Waukesha LGBTQ advocacy group supports teens, parents
WAUKESHA, Wis. - As a result of their initial struggle when their children came out as part of the LGBTQ community, a group of parents in Waukesha are bringing a well-known organization to the city.
Julie Reuss and Debbie Giese have lived in Waukesha for decades and raised their families here.
"There is a need in this community to have a voice for people whose children don’t fit the traditional mold," said Reuss.
Reuss's oldest daughter, Quin, is trans, and her youngest daughter Amelia is lesbian. Reuss said there was a void of resources for parents like her, so she decided to do something about it.
Quin and Amelia
"When you are experiencing something like this, you want to know where in your neighborhood you can go to for help," Reuss said.
Next week, Reuss and Giese will launch Waukesha's first-ever chapter of PFLAG which was originally an acronym for Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. PFLAG is a 50-year-old national organization that offers support to the LGBTQ community and their parents and allies.
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"No, there’s nothing wrong with your kid," said Giese "There’s nothing wrong with you for supporting them."
Some Area school districts banned pride flags, and others required parents' permission for students to use pronouns opposite of their biological sex. Three black trans women have been murdered in Milwaukee in the last nine months. Giese said it's important to educate and support.
"I spent a lot of years praying the gay away," Giese said.
Giese can relate to parents who've struggled with their children's sexuality. At 55 years old, she came out as queer. Giese's daughter came out as bisexual at 19 years old.
"People need a voice in Waukesha," said Giese. Giese will be a PFLAG Waukesha board member, and Reuss will serve as president. As far as they are concerned, the group's goal is simply to help.
"I think there are more people in Waukesha that support LGBTQ issues than don’t," said Reuss.
The first meeting will be on March 9th at 6:30 p.m. at the Waukesha Public Library. If you want more information about the organization, you can go to pflag.org.