LAKE JACKSON — More than 25 people came together at the Dow Diamond Center to learn the importance of supporting a child who identifies as LGBTQ+.
Timed to coincide with National Coming Out Day on Friday, four speakers from Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, or PFLAG, talked about accepting and loving LGBTQ+ children during the event organized by Dow Texas Operations.
Evan Manuel, who helps lead Dow’s LGBTQ+ employee resource group, hopes these support groups can let LGBTQ+ people know they have friends in Brazoria County, he said.
“I think whoever comes, just spark their curiosity,” he said during Thursday night’s program. “If they walk away with just some confidence that they can ask questions now, they can do their own research. Creating more of those allies here in the local community.”
Along with the LGBTQ+ group, Dow has several resource groups, including those focusing on women, Asian diversity, new employees and long-term employees, Manuel said.
The company has a duty to give back to the Brazosport community, Manuel said.
“We want to start that conversation and show that there is a community here and that just because they don’t work for Dow, that doesn’t mean that we can’t support them and be here for them as well,” he said.
Shelley Farrell of PFLAG spoke about her finding out her child was transgender, she said.
“I’m going to just tell my story, which is still evolving,” she said.
Her 18-year-old child, now identifying as a woman, had a long journey coming to terms with her sexuality and it was not always easy, especially going through high school and being exposed to bullying, Farrell said.
She told the crowd Thursday if a child comes out as gay, they need a parent’s support, love and guidance because it can be a scary and emotional time, Farrell said.
The only way things change and society grows is by listening to one another and accepting each other despite any differences, Farrell said.
“It is going to be different for each person,” she said. “I just hope they see the human face of each other. That’s the main thing. When people share face to face with each other, that is how things change and how we grow.”
He is looking forward to continuing open dialogue-type of events, Manuel said.
“Here is to hoping,” he said. “This won’t stop us from doing more in the future.”