Founded in 1973, PFLAG is the first and largest organization dedicated to supporting, educating, and advocating for LGBTQ+ people and their families. PFLAG’s network of hundreds of chapters and more than 325,000 members and supporters works to create a caring, just, and affirming world for LGBTQ+ people and those who love them.
Amy Orwig has always felt a strong desire to help fight the injustices forged against marginalized communities, and her passion lies in helping parents lead with love so that kids can find safety within their own families.
When her youngest child came out--first as bisexual, then transgender--Amy sprang into action. Her first stop, after finding some online support forums for moms, was a PFLAG chapter that was an hour from her home. Working with a few other moms in the area, Amy founded a new chapter of PFLAG in her hometown of Peoria, IL; Amy has served as president of the chapter since its inception. Under Amy’s leadership, the PFLAG Peoria board has grown to nearly 20 people, and the chapter now has over 300 members. PFLAG Peoria has collaborated with other local LGBTQ+-serving organizations, including Peoria Proud, the Neighborhood House, and Central Illinois FRIENDS. PFLAG Peoria also ran the Family Zone at the 2019 Peoria River City Pride Fest.
During the pandemic, PFLAG Peoria held creative online fundraising events for the Neighborhood House, and Central Illinois FRIENDS, and utilized PFLAG Connects to bring in celebrity guests for virtual chapter meetings. In addition to helping found PFLAG Peoria, Amy has also founded other groups, including a teen group, Q Collective, which now has 20 participants. She has also worked with local therapists to help spread the word about this group.
Amy also engages in peer-to-peer support, working with a diverse array of parents navigating the coming-out experience with their children. She is particularly proud of helping a very conservative set of parents support their transgender daughter, helping to restore their relationship just months before the mom succumbed to cancer. Amy also serves as a moderator in online support groups she found when her child first came out, and has spoken to local foster family organizations to help their members understand how best to support parents and their children who have come out.
When Amy isn’t busy moderating or leading groups, she can be found at one of her three part time jobs or spending time with her husband of 28 years--and their dog and cat--adjusting to life as empty nesters. Amy looks forward to helping other chapters become more active and grow in service of making the world a safer, brighter place for LGBTQ+ people.