History

PFLAG National was founded in 1973 by a parent, Jeanne Manford. Attending a parade with her gay son, Jeanne won the hearts of many gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people who begged her to speak with their parents. Jeanne held the first PFLAG Support Group meeting on March 11, 1973 at a church in Greenwich Village.  For over four decades, PFLAG has provided support to families and allies who are in need.  

PLAG National currently has over 400 chapters and 200,000 supporters crossing multiple generations of American families in major urban centers, small cities, and rural areas in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.  This vast grassroots network is cultivated, resourced, and serviced by PFLAG National, located in Washington, D.C., the National Board of Directors and 13 volunteer Regional Directors.

A Vision For Charlotte

PFLAG Charlotte, founded in 1987, is a chapter of PFLAG National. We support.  We educate. We advocate. We are glad you found us.

PFLAG Charlotte envisions a world where diversity is celebrated and all people are respected, valued, and affirmed inclusive of their sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.

Our Mission

To support families, allies and people who are LGBTQ+, to educate ourselves and others about challenges facing LGBTQ+ individuals, and to advocate in our communities for a more equitable future for all. 

PFLAG Charlotte is a registered 501(c)(3).  Our Tax ID is 58-1760960.

Our Team

Karen Graci,
Executive Director

Showing up at my first PFLAG meeting years ago, I had no idea what to expect. What I found was a group of parents sharing their experiences of supporting, loving, and advocating for their LGBTQ+ loved ones. PFLAG met me and my family where we were, and walked with us every step of the way.   I have experienced firsthand the power of PFLAG. What a gift to be able to do the same for others.

Shannon,
Chapter Coordinator

Parents and caregivers have questions when their loved ones come out. Having served LGBTQIA+ youth and communities in the Charlotte area, I bring to PFLAG Charlotte perspectives of intersectional LGBTQIA+ triumphs and struggles in hopes of supporting families’ journeys in love and empathy. I am here to assist in building bridges and allyship between generations through education, advocacy and peer support. We are all stronger when we work together!

Our Board

Sarah Eyssen
she/her/hers
Board Chair

Why PFLAG?  Alex, Sarah, Emma Kate, Andrew, and Luke–my precious family and me.  A lifesaver and game-changer, PFLAG meets us, always exactly as we are and where we are. 

Sebastian Barr,
he/him/his

As a psychologist and transgender man, I care deeply about the wellbeing of trans people and the LGBTQ+ community at large. Families and loved ones play a critical role in the happiness and health of trans and LGBQ people, and PFLAG Charlotte is an invaluable resource to these families, as well as to other allies in the Charlotte community. I’m proud to play a part in this important work!

Dorie Charnin
she/her/hers

When I was a teen in the 60’s, I committed to causes that stood for equal rights for all. When I was 18, I met a wonderful, creative soul who became my husband and father of my son. My husband was bi sexual. Until LGBTQIA + people are afforded the same rights, opportunities and consideration as every other respected human being, I will not stop advocating. PFLAG Charlotte is an organization I’m proud to serve to help accomplish these goals. 

Suzanne Clements
she/her/hers

At a PFLAG event, I was deeply moved hearing families share their personal stories.  I knew then I wanted to be an ally to ensure there was a place for families to feel supported, embraced and have a safe space to share their truth.

Eileen Conlin
she/her/hers
Treasurer

Why I serve PFLAG. To promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person. To honor the profound interconnection of our community. To express gratitude for the fullness of this life. 

Doug Cooper
he/him/his

When your child says they are transgender, you feel like you are the only family navigating a journey of challenges at home, at school, and at the doctor’s office. But at PFLAG Charlotte, you are not alone! There are other families who are going through the same journey and feel the same way. I serve because I want the next family that takes a flyer, comes to an event, or comes to a support group to know that, like us, they are not alone.

Cindy Deutsch
she/her/hers

I will never forget how I felt when I attended my first PFLAG meeting.  Receiving support from people who were traveling the same journey was life changing!  I want to be here for the next parent who comes to PFLAG in need of the same support I received.  I believe supporting LGBTQ+ parents goes a long way toward helping LGBTQ+ youth.

Melissa Early
she/her/hers

I am a passionate advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion. I wholeheartedly believe in PFLAG Charlotte’s mission and vision, not only for Charlotte but everywhere. As a society, we have come a long way but we also have so much work to do. My why is also very personal; it’s for my family and my children. No one should be made to feel unwanted, less than, or shamed for who they are. I hope for better and believe in better – this work is not only life-changing but life-saving.

Erin Goldstein
she/her/hers

My involvement in the LGBTQIA+ Community in Charlotte has always been important to me. When I became a mom to my son, Jude, it became even more important for me to be an advocate for children and families. PFLAG is an incredible and supportive organization that is at the forefront of support for families. Every person deserves to be treated with dignity and respect and PFLAG gives parents and community members a platform to start, grow and continue that journey.

Amy Johnson
she/her/hers

PFLAG provides the education and advocacy needed for real change. I want to be part of creating a more inclusive world for the LGBTQ+ community. Progress requires that those not directly impacted be directly affected.

Annabelle Pardo
she/her/hers

When we needed it most, PFLAG was our family’s lifeline. To serve in PFLAG is a way to pay it forward and help those who may find themselves in the same place our family was at the beginning of our journey. I want to help as many kids and youth as possible to have a supportive family where they can thrive, develop and be themselves.

Dr. Benjamin Simmons
he/him/his

It is important that everyone feels safe when they seek medical care regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. As a physician, I feel it is important to help educate those who provide healthcare and the community to help ensure culturally competent services. I am so excited to be part of Charlotte PFLAG to help extend the reach of those educated in our community. 

Patrick Tindana
he/him/his

As a proud black gay immigrant, I understand the benefits of inclusive and diverse communities. We cannot thrive as a collective unless every member of our LGBT+ brood has all the tools and resources to also succeed. Thus, I am committed to PFLAG’s mission and am happy to serve on PFLAG’s Board to work towards a more impactful, inclusive and diverse environment for every member of our wonderful community.