Today we hear from Kathy Gage, board member of a new Minnesota chapter, PFLAG New Prague Area:

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I was a little nervous, but mostly excited. We are actually going to do this! The New Prague area support group had just become officially associated with PFLAG this past May. Our eight family group knew that there were more people out there who needed the same thing, but were either unaware of our presence or afraid to come for help. Our community is a rural, small town of about 7,400 people. You don’t just hop in the car for a quick trip to Target. Like most other communities, there is a need to be safe, to be accepted, and to belong.

Upon the recommendations of the PFLAG website, we put ourselves out there. We placed an advertisement in the community education catalogue, we put an article in the local newspaper, we got a website, and we met with the PFLAG National Field & Policy staffer for our region, Brooke Senter. 
But this next step is what stretched us even more, made us feel vulnerable, made us visible. We walked in the Dozinky Farm Pride Parade!

At first we didn't know if we could rally enough people. We solicited the support of friends and family and were pleasantly surprised to have over 50 people walk with us! A high school student was instrumental in getting about a dozen teenagers to come along. One woman chased us down on her bicycle and hopped on the float, bike and all. There were scowls and frowns and looks of puzzlement along the parade route after reading our signs. There were also smiles, waving, and clapping for us. One woman said, “Oh, my word!“ Another woman said, “Well, it’s about time!” 

When we passed the parade announcer, I had a feeling of pride as he said our name and our purpose. Yes. Yes, we are here for each other. I’m not sure if it’s possible to communicate to our fellow parade walkers just how important their participation is to us. My heart is full of gratitude. I’m also very proud of the PFLAG New Prague Area Chapter members. Each one contributed in a big way to make the parade float a reality and ultimately our presence known in the community. 
We belong here because there is a need to support, educate, and advocate. I am looking forward to what will happen next, so Czech us out!
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