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PFLAG to raise funds and awareness with political panel
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PFLAG to raise funds and awareness with political panel

by David Zimmerman - Special to the SGN

'PFLAG Presents'
lecture series
March 31, 7-9 PM
5th Avenue Theatre
Producers Club Lounge


Bring together area politicians who work for Gay rights issues. Invite the public to be part of the discussion. Raise money for the well-known LGBT organization Seattle PFLAG.

Those are the goals for PFLAG Board Member Ben Vogt, the driving force behind the new series called "PFLAG Presents" aimed at fusing political action with the needs of the community. Says Vogt, "We hope this will get people talking. It will be a great way to make connections. This education series is a way to engage, it's a return investment for the community." The forum will be held at the 5th Avenue Theatre's Producers Club Lounge on March 31 and will feature Seattle City Council members Sally Clark and Tom Rasmussen, and State Senator Joe McDermott, who represents West Seattle and Vashon Island. C.R. Douglas will moderate the discussion. Douglas is the host of City Inside/Out on the Seattle Channel.

In the arena of LGBT rights, there are always a plethora of issues to discuss. Vogt rattles off a few of those topics. "Ideas for reducing hate crimes and promoting equality in workplace hiring. How to get folks engaged in the LGBT community and strengthen common goals. We're really hoping the panel will talk about their own experiences."

For 30 years, Seattle PFLAG has provided a safe haven for families to discuss sexuality in an open and supportive environment. Sue Ramsey remembers her first group meeting. "When I went to PFLAG, my son had just come out to me. PFLAG helped me get through a really tough time in the beginning. I had some practical questions - would my son be safe, would he find someone to love? PFLAG has brought me closer to my son. Now even my nieces and nephews march in PFLAG parades."

Ramsey is now the vice president of Seattle PFLAG. She says there are a thousand ways to raise money for the organization, and "we have an important educational message that goes with it."

With the unveiling of "PFLAG Presents," the organization is again stepping up its visibility and hoping to increase its advocacy, education, and support roles here in Seattle.

"I expressed an interest in fundraising," says Vogt. "One of those ways was a lecture series. The first was a house party with Washington state Sen. Ed Murray in July 2009. We called it the PFLAG 'Summer Soiree.' We had a great turnout and exceeded our expectations for fundraising, and with matching gifts from companies."

"PFLAG Presents" is open to anyone in the public who would like to attend. The forum will be held at the 5th Avenue Theatre in the Producers Club Lounge on March 31 from 7-9 p.m. Suggested donation for attendance is $15. For more information, call 206-412-1199 or email ben@bhvdesignlab.com.

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