If you had asked Christy Boyce in November 1994 about the future of her proposed PFLAG chapter in Springfield, Missouri, she might have been doubtful. Her classified ad calling for volunteers elicited only one response. However, as current chapter president Kathy Munzinger recalls, “Christy and the ad respondent set to work, a meeting ensued, and the power of two launched a lasting PFLAG chapter that’s provided 20 years of support for the LGBT community.” PFLAG National is pleased to wish PFLAG Springfield a happy 20th anniversary!

PFLAG Springfield is no stranger to the spotlight. It won the National Chapter Advocacy Award in 2013 for its billboard campaign to spread a message of awareness and love. Four billboards in prominent Springfield locations continue to announce, “Someone You Know and Love is Gay.” The campaign is crucial to Kathy and her chapter members. “Springfield is Missouri’s third-largest city and the heart of a socially conservative area, so the advocacy component of PFLAG’s mission is equally important to its 63 chapter members.” Kathy continues, “To heighten awareness of Missouri’s lack of equality protections, three additional billboards were introduced in 2014 with the message that ‘Someone You Know and Love Can Be Fired for Being Gay.’”

To celebrate and reflect on its twenty years in the Ozarks region of Missouri, PFLAG Springfield will host a dinner and movie on November 16th at the Old Glass Place on St. Louis Street. The movie showing will be a local premiere of “Two: The Story of Roman & Nyro.” The film portrays two lifelong partnered fathers and their twin sons. One of the dads is songwriter Desmond Child, whose rock star friend Jon Bon Jovi agreed to godfather his twin sons. The celebration is a ticketed affair, but the $15 cost can count toward 2015 chapter membership. “This allows people who are not members to join at a cost that is less than half of our regular individual membership,” Kathy says.

Over the course of two decades, PFLAG Springfield has participated in many firsts for the Missourian LGBT community, including the first Aids Memorial Quilt and the first PRIDE event in Springfield. Kathy notes that much work remains for the PFLAGers. “The chapter will join a coalition that is forming to counteract an impending repeal effort of the city’s recently amended anti-discrimination ordinance that now includes the protections for sexual orientation and gender identity,” Kathy explains. “Other cities in the central United States have seen similar protections repealed, and we don’t want that to happen here.”

PFLAG National supports your work to build awareness, secure protections, and spread the message of love for our LGBT family and friends. Happy 20th Anniversary! Here’s to many more.