for local schools. As the chapter grows, they want to offer support groups, for students and teachers alike, to raise awareness about the LGBTQ community and its struggles.
It is crucial that organizations like PFLAG continue to expand and use its volunteers to make a safe and open place for parents, students and LGBTQ people. The hard work and dedication of Guthrie’s chapter will give the city resources and education to further its progression in 2017.
“My hope is that it will remind people that there are many LGBTQ people in our community. Friends, neighbors, people you do business with,” Borrego concluded. “We are in a conservative state with a lot of opposition, but our main goal is to say we’re here and we’re not threatening. We are all part of this city.”
If you would like to get involved with PFLAG in Guthrie, their Facebook page is PFLAG Guthrie and their contact phone number is (405) 365-5020.
Copyright 2017 The Gayly - 2/7/2017 @ 7:49 a.m.