EQUAL LOVE: New group has its own rainbow

The rain stopped the rally but not the support of Mark Green and Mel Smith, Aurora-dannen Taylor, 5, Tamara Taylor and Michael Taylor, 7, for a new group for family members and friends of gays and lesbians. Picture: KYLIE ESLER

The rain stopped the rally but not the support of Mark Green and Mel Smith, Aurora-dannen Taylor, 5, Tamara Taylor and Michael Taylor, 7, for a new group for family members and friends of gays and lesbians. Picture: KYLIE ESLER

YOU can’t have a rainbow if you don’t put up with the rain.

That was the thought of Lauren Cooper as she was preparing to march down Dean Street at the weekend as part of the Equal Love on the Border rally.

Although the rally was rained out, it didn’t stop people talking about a new Border group for homosexuals.

Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, PFLAG, has been launched to support those who have had family or friends “come out”.

Co-founder of PFLAG Albury-Wodonga, Kerri Briese, said there was nowhere to turn for advice and parents felt there was a need for the group.

“I have a trans-gender son and, going through the process, I found there was no support at all,” she said.

“Even some health professionals didn’t know where to go.”

Ms Briese said it was an emotional process.

“The group gives you the kind of support you’d get from a friend rather than a health professional,” she said.

Mark Green, who came out to his parents just last year, agreed the group helped family and friends understand.

“The Border needs it,” he said. “There are a lot of gays and lesbians in the area and this is there for anybody who needs help.

“As hard as it is to come out, it can be just as hard for the people who are hearing it.”

Mr Green said parents could feel disappointed or as if they had failed, which was not the case.

“There is a lot of homophobia around this area and people don’t feel safe on the streets so this is another thing that raises more awareness and understanding,” he said.

Mel Smith told her family she was a lesbian 16 years ago and she said it had been difficult at first.

“My aunty and uncle have joined the group and have been a big support,” she said.

Ms Smith said the group allowed parents and friends to socialise and gain understanding.

“It’s nice to then feel a bit more accepted for who you are,” she said.

“You just feel more loved.”

The group will hold monthly meetings and anybody wanting to join can visit the PFLAG Albury Wodonga Facebook page.

For updates on a rescheduled rally will be held, visit the Equal Love on the Border Facebook page.

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