PFLAG at the (Virtual) Women’s March

Tiffany Gonzalez, PFLAG San Diego County’s President, beautifully represented us at the fifth annual Women’s March San Diego. The march took place virtually on January 23, 2021. We were one of the organizations asked to participate in LGBTQIA’s Unity Principles to build solidarity, collaboration, and unexpected allies. It was a time to celebrate our past achievements, honor our present climate, and look forward to the road ahead. By featuring PFLAG SDC, organizers gave us the opportunity to highlight ourselves while also advocating a call to action. We are hoping to feature Tiffany’s video on PFLAG SDC’s Facebook page soon so you can hear for yourselves how ably we were represented.

Spread The Word about PFLAG SDC 2021 Scholarships including New Scholarship for Fine and Applied Arts

We are proud that we are in our 24th year of offering scholarships to LGBTQ students who reside in San Diego County. In 1999, now-Mayor Todd Gloria was a recipient of one of two scholarships awarded that year. The application, requirements, and other scholarship-related info are on our web site:

It is also PFLAG SDC Scholarship Committee’s pleasure to announce the Gary A. Marcus Scholarship for the Fine and Applied Arts, funded by Mr. Marcus. This scholarship is open to students who are continuing their education in the fine and applied arts to include art programs, theatre, literature, and music.

The deadline to apply for all scholarships, including the new Gary A. Marcus Scholarship for the Fine and Applied Arts, is Tuesday, March 30, 2021.

We appreciate you spreading the word to LGBTQ high school seniors and full-time undergraduate/graduate students to apply for PFLAG scholarships. Half-time applicants will be considered with an explanation of the circumstances that prevents them from attending full-time. A minimum of 11 scholarships will be awarded in the amounts of $2,000 or more. Our motto is “Change a life, change the world.” Please help us continue to change lives.

We also encourage you to donate at All donations are 100% tax deductible (tax ID# 33-0512868) and the entire funds donated go toward the scholarships.

Due to the current health restrictions, we plan to award the scholarships virtually on June 5, 2021.

For questions, contact

Now Is The Time To Renew Your Membership

Part of the mission for PFLAG is to promote the health and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender+ persons, their families, and friends. We are only able to offer this support, education, and advocacy through your generosity of being a member. Several ways we accomplish our goals are to provide monthly support group meetings (when they resume), an info line, newsletter, educational brochures, tabling events, tabling merchandise, and supplies for meetings.

You can renew (or become members) online, (we accept PayPal and major credit cards), or by printing and mailing the Membership Registration form below. Of course, we will gladly accept donations any time for any reason! All memberships and donations are tax deductible, tax ID# 33-0512868.

We support PFLAG National by sending $15 of your donations to them, which provides you with membership in the national organization. Please don’t renew directly with National, as no part of that benefits our San Diego chapter.

Recognizing A Special Volunteer

Sherry Cohen-Richards has provided content for over 200 newsletters during her 17 years as editor of our monthly chapter newsletter. Articles have featured chapter, local, national, and international news regarding LGBTQ+ related issues that impact us and our loved ones. She has been diligent in finding interesting stories and highlighting the people that we serve. Everything from marriage rights to homophobic and transphobic legislation to the right to serve in the military has been covered in our chapter newsletter by Sherry.

PFLAG National has highlighted our newsletter as an example of excellence during our national conventions for two decades. We are grateful for her dedication and time and for bringing national recognition to our chapter.

Sherry has thoughtfully archived all our our past newsletters with the Lambda Archives in San Diego so that the history of our chapter is held for future generations who wonder what PFLAG SDC stood for and accomplished.

Sherry continues to serve as our chapter Vice President and Co-Chair of the PFLAG SDC scholarship committee and is a member of the Metro site helping with facilitating and inviting speakers. As VP she has assumed the responsibilities of chapter president on many occasions and volunteers at tabling events. She has also been the AIDS Walk coordinator for many years. Thank you, Sherry!

Labels – One Queer’s Perspective

By Olivia Ottone (they/them)

When we use labels, who are they for? Self-describing as AFAB (assigned female at birth) and queer is enough for me. However, I tend to modify my language for different audiences, often elaborating with less accurate terms.

Within queer spaces, I freely and lovingly toss around words like dyke and homo. Their use is inconsequential because no one hears them as concrete attributes of anyone’s identity. With cis-het friends, I avoid these words to limit confusion and spare them the discomfort of wondering if they are allowed to say things they thought were slurs. With most new personal relationships, queer as a standalone descriptor of my gender identity and sexual orientation leaves people unsatisfied, still wondering what that means. Maybe I concede and call myself gay – a familiar, seemingly well-defined word. Maybe I even mention a predominant romantic attraction to non-male individuals, with the occasional sexual draw to men. That confuses others. Am I bi? Pan? Mostly a lesbian? What about my gender? My pronouns are they/them/theirs. Am I non-binary? Trans? Agender? Well, no. The correct descriptor is queer, but when I started there, it wasn’t enough.

This is the point I am coming to. Labels are beautiful and destructive tools of language where we can find liberation or feel estranged. I personally find peace in the ambiguity of identifying as queer – something non-cis, non-het, and dynamic. I don’t need more.

I used to worry that how I self-described would somehow lock me in to something that wouldn’t feel right later. I now accept that what applies today might not tomorrow. The only thing we can guarantee with our identities is that we approach each other’s with compassion, mutual respect, and a willingness to listen.

Olivia is currently a PhD candidate at Thomas Jefferson University. Their family joined the PFLAG family when they came out during their senior year at Carlsbad High School in 2011. The last 10 years have been ones of immense growth, and being queer is one of the things Olivia loves most about themself.

Editor’s note: Confused about any of the terms Olivia uses above? Here are some resources that might help. Or, come to a support group to ask any questions you may have!

Thank You to Our Donors!

Thanks to the following who have donated to our general fund since last newsletter:

Alec Babiarz, Larry Gerling, Louise Julig, Linda Miles, Michelle Morris, Sandra Simon, Kori Page, Maureen Steiner, Annemarie Whalen, Carol McAllister, Diane Kaelin, Judith Wilkinson, Annette Ottone, Phyllis Van Wanseele

Support Groups

Individual support groups will continue to meet virtually, as well as the monthly virtual Countywide Support Group meeting. We encourage you to contact your support group facilitator at any time, as they will remain excellent resources for information. The support group locations, dates, and times will continue to be posted on the PFLAG San Diego County Facebook page. You can join in any of the digital meetings. For Zoom links, contact each support group.

Do You Shop On Amazon?

If you have an account with Amazon, you can help our chapter every time you shop. Go to and search for PFLAG San Diego County. For every purchase, our chapter will receive .05% of the dollar amount of the order. This may not sound like a lot, but it adds up with the more people we have participating. Now that more of us are ordering online than ever due to the pandemic, it’s the perfect time to use Amazon Smile to support PFLAG.

Our Vision
PFLAG envisions a world where diversity is celebrated and all people are respected, valued, and affirmed inclusive of their sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression

Our Mission
By meeting people where they are and collaborating with others, PFLAG realizes its vision through: Support for families, allies and people who are LGBTQ; Education for ourselves and others about the unique issues and challenges facing people who are LGBTQ; Advocacy in our communities to change attitudes and create policies and laws that achieve full equality for people who are LGBTQ.