Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays
Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (FFLAG) is a voluntary organisation and registered charity in the United Kingdom which offers support to parents and their lesbian/gay/bisexual and transgender children. They have over 40 telephone helplines across the country, as well as several parent support groups and are a recognised support group by the UK Government. FFLAG also works outside the UK with other LGBT family support organisations particularly in Europe and the USA.
The national organisation was established in 1993, although the earliest of its constituent support groups were established as previous as the 1970s. The organisation's roots are in 1965 when Rose Ellen Robertson set up Parents Enquiry, Britain’s first helpline to advise and support parents and their lesbian, gay and bisexual children. The help line ran for three decades. FFLAG was created as a response to the high number of referrals from the police and social services.
Although FFLAG had been in existence a long time before its first web site only went live in 1997. Subsequent to the publishing of the first web site FFLAG gained sponsorship from Procter & Gamble for its printed publications and gay.com who offered the organisation free web hosting and subject to gay.com web design.
The organisation's aims and objectives are to provide support to parents and their Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual sons and daughters and is a central hub in a network of local parents groups providing support and friendship across the UK. The organisation supports equal human and civil rights of Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals. Parents meet at groups in their local area and at FFLAG conferences/networking events.
One of the organisation's projects was the 1990 video 'Parents Talking', featuring an introduction by Sir Ian McKellen. The video is a support resource exploring the thoughts of parents of lesbian, gay and bisexual people. The video was first broadcast and made available free of charge via the internet in 1997. Another free resource is the booklet 'A Guide for Families and Friends', which looks at issues and emotions that parents and families may face when a loved one comes out. Another booklet, 'How Do I Tell My Parents?', discusses ways of telling parents and some of the issues that often worry lesbian, gay and bisexual people when they want to talk to their family about their sexuality. The booklets, originally written by Rose Robertson, were rewritten by FFLAG Parents in 2012. The booklets contain quotes and experiences from parents and LGB young people. FFLAG also produces an annual print newsletter with articles and information on events held by Parents' Groups and individuals across the country, promotional postcards to raise awareness of the support it offers, and a monthly e-bulletin.
Long standing Patrons of the organisation are Dame Angela Mason CBE of the charity Stonewall, Sir Ian McKellen, British Actor, Michael Cashman MEP and member of the House of Lords Baroness Massey of Darwen. The number of patrons increased to seven by 2012 and now also include Ian Rivers PhD, an award winning psychologist, academic and author, Deidre Sanders otherwise known as Dear Deidre, an agony aunt from The Sun newspaper and Peter Tatchell of OutRage!.
- Charity Commission. Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, registered charity no. 1079918.
- "Directgov". Useful contacts. DirectGov. Retrieved 7 April 2012.
- "International Support". FFLAG Official Web Site. www.fflag.org.uk. Retrieved 7 April 2012.
- Tatchell, Peter. "Rose Robertson - FFLAG President (28 October 1916 - 10 August 2011)". Obituary. www.fflag.org.uk. Retrieved 7 April 2012.
- Lacey, P. "FFLAG Archive". FLLAG Archive. FFLAG. Retrieved 8 April 2012.