Welcome to the Chehalis-Centralia chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG).
PFLAG is a volunteer organization with locations throughout the USA and other parts of the world. We promote the health and well-being of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender (GLBT) and questioning persons, their families and friends.
If you are just starting to learn about gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people (or if you are one) you probably have many questions. We can help answer your questions, or help you find other resources that will provide you with accurate information.
You are not alone. PFLAG Chehalis-Centralia hosts monthly peer support meetings as a way for GLBT persons and their friends, and family to connect and participate in confidential discussions to share their experiences.
We may also occasionally host guest speakers and show films related to GLBT issues. Attendance at our meetings does not indicate any particular sexual orientation.
Everything said at meetings - as well as the identities of attendees - is confidential.
We invite you to attend our peer support meetings and encourage you to check out resource pages.
Coming out is the process through which a person accepts their sexual orientation, or gender identity, as part of their overall identity. ‘Coming out’ generally refers to sharing your identity with others.
This process generally follows the following stages:
A person develops an awareness of attraction to members of the same sex. This may involve confusion, some attempt at denial and repression of feelings, anxiety, trying to "pass" as straight. In some cases a person may seek counseling, and often religious commitment to "overcome" sexuality.
Eventually, when attempts to repress or change their orientation fail, acknowledgment and acceptance of one's sexual orientation develops. There may be some grief over "the fall from paradise" and feelings of loss of a traditional heterosexual life. Gay and lesbian people may be fairly closeted at this point. However, most seek out information about being gay.
2. Disclosure to others.
Sharing one's sexual orientation with a close friend or trusted family member is the first step in this stage. Rejection may cause a return to the Self-Recognition stage, but positive acceptance can lead to better feelings of self-esteem. Disclosure is often a slow process.
Some gays and lesbians come out in "gentle" ways, admitting they are gay if asked but not volunteering it. Others do it in "loud" ways, proclaiming their sexuality to others to end the invisibility of being gay. As this stage progresses, a self-image of what it means to be gay develops, and the individual studies stereotypes, incorporates some information about gays while rejecting other information.
3. Socialization with other GLBT persons.
Socializing with other gays and lesbians provides the experience that the person is not alone in the world, and there are other people like him or her. A positive sense of self, indeed pride develops, and is strengthened by acceptance, validation, and support. Contact with positive gay or lesbian role models can play a big role in this stage.
4. Positive Self-Identification and acceptance.
This stage entails feeling good about oneself, seeking out positive relationships with other gays or lesbians, and feeling satisfied and fulfilled. Acceptance entails an openness and non-defensiveness about one's sexual orientation.
Still have questions about PFLAG Chehalis-Centralia? The frequently asked questions (FAQ) button below may have your answer.
Need Help Now?
For immediate help available 24/7 call the Trevor Project now:
The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth ages 13-24. More resources...
Call National Suicide Prevention Hotline now:
1-800-273-8255 for English
1-800-628-9454 for Spanish
The National Suidice Prevention Hotline is available 24/7 for people of all ages any sexual orientation. More resources...
Not to be Cured but Understood
Homosexuality is not a disease, or a disorder, therefore it is not something that can, or should, be "cured." Sexual orientation is commonly classified as heterosexual, bisexual or homosexual. There is no evidence that people choose to be homosexual, bisexual or heterosexual. Neither is there evidence that "poor parenting" causes children to change sexual orientation, nor does "proper parenting" affect sexual orientation.
If you are a trusted friend, or family member, of someone who recently ‘came out’ to you as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender (GLBT) – congratulations. You should feel honored to have the type of relationship where you are so valued that they don't want to keep secrets from you.
They are inviting you in, instead of shutting you out of their life. They are reaching out to you because you matter to them.
It takes a lot of courage to come out. They are making themselves vulnerable and risking rejection and ridicule. They are still, very much, the same person you always knew; you just know them a little bit better now than you did before they came out to you.
Such honest relationships are special and often grow stronger over time with acceptance. However, we also realize acceptance is not always easy - particularly in the short-term. It may involve some hard discussions and reevaluating long held values and beliefs. Talking with peers who have been through this is often helpful – that is what our peer-to-peer support meetings are about. PFLAG wants to help you become the supportive friend, or family member, you want to be.