HICKORY — A small group of people got together on Jan. 18 to begin the process of creating a Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays chapter. Each of them simply wanted to help create a safe place for those who have gay and lesbian children or friends. They wanted to provide a confidential environment for conversations and discussions to ease the pain and/or confusion of the coming out process.

Kathy and Richard Greathouse, together with Debbie Cox and Ed Farthing, spearheaded this effort. They wanted to revive a chapter in the Catawba area that had laid dormant since 2005 when it disbanded.

Greathouse remembered when in the 1990s, her son came out and found PFLAG helpful. She saw parents at every stage of the journey and felt comforted by their stories. She stayed with it until the early 2000s.

With the recent suicide deaths of youth across the nation, they all felt that it was time to get together to discuss bullying. None of them felt that they could simply stand by without doing something.

“Fear is big enough. The group is essential for parents who are trying to figure things out,” Greathouse said.

Currently, the chapter is in the formative stage. It will be meeting on the fourth Monday of every month at the Women’s Resource Center, 125 3rd St. N.E. At the next meeting, regional and state PFLAG officials will be joining them to get information and organizational tips. They will also share how a chapter works and it can benefit from established resources.

Greathouse added that PFLAG was about wanting love, not hate, thus becoming a bit of a moniker of the organization.

For more information, call the Greenhouses at 828-994-2131; Cox at 828-466-2284; or Farthing at 828-322-2805.

Lainey Millen

Lainey Millen is QNotes' former associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director.