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Advocacy group starting up for parents, family, friends of homosexuals

FARMINGTON — A group of people are starting up a PFLAG or Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays chapter in St. Francois County.

PFLAG is a national support, education and advocacy organization for gay and lesbian individuals, their family, friends, and allies.

“It is so needed down here,” said Judy Dollard, one of the people trying to get PFLAG organized here.

“There are so many young people down here that don’t know where to go and parents don’t know what to do,” she said.

The initial planning meeting for PFLAG will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Presbyterian Church, located at 403 W. Columbia in Farmington.

Organizers hope family members, friends, as well as educators and social workers, will attend the meeting. At least three area pastors have said they will attend the meeting. The director of the St. Louis chapter will also attend.

Dollard said the PFLAG organization will be a separate organization from the other group she founded, Mark’s Place, an HIV/AIDS support and education group.

PFLAG was founded in 1973 and is headquartered in Washington D.C. With 250,000 members and supporters in more than 500 communities in the country and abroad, it is the largest grassroots-based family organization of its kind.

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Chapters provide help lines and support group meetings. It also advocates for equal rights for gays and lesbians and lobbies for fairness and acceptance.

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