MACON, Ga. — Four Milledgeville residents are hoping to offer resources for the LGBTQ+ community and those who care for them most.
Rev. Susan Balfour, Melissa Gerrior, Melissa Smith, and Lois Callenden are all working to bring a PFLAG chapter to Milledgeville.
PFLAG stands for Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. The organization aims to offer a support group for those who want to learn more about the LGBTQ+ community. It also advocates for legislation on behalf of the community.
They began working on starting a chapter because they saw a lot of need in Milledgeville for it.
“Well I think that there’s always a need to address -- well first of all, to offer support and love, particularly to children, who may not necessarily find a lot of acceptance when they walk out their front doors first thing in the morning,” said Rev. Balfour. “If your life is going to encounter hostility or rejection, then all the more need for the support, particularly of adults and friends.”
They group is currently planning on being primarily a support group for people, but is also hoping to offer educational resources for people who don’t know much about the LGBTQ+ community.
“Just to make sure that the folks that are here feel seen and supported,” said Gerrior.
She cited a recent Gallup poll that 1 in 6 members of Gen Z are LGBTQ+ and that 5.6% of American adults are LGBTQ+.
“So many people really don’t know what is happening and they need a safe place to ask ‘What’s the difference between gender identity and gender expression?’ They need a place where they can ask those questions, be met where they are, and be educated about how to best support the people in their lives that are confronting new territory,” said Smith.
The group has not yet become an official PFLAG chapter, however, they are looking for community members to be officers in the upcoming organization and to help them plan further.
They recently had their first planning meeting and will be hosting another on Thursday, Sept. 30 at 5:45 p.m. at the Mary Vincent Memorial Library.
They are also planning to table at an event held by the Georgia Pride Alliance at Georgia College. You can find some PFLAG executive board members at the Come Out Cook Out on Oct. 5 at Central City Park in Milledgeville.
To learn more about them you can check them out on Facebook.