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 inclusion is celebrated and all people are respected, valued, and affirmed.

Our Mission

To support families, allies and people who are LGBTQ+, to educate ourselves and others about issues important to LGBTQ+ communities, 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

Karen Graci,
she/hers
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.

Lisa Dudzk

Lisa Dudzik,
she/hers
Operations Manager

As a proud parent and ally, I know how essential safe spaces and supportive communities are to raising happy, healthy children. Since moving her in 2018, my family has been purposeful in building our support system. The connections we made through PFLAG Charlotte have helped us be better parents to all three of our children. I’m am looking forward to creating more safe spaces and a larger community of allies through PFLAG Charlotte.

Mollie Burkholder

Mollie Burkholder,
they/she
Chapter Coordinator

As a youth development professional and proudly queer person, I have seen firsthand the difference that accepting, supportive families can have in the lives of LGBTQ+ young people. PFLAG is a place that fosters community, offers support, and shares resources – free of judgement – so that families can not only survive but thrive in moments of struggle and joy. As someone who is deeply committed to building a more equitable and inclusive world and working toward liberation for marginalized people, I am proud to be part of an organization working so passionately to ensure the health and wellbeing of our community.

Asia Ruiz Smith

Asia Ruiz,
she/hers
Peer Support Intern

I am very excited to join PFLAG Charlotte for my social work internship. I love the work that we are doing to help build allies in the greater Charlotte area. Through this internship, I’m gaining real world experience working with diverse populations. The skills I’m learning with PFLAG Charlotte will be beneficial to my long-term career in social work. I am eager to be of assistance and be involved in the all changes PFLAG is making!

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.

Claudette Green
she/her/hers

I imagine there are others like me from the Black immigrant Community who needed to deconstruct and reconstruct the belief systems they grew up with. I could not have done that without PFLAG Charlotte. My goal is to reach people across many walks of life to identify common goals, collaborate, educate and empower them and to let them know they are not alone.

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.