Meet the Parents

PFLAG Santa Cruz County is proud to announce the Tuesday, October 9th meeting will feature “Meet the Parents: Celebrating National Coming Out Day”!

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012
7:00 – 9:00 pm
First Congregational Church of Santa Cruz
900 High Street, Santa Cruz, 95060

Sherry Register with her three foster children

Please join families from around Santa Cruz County as they come together for an intimate conversation with community leaders Jim Brown and his mom, Sherry and Steph Taylor and her mom, DeeDee. Hear their parents’ perspective about not only having a child coming out, but having them become a leader in the LGBTQ community.

The first hour of the PFLAG Santa Cruz County (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians & Gays) meeting is dedicated to discussion groups followed by a brief break. The second hour will be dedicated to our October keynote speakers “Meet the Parents: Celebrating National Coming Out Day.” Discussion around parents coming out within their extended family and community is an important aspect for LGBTQ community members. Please join us for this important and intimate conversation.

Sherry Register is a mother of three gay sons. She is also step mother of three and foster mother of three more! She was raised in the Mormon church, but left the church in her mid-twenties when she discovered deep inconsistencies in church doctrine.


National Coming Out Day was founded by Robert Eichberg and Jean O’Leary on October 11, 1988 in celebration of the second gay march in Washington D.C. a year earlier. The purpose of the march and of National Coming Out Day is to promote government and public awareness of gay, bisexual, lesbian and transgender rights and to celebrate homosexuality. National Coming Out Day is a time to publicly display gay pride. Many choose this day to come out to their parents, friends, co-workers and themselves.

Parents as Allies

It has been said that when gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender children come out, their parents go in the closet. Part of this angst is borne from the misconception that having a GLBT child means that the parents must have done something wrong in how they raised the child. One way parents can overcome some of their negative feelings is by educating themselves about the issues and talking with other parents of GLBT children. Through groups such as Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays parents are able to realize that they aren’t the only ones and can move from reacting to the news to acting on behalf of their child.

Most parents, once they are more comfortable with their gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender child, take their next step and come out to others. It may be when a family friend innocently asks when a son or daughter is “finally going to get married,” or when a relative tells an anti-gay joke at the family reunion. Some parents stop their journey once they have come out to family, while others come out to everyone possible.

In a conversation with Betty DeGeneres, Jeff Ellis, a conservative Christian and father of a gay son, said he was motivated by an anti-gay column in his local paper. “I just couldn’t stand it any more. I basically outed our family in the local paper and then wrote a letter to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.”

Ellis and his wife, Patti, could be considered “super-allies,” creating and maintaining a website for the parents of gays called Family Acceptance.

“Somehow I knew during those times that were so hard for us that there were parents out there who were struggling the same way we were and keeping silent about it,” said Patti Ellis. “But I knew that if I could ever get through this and find my way to the other side, I would try to do something for parents who were like us. Parents who weren’t ready to go to PFLAG but needed some answers, needed some comfort.”

Frequently asked questions about Coming Out

What is a straight supporter? How do I come out as a straight ally?

A straight supporter or straight ally is someone who supports and honors sexual diversity, acts accordingly to challenge homophobic remarks or behaviors and explores and understands these forms of bias within him- or herself. Just as it takes courage for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to be open and honest about who they are, it also takes courage to support your LGBT friends or loved ones.

Straight allies are some of the most effective and powerful advocates for the LGBT movement and have proven to be invaluable personally and politically, and increasingly important in the fight for LGBT equality.

October is Queer History Month!

A special evening celebrating National Coming Out Day is not to be missed!

Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) of Santa Cruz County meets the second Tuesday of every month from 7-9 pm at First Congregational Church of Santa Cruz at 900 High Street in Santa Cruz.

Contact us at, or call (831) 427-4016