Advancing Equality Through Support, Education and Advocacy
Building on a Foundation of Loving Families
Letter From the President:

Finally...2021 has arrived. So much of 2020 was consumed by us holding our breaths, waiting for the other shoe to drop (how many shoes can one person have???). With the arrival of 2021, many of us are beginning to take a few hesitant breaths. One reason for this renewed hope for me is the understanding that our soon to be new administration ran on what Alphonso David, the president of the Human Rights Campaign, called "our nation's most pro-equality ticket in history." As a November 14, 2020 article from CNN Politics states, " Biden and Harris' win in the 2020 election couldn't have arrived at a better time for LGBTQ Americans and those who care about equality. It's no secret that under President Donald Trump, anti-LGBTQ ugliness has become a newly visible norm." Only time will tell how the Biden- Harris administration's Plan to Advance LGBTQ+ Equality in America and Around the World will play out, but I know that PFLAG will work as hard as possible to ensure new affirming policies for all marginalized people, including the Equality Act become realities.

In a reflection of this hope, we have asked Reverend Todd Atkins-Whitley of the Danville Congregational Church UCC to speak with us at our January meeting. Reverend Atkins-Whitley is an activist, pastor, father, grandfather, and a survivor of conversion therapy. Raised from childhood within an ultra-conservative faith tradition in Texas, Todd always knew he was different but lacked the language, education, and resources to understand it. As a result, he suppressed his sexuality for decades. Following six painful years of religious-based conversion therapy, Todd claimed his sexuality and came out in 2006. This process involved leaving the only church he had ever known but eventually led him to the world’s largest LGBTQ-and-beyond church in 2012, ultimately helping him reconcile his faith and his sexuality, and putting him on the path toward faith-rooted activism and ministry.
 
Todd serves Danville Congregational Church UCC as its associate pastor where he works primarily with children, youth, and their families while also supporting the worship life of the congregation. Todd and his husband Miguel live in Oakland and have four grown sons who have families of their own, responsible for the family’s four grandsons. Todd's journey is both inspiring and educational in a time when we need both. Please join us in January to learn from Todd's story.
 
Wishing you and your families a 2021 filled with hope, love, acceptance, and peace.

Lisa Levy
pronouns: she/her/hers
President PFLAG Danville-San Ramon Valley

OPEN BOARD POSITIONS:
We have a few Board positions open, some brand new to the chapter.
  • Secretary
  • Vice President (new position)
  • Membership Chair
  • Marketing and Events Chair (new position)
If you are interested or know anyone who is (they do not have to be a current PFLAG member), please let us know at srvpflag@gmail.com.
Supporting One Another
Reverend Todd Atkins-Whitley and his family
  • Please join us at our monthly support meetings which are held on the 3rd Monday of EVERY month from 7-9 PM - currently being held on ZOOM. This month we will be joined by Reverend Todd Atkins-Whitley of Danville Congregational Church UCC to discuss his story.

  • If you are 18 and older join our PFLAG Zoom Social every Monday from 8-9ish PM on Zoom. Contact us at srvpflag@gmail.com for these invitation only events.

  • NEW!: If you have a teenager who is looking for a social opportunity with other LGBTQ+ teens, our PFLAG Highschool Zoom socials are held on the first Sunday evening of each month from 7:00-8:00 PM, please contact us at srvpflag@gmail.com for these invitation only events.

  • Q Chat Space, a collaboration between Center Link, PFLAG, and Planned Parenthood, provides online live discussion groups for LGBTQ+ teens ages 13-19. These conversations facilitated by experienced staff who work at LGBTQ+ centers around the country are now being offered in Spanish. For more information click HERE
Student Scholarship Opportunity
The eQuality Scholarship Collaborative is pleased to announce it's 32nd annual scholarship program for graduating high school and community college students. This year they are hoping to award 15 $6,000 scholarships recognizing contributions to the LGBTQ+ community. Applications are due by January 31, 2021. You can find the complete eligibility requirements and application forms HERE.
Changing Hearts and Minds
Educating our Community
In preparation for our talk with Reverend Atkins- Whitley this month, we wanted to share some education on the damaging effects of conversion therapy. A recent article in the New York Times explains that hundreds of religious leaders, spearheaded by the Global Interfaith Commission on LGBT+ Lives have joined the AMA, APA, and many others in calling for an end to conversion therapy. Read this article from the Human Rights Campaign for a summary of the research that has been done along with position statements made by leading national mental and medical health organizations on the practice.

Book Recommendation:
I Have Something to Tell You: A Memoir by Chasten Buttigieg (2020): "In this moving, uplifting memoir, [Chasten Buttigieg] recounts his journey to finding acceptance as a gay man. He recalls his upbringing in rural Michigan, where he knew he was different, where indeed he felt different from his father and brothers. He recounts his coming out and how he’s healed from revealing his secret to his family, friends, community, and the world. And he tells the story of meeting his boyfriend, whom he would marry and who would eventually become a major Democratic leader. With unflinching honesty, unflappable courage, and great warmth, Chasten Buttigieg relays his experience of growing up in America and embracing his true self, while inspiring others to do the same."
Advocating for Change
Over the summer the SRVUSD responded to the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor by passing Resolution 95/19-20 denouncing racism in our district and community. A coalition of alumni, parents, students, and staff collaborated to write this petition demanding more than words. The petition asks that action on hiring, curriculum, bias training, discipline, and more be taken by the end of 2021. If you would like to be a part of advocating for necessary change at our local level, this is a great place to start. Read and sign the petition at tinyurl.com/SRVUSDsign.

If you are interested in getting involved with other local advocacy efforts in our Danville-San Ramon Valley community, contact us at srvpflag@gmail.com.
Consider supporting our chapter by becoming a paid member for as little as $25/per year. It is not necessary to become a paid member to enjoy any of our services. However, we do depend on grants, donations, and membership fees to continue to support our local community. 100% of membership fees are tax-deductible as we are a 501(c)3 charitable organization.
(925) 338-0215 srvpflag@gmail.com