History of PFLAG Cincinnati

Thoughts From The Prez: Marti Says Goodbye!!!!
By: Marti Kwiatkowski

This is the last letter I will be writing to you as President of Cincinnati PFLAG. There have been many times over the last three years I have thought about this moment and what I would say to all of you.

When I became president, my vision for PFLAG was to begin to build bridges into the Greater Cincinnati Community. The need for our chapter to be out into the community, visible, networking with other individuals and organizations, I felt, would bring new energy and creativity into the focus of our work.

Since that time, we have developed close relationships with the Cincinnati Men’s Chorus, the ISQCCBE, the Rainbow Band, the Pride Committees, and MUSE, to name a few, without ever losing focus on our primary mission; supporting the friends and family of GLBT people. In fact, these alliances have helped us spread the word about our PFLAG chapter in ways that would not have been possible otherwise. I may have had the vision, but it needed all of us to get on board and help our chapter grow.

In my three-year term as your president, PFLAG Cincinnati has not only gained positive community recognition as one of the outstanding service organizations in the Greater Cincinnati area, our chapter has been recognized as one of the best chapters in the Great Lakes region at the national level.

On a personal level, the opportunity to represent our chapter out in the community has profoundly changed me. I witnessed, firsthand, the courage and determination of parents ( both old and new), as well as friends and family not only at our monthly meetings, but out in the community as well as they journeyed along the path of human rights. I saw the surprised faces of our scholarship winners as they received their awards. And I was sincerely moved at the strength of our advocacy to win back the right for protection with the Repeal of Article XII.

Everywhere I went, as your representative, I was met with sincere gratitude, received many hugs, and I heard cheers whenever PFLAG was mentioned. How could I not be changed by events such as these and so numerous to mention that I am without words to describe them.

I would like to thank my PFLAG Board and Committee Chairs– Dorothy Byers, Rick Kay, Marie and Tom Jenkins, Monica Plett, Tim Gross, Kathleen Alexander, Dolores and Steve Bebko and Ric Stackpole. These individuals were the best group to work with and allowed me to grow into the leadership necessary for our chapter. Along with these individuals are some special friends – Linda Arnest (who got me here in the first place), June and Harold Delph (my PFLAG parents), Marian Weage (whose wisdom I could not do without) Kathy Laufmann, Lynne Lefebvre, and Tim and Carol Egbert. To all those who attended our monthly chapter meetings, I say thank you for teaching me how to love unconditionally and for being role models of courage .

In the GLBT community there were those who gave me encouragement, support and laughter – Harold Keutzer, Bruce Beisner, Cheryl Eagleson, Robbie Linkmeyer (aka Roberta Bigg), Tom Wherry, Patrick Coyle, Lee Chenault, Greg Barker, Charles Gordon (aka Miss Sylvia), Jay Rickles, Harry Voll (aka Truly Scrumptous)
and Brooklyn Steele Tate. To all of you in the GLBT community, thank you for listening to me, welcoming me and embracing me, you helped me grow and change in so many ways.

I would like to congratulate the new officers: Dorothy Byers – President; Mark Smith – Treasurer; and Monica Plett – Secretary. May your lives change as mine has as you learn that all things are possible with love, and love is truly the only thing that matters. Think, dream and plan with your heart and you will have done your best. Good luck!!!

So, this is a bittersweet moment for me. Though I say good-bye to this advocacy role on behalf of PFLAG, I know there are many doors waiting to open as this one closes. Remember,“You are a child of the universe, no less than the moon and the stars, you have a right to be here.” PFLAG hugs to you all.