In the spring of 1982, my younger brother Gerry came out of the closet to those of us in our family who had not already figured out that he was gay.
At that time, he told me that it would be better if we did not allow knowledge of his sexual orientation to become public because he feared for his and our safety.
While progress has been made in accepting LGBTQQ2SA individuals in some parts of the world, his fears are still valid in too many parts of the world. Ignorance and bigotry still lead to family shame, honour killings, abuse and familial expulsion for people who come out as other than heterosexual.
Even here in Canada, youth who risk being open about being LGBTQQ2SA may face violence in their family and community and even expulsion from their family home. PFLAG is Canada’s only national organization that offers support to all individuals facing problems because of their expression of gender identity or sexual orientation, and to their families and friends.
For further information about PFLAG Canada, see the national website, or call the contact person for the Penticton Chapter, Ron Smuin, at 250-493-5530.