Fayetteville LGBTQ organization at risk of disbanding
The Fayetteville chapter of a national LGBTQ advocacy group risks disbanding if it doesn’t find new members for its board of directors.
The national organization PFLAG was founded in 1973. The Fayetteville chapter was started in 2017 by local parents of LGBTQ children, according to chapter president Devra Thomas.
The board of directors is composed of the president, the secretary and the treasurer. Thomas said the group wants to fill the positions by the end of May so the organization can participate in the Fayetteville Pride Festival.
“I hope there will be people who say, ‘Oh my God, this is the opportunity I was looking for,'” Thomas said. “But the real opposite of that is that basically if we don’t find (board members) by the end of May, we’re going to have to shut down because there’s no one to lead the organization.”
Thomas said board positions are usually held for two years, but the COVID-19 pandemic has forced current members to stay on for another year.
While being Chapter President since 2019 was great for Thomas, she said she wished she could have done more during her tenure.
“I wish we hadn’t had the pandemic and I could have helped the community more and been more visible and involved with more schools and more parents,” she said.
Thomas, who is leaving the area, said she would still like to be involved with the organization but it is time for a “new life”.
“It’s been three years. I feel like it’s time for a change, time for someone else to come and breathe new life into activities, networking and partners,” she said .
A big part of PFLAG is helping parents of LGBTQ youth support their children after they come out.
“PFLAG plays a vital role in our community as a resource and support network for LGBTQ people and their families,” said Katrinna Marsden, President of Fayetteville pride. “At Fayetteville Pride, we often get questions from parents about how to support their children who have come out, or hear stories from the LGBTQ community about the challenges of communicating openly with their families.”
According to Marsden, PFLAG helps create a bridge of education, understanding, and acceptance.
According to Thomas, PFLAG also directs parents to other community resources, such as school counselors or Fayetteville Pride.
Thomas said the main goal of PFLAG is to show parents that they are not alone and that there are others going through the same things.
“We believe that we are the only ones who have children who have already done what they are doing in the history of the world,” she said. “It’s so not the case. Even within our own community, there are other children and other families going through the same thing.”
Thomas said the ideal candidate for the board is a local member of the LGBTQ community, a parent of LGBTQ youth, or someone who has experience working with a nonprofit.
She said the posts didn’t take long.
“There are months when there are more hours, but there are months when there is just a meeting and a few emails. It can be as much as someone feels called to it. do,” she said. “I think like any nonprofit, when you’re on the front lines working with people, there’s definitely a sense of pride, joy, one of those feel-good feelings about to make a difference in people’s lives.”
For more information or to apply for one of the positions, email the organization at [email protected] Applicants should include information about their background and community involvement.
Editor Akira Kyles can be reached at [email protected]