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PFLAG: Evolution of a Name

In 2014, PFLAG members across the country voted to lose “Parent, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays” as the official name of the organization in favor of just, simply, PFLAG. No acronym, but a name for an organization with a long, rich history that has evolved over time in order to remain responsive to members and reflective of its unique and critical role in the movement for LGBTQ equality.

An Evolution of Inclusion Continues…

Changes to PFLAG’s name are not unprecedented. The original name of the organization was POG, or Parents of Gays. Over the years, the change in the social landscape ushered in modifications to the name, moving from POG, to Parents FLAG, to PFLAG (without mentioning friends), and finally PFLAG (where the “F” was marked to represent both family and friends). These changes were made to accurately reflect PFLAG members and those PFLAG serves.

And in 2014, once again, PFLAG’s members and constituents evolved. For PFLAG members, the organization’s work has been inclusive of everyone in the LGBTQ+ community, although the lack of acknowledgement for bisexual, transgender, and queer-identified individuals in the name has caused challenges. Some have questioned how strong the commitment to inclusion is if the name doesn’t reflect that commitment. Others—particularly in our extensive, nationwide chapter network—attempted to address the challenge by developing their own taglines or explanations for what the organization is and who it serves. 

“PFLAG members know what PFLAG is, know who we are—PFLAG is the place that is home for everyone engaged in moving equality forward for everyone, inclusive of sexual orientation, gender identity, and family status,” said Jean Hodges, president of the PFLAG National Board of Directors at the time of the change. “It was time for us as an organization to solidify that and ensure that the message was clear both inside and outside of PFLAG: We are inclusive and united towards this goal.”

Learn more in the cover story of the Fall 2014 edition of the PFLAGPole! You can also learn more in that issue about PFLAG’s long history of transgender inclusion.