PFLAG is grateful to the thousands of donors who support our organization at all levels every day. This is the first in a series of monthly “Donor Highlights” that will be featured in this space. We hope you enjoy meeting some of the people who include PFLAG in their charitable giving and estate planning and hearing their stories about why PFLAG resonates so deeply with them.
“Every time I see a PFLAG contingent at a Pride parade, I get teary-eyed,” says 64 year-old-Fred Weldy, who lives near San Francisco and came out to his parents nearly 30 years ago. Their hurtful response has unfortunately not changed over the years, with his father now in his 90s, and Fred’s mother passing away eight years ago.
Soon after coming out, Fred attended his first Pride parade with a friend. “When I saw those parents loving and supporting their kids, it brought tears to my eyes.” He was moved to make his first donation to PFLAG soon after and, 28 years later, he hasn’t stopped. Over the years, Fred has also participated in PFLAG San Jose/Peninsula, even serving on its Speakers Bureau at one point.
A university professor, Fred is one of PFLAG’s long-time Guardian (monthly) donors, having made a gift nearly every month since March, 1989. In addition to the monthly donations he makes, Fred also supports PFLAG in other ways throughout the year. He recently hit a cumulative giving total of nearly $10,000.
Although Fred says he never hid that he was gay, he just didn’t really talk about it with his family. “In my 30s, my parents always assumed my partner at the time was just a good friend. I assumed they would figure it out at some point,” he says. “But, when they came to visit me in California and asked where he was, I told them ‘we broke up.’ My father was silent and my mother started crying. My father later told me that I had ‘ruined their vacation’ with my revelation that I am gay.”
Fred grew up in a fundamentalist Christian home with very clear anti-gay teachings. After struggling with deep feelings of guilt when he first left home, Fred has emerged with a strength and resolve to help others with similar stories. He also sought out and found a faith community that is welcoming and affirming and has been a great resource.
While Fred says, “it is incredibly important that parents support their gay kids,” he is very grateful that this two sisters are loving and supportive and are raising their children to follow that lead. In fact, Fred’s nephew, who was five years old at the time, was his biggest cheerleader when he competed eleven years ago in the Gay Games, the world's largest sporting and cultural event specifically for LGBTQ athletes, artists, and musicians. Fred won a silver medal in racquetball, and his nephew and sister were there to cheer him on.
On behalf of grateful LGBTQ people, and their families and allies across America, thank you, Fred. We salute you!