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Dear Evanston, This news couldn't come at a more critical time: PFLAG Evanston is Coming Out!

Please join Jennifer Friedrich, Elizabeth Gallo, Molly Malone, and Shannon Smith as they prepare to launch the Evanston chapter of PFLAG.

PFLAG is the first and largest organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) people, their parents and families, and allies.

If you're interested in learning more and joining the newly forming chapter, fill out this form.

This news couldn't come at a better time for Evanston.

Last week, Evanston/Skokie School District 65 celebrated its first LGBTQ+ Equity Week for students in pre-K, kindergarten, and middle schools with a curriculum that was shared with parents and instituted in classrooms across the district.

Though most D65 families embraced the week and appreciated the lesson plans, it was also a rough week for many LGBTQ+ parents and children in the district as other parents loudly protested the week on Facebook groups, opted their children out of the scheduled lessons, and showed unabashed unacceptance of LGBTQ+ students and families.

In addition, last month, just ahead of LGBTQ+ Equity week, Ren Heckathorne, a special education teacher at Evanston Park School who is transgender, told the D65 board that they have repeatedly been targeted with transphobic harassment from school employees for three years (See Jonah Meadows's reporting for Evanston Patch).

All this against the backdrop of a new Illinois law, HB246, that Governor Pritzker signed on August 12, "to include a study of the roles and contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in the history of this country and this state" in public schools.

Illinois is now the third state in the nation, after California and New Jersey, to implement a statewide school curriculum that will teach LGBTQ history.

Hear more about why LGBTQ+ Equity week is important from Evanston resident Dawn Ravine in a recent Chicago Tribune interview.

You can also read an interview I did with my daughter, who is transgender, on April 7. 2017, when Evanston Township High School (ETHS) hosted its first LGBTQ Student Summit.

If you are a student, parent, family member, or community member who's seeking support, a safe place, a community, and a connection to resources, let PFLAG Evanston know here.

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