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One of Pride Foundation’s newest board members, D Gregory Smith, will travel to Hamilton this month for two workshops (held on May 10th) that are part of a series sponsored by PFLAG Hamilton-Bitterroot. Greg grew up in Twin Bridges, Montana, and spent decades hiding who he was. Today, after leaving the Catholic priesthood and coming out as a gay man, he’s dedicated his life to providing therapy to clients struggling with their own sexual orientations and gender identities, as well as developing understanding within their families.

“Making Montana safer for everyone is hugely important to me,” explained Greg, who lives in Bozeman and works part-time as the director of AIDS Outreach. “I want all kids growing up here in Montana to know that there are people who care about them and their safety, and for parents to know that resources exist to help them support their kids.”

National statistics show that LGBTQ youth are four times more likely to commit suicide than their heterosexual peers, and face higher rates of bullying in their schools, Greg noted.

“We want to provide skills for parents and service providers, including doctors, nurses, and counselors, so they can better relate to their LGBT children or clients,” said Terry Moran, board president of the local PFLAG chapter and longtime Hamilton resident. Moran is also a Pride Foundation donor who has been active in PFLAG as a way to support her lesbian daughter and make her community safer for all residents.

Here’s the scoop on the upcoming PFLAG events:

Understanding our LGBT Families, Friends & Community

Tuesday, April 30

5:00 to 5:30 PM | light supper

5:30 to 7:00 PM | workshop

Daly-Leach Chapel, 1010 W. Main Street, Hamilton

Build your comfort with and awareness of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered) experiences, and of the LGBT people in your life, by building a shared language and deepening your understanding of bullying and mistreatment.
Facilitated by the National Coalition Building Institute (NCBI) in Missoula

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Uniquely Montana: The LGBT Experience

D Gregory Smith, MA, LCPC, LMHC

Friday, May 10

11:00 AM to 12:30 PM

with lunch provided at 12:30 p.m.

Ravalli County Museum, 205 Bedford Street in Hamilton

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Living a Life of Integrity: Creating and Acknowledging Intimacy
Friday, May 10

1:00 – 2:30 PM

lunch provided at 12:30

Ravalli County Museum, 205 Bedford Street in Hamilton

D Gregory Smith will tell his remarkable story about growing up gay in rural Montana, his journey from Catholic priesthood to mental health therapist, and his return from Seattle to Montana as a happily partnered man. Greg will also discuss the increased burden of guilt and shame carried by LGBT persons—including the real risk of suicide and depression—and the need for parental acceptance in the life of a gay child. Parents have a very special role in the lives of their children, and sometimes that means changing your dreams for your child after they come out. We’ll work in small groups to discuss experiences and parental acceptance, moving toward a greater understanding of LGBT people—and ourselves.

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Standing Up (Comfortably) as Allies

Tuesday, May 14

5:00 – 5:30 PM | Light supper

5:30 – 7:00 PM| Program

Daly-Leach Chapel, 1010 W. Main Street, Hamilton

This interactive workshop will give you the skills to respond effectively to anti-gay and anti-trans remarks in your school, church or workplace. We will identify next steps for making the Bitterroot a safe and inclusive community.

Facilitated by NCBI

Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) promotes the health and well-being of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons, their families and friends through support to cope with an adverse society, education to enlighten an ill-informed public, and advocacy to end discrimination and to secure equal civil rights. PFLAG provides opportunity for dialogue about sexual orientation and gender identity, and acts to create a society that is healthy and respectful of human diversity.To learn more, visit their website or email PFLAGHamiltonBitterroot@yahoo.com.

Caitlin is Pride Foundation’s Regional Development Organizer in Montana. Email Caitlin.

 

 

Posted In: Blog, Building Organizations, Blog, Montana