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Mission and History

Mission and History
Mission and History

Toronto Pflag is a volunteer-run, registered charitable organization. Through support, education and advocacy we work to create a more accepting society for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals and their families, friends and allies.


Toronto Pflag promotes the health and well-being of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, two-spirit, intersex, queer and questioning  persons, their families and friends through:

Support, to cope with an adverse society, and 

Education, to enlighten an ill-informed public in order to end discrimination and secure equal rights.

Toronto Pflag provides opportunities for dialogue about sexual orientation and gender identity, and acts to create a society that is healthy and respectful of all human beings.


Toronto Pflag is a charitable organization that speaks for a more accepting Canadian society by providing support, education and resources to all people who wish to grow in their understanding of sexual and gender diversity. Through Toronto Pflag, we actively assist in the recognition and growth of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, two-spirit, intersex, queer and questioning persons, and their families and friends, within their diverse cultures and societies.


The origins of Toronto Pflag date back to the late 1970s, to a group known as Parents of Gays. Betty Fairchild, co-author of the bookNow That You Know: A Parent's Guide to Understanding Their Gay and Lesbian Children, travelled from Denver to help the Toronto group in its initial stages. Rev. Brent Hawkes and the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto paid for the first telephone line. Another group, called FFLAG (Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), was formed at about the same time. (FFLAG operates now in the U.K.)

In the early 1980s, a Parents of Gays group was started in Mississauga, immediately to the west of Toronto. In 1985 a member of this organization was listed as a contact person for Parents of Lesbians and Gays in the February issue of Chatelaine magazine, which listed self-help organizations in Canada. In April, 1986 the first meeting of Parents of Lesbians and Gays was held in a private home; the group moved to a local church a year later, and continued to meet into the early 1990s. 

A North Toronto Chapter of Pflag began meeting in 1991, and the meetings continue today under the name of Toronto Pflag / Pflag Toronto, incorporated as a registered charity since 2001.

The concept of Pflag dates back to 1972, when a young man was attacked at a gay rights protest demonstration in New York. His parents saw the attack on television and witnessed the failure of the police to intervene. The man's mother, Jeanne Manford (1920 – 2013) marched with her son in New York's Pride Day parade that year, and was persuaded to begin a support group, which held its first formal meeting in March 1973.

Following the 1979 National March for Gay and Lesbian Rights, representatives from various support groups for parents with gay and lesbian children met for the first time in Washington, D.C.   In 1981, they launched a national Parents FLAG  (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) organization and established the first office in Los Angeles. In 1990, the group consolidated operations in Washington, D.C. and in 1993 added “Families” to their name.

Today Pflag or similar organizations operate in at least 17 countries around the world.