SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – “PFLAG Springfield” is celebrating the LGBTQ community of southwest Missouri today at its 25th-anniversary banquet.
It has been a quarter of a century since “PFLAG Springfield” inception and the national organization focuses on support education and advocacy for LGBTQ-plus kids.
“There truly is an epidemic of hate, if you will, going on right now, the language, in fact, the ADL has indicated that hate crimes against LGBTQ people have gone up 5.7 percent from 2017-2018,” Brian Bond, executive director at PFLAG National said.
Bond is a former Obama administration official and also a Missouri State University graduate, he was the special guest for the event.
“PFLAG is made up of the most incredible, loving individuals in the country,” Bond said. “I’m also from Missouri, the work they have done over 25 years and what I would say on the front lines if you will of quality, acceptance, respect, and love, it’s important to show support for them.”
President of PFLAG Springfield, Andy Sun, is also proud of all the organization has accomplished and says there is always more that people and businesses can do.
“A lot of it does require some kind of sensitivity training, for instance using proper pronouns for transgender and genderqueer people, and also having bathrooms that are gender-neutral,” Sun said.
Sun says there are many ways a business can become more LGBT-friendly if they’re interested.
“The ACLU of Missouri actually has a program called the trans-justice program, and they offer free training to businesses to be more LGBTQ-plus sensitive,” Sun said.
The organization started back in 1973 by a mom who wanted to support her gay son.
Today, there are over 400 chapters, and 200,000 members in PFLAG across the country.