Start a PFOX Group in Your Area
Your interest in organizing a local PFOX group is appreciated. Founded in 1998, Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (PFOX) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization providing outreach, education, and public awareness in support of the ex-gay community and families touched by homosexuality. Through its local groups across the country, PFOX shows families how to love their homosexual child unconditionally, and how to be a positive presence in their child’s life.
Each year thousands of men and women with same-sex attractions make the personal decision to leave homosexuality. However, there are others in society who refuse to respect that decision. Consequently, formerly gay men and women are reviled simply because they dare to exist. Without PFOX, former homosexuals would have no voice in a hostile environment.
PFOX believes that a program of public awareness, family support, education, and public policy advocacy is essential in achieving its purpose. PFOX also believes that active participation in PFOX activities is productive for the community.
Society will gain when all aspects of homosexuality are out of the closet, when ex-gays and their supporters are not ashamed to speak out and give hope to others, and when our loved ones know that we love them enough to stand up and fight for them. PFOX welcomes all who wish to participate in the pursuit of these goals.
What PFOX support groups are all about
- Provide mutual support and encouragement in dealing with issues and concerns related to a loved one’s homosexuality
- Provide a safe, confidential environment away from the loved one where individuals are free to share their thoughts and feelings
- Provide an outlet for those who are going through similar experiences
- Provide information, resources, personal testimonies (videos, speakers) that members would not be able to find outside the group or know how to find without some assistance/direction (the PFOX office can help with this)
- Provide opportunities to support the ex-gay community.
Are you ready to start a PFOX group?
You may be ready to start your own group if you answer yes to the following:
- Have you effectively dealt with your own pain regarding your loved one’s homosexuality? Or do you have an interest in helping the ex-gay community?
- Do you have an understanding of homosexuality, its development, and believe that homosexuals deserve the right to choose change and that change is possible?
- Do you have the time to start and run a PFOX group and are prepared for the long-term commitment?
- Is it true that you are a self-starter and do not need a pat on the back/personal recognition for all the hard work you’ve put into starting, running and maintaining your local group?
- Are you willing to be responsible for the administration, facilitation and management of your group all by yourself if and when there is no one else who can help (co-leading is a great idea!)?
Where do you begin?
Local groups are formed when the PFOX office approves the application form of a person or persons who want to start a group in his or her area. PFOX accepts group applications from parents or others with family members or friends in homosexuality, clergy members, advocates for the ex-gay community, and other supportive individuals.
Groups are started by ordinary people like you who decided to do something instead of waiting for someone else to do it. Remember, no one is expected to have all of the answers! A group can be started by anyone with a little courage and much commitment. While there is no fee to become a recognized group at this time, we appreciate all donations to PFOX to continue our outreach, newsletter, website and conferences. All donations are tax deductible.
If yours is an already existing ministry, support group, ex-gay organization, etc., with its own group name and status, and are merely seeking to be placed into the PFOX network, we welcome you into our organization. Just check off the box for an existing group on the PFOX group application.
Forming your group
- If possible, the meetings should be held in a church, public library or place other than the home. A public building such, as a church will have more parking than many homes are able to offer. Also, a room or building outside a private home will be better able to accommodate growth since living rooms can easily fill up and then the group will have to move out.
- Contact your pastor, ex-gay organizations, local churches, counselors, the YMCA or YWCA, public libraries, etc. for available space. Ask Alcoholics Anonymous where they meet.
- Meeting sites should be easily reached by members. Groups should have their meetings in the same place so that members will always know where to go and what to expect. People might begin, drop out, and then return to the group; having a familiar meeting place is therefore comforting to the member.
- Once you have found a suitable place, set a time and date for your first meeting.
Promoting your group
Word of mouth will be a good way to grow in your group’s early stages, as you will be growing spiritually and personally through this time as well. In addition to direct contact, you can also use mass media to reach potential members. Contact the editors of the appropriate department of your area newspapers and explain the group's activities. Due to its name and accompanying objectives, a PFOX group can be considered newsworthy. Be sure to mention the time and place of your meetings and the group's contact person. Call your area radio and TV stations to inquire if they run public service announcements of organization meetings or read public service news. If so, find out what details they require and their deadlines for submission of your group's material. Write a press release and distribute it widely to all of your community publications, large and small. Local websites are also an option. Many churches have bulletins announcing community meetings and other events. The PFOX office will serve as a clearinghouse for referrals received from potential members in a group's area.
The PFOX facilitator’s key tasks
- Promote the group (public service announcements, advertising, church bulletins, word of mouth, etc).
- Establish a group contract/rules and agenda.
- Arrange schedules for meetings.
- Come with an agenda but be willing to toss it out the window if necessary.
- Make copies of hand-outs, bring any materials needed, etc.
- Bring along some refreshments and set up the room for each meeting.
- Greet members and introduce new members into the group.
- Utilize facilitation skills, observe each member’s involvement (i.e. notice those who usually share but have been quiet throughout the entire session), etc.
- Telephone prospective and new members.
A much more detailed manual and list of resources will be sent to you upon approval of your application to start a local PFOX group.
If interested, Please fill out the group application and return it to PFOX.