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PFLAG Detroit celebrates 25th anniversary

The Detroit chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, a national non-profit organization comprised of more than 200,000 members, celebrates its 25th anniversary this weekend with a dinner catered by the Ukrainian Cultural Center.
Tony DeOrio, president of PFLAG Detroit, said the evening acknowledges the organization's 25 years of keeping families together after a family member has come out as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, or intersex. "We've been a safe place for parents who don't know where to turn when their son or daughter has come out," said DeOrio. "When parents are hurt or confused and they want to understand their children, they can come to us for support, education and advocacy."
PFLAG Detroit meets every second Sunday of the month in Troy's Lutheran Church of the Master. During each meeting, the organization splits into four different support groups: new parents, parents of transgendered children, LGBT or allied youth and young adults, and a general discussion group.
The organization frequently hosts LGBT and allied speakers at its meetings, seeking to educate parents and friends about the changing cultural and societal issues surrounding gender identity and sexuality. "It's kind of like we've created our own giant family of support, love and acceptance," said DeOrio.
The evening's keynote speaker will be Nancy M. Schlichting, the openly lesbian president and chief executive officer of the Henry Ford Health System. Schlichting will discuss the roles parents and friends can have in supporting LGBT youth during the coming out process. She also will detail her own experiences as an out lesbian in her profession.
The celebration takes place at 6 p.m. on May 14 at the Ukrainian Cultural Center, located at 26601 Ryan Road in Warren. Tickets cost $60 and are available online at http://pflagdetroit.org.



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