Peterborough parents’ group recognizes International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia

Pflag Peterborough's rainbow bench in Millennium Park honours two past local leaders of the organization

Members of the Peterborough chapter of Pflag, a national charitable organization founded by parents to help themselves and their family members understand and accept their LGBQIA2S children, gathered at the organization's rainbow bench in Millennium Park on May 17, 2022 to recognize International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia and to remember two past local leaders of the organization. (Photo courtesy of Pflag Peterborough)
Members of the Peterborough chapter of Pflag, a national charitable organization founded by parents to help themselves and their family members understand and accept their LGBQIA2S children, gathered at the organization's rainbow bench in Millennium Park on May 17, 2022 to recognize International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia and to remember two past local leaders of the organization. (Photo courtesy of Pflag Peterborough)

Members of the Peterborough chapter of Pflag, a national charitable organization founded by parents to help themselves and their family members understand and accept their LGBQIA2S children, were in Millennium Park on Tuesday (May 17) to recognize International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia and to remember two past local leaders of the organization.

The group gathered at the rainbow bench, located on the park’s walkway near No Frills beside the Nogojiwanong information panels, that Pflag Peterborough donated with the help of the City of Peterborough. The bench includes a plaque honouring the work of the Pflag Peterborough’s past leaders Joyce Barrett and Catherine Ginies.

Joyce Barrett, who had been involved with Pflag since the Peterborough chapter was first organized, was a family physician specializing in obstetrics. She and her husband Dr. John Hambley had two biological children along with several “chosen” daughters. One of their children identified as LGBQIA2S. Barrett took Dianne McKay, the past Pflag Peterborough president, to the first Pflag meeting.

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Catherine Ginies, a co-leader with McKay, also had an child who identified as LGBQIA2S. Ginies, who designed Pflag Peterborough’s first website, was a very active member, working throughout the region and organizing many Pflag events.

“Both Joyce and Catherine were tireless supporters of their children and the LGBQIA2S community,” the organization states in an email provided to kawarthaNOW.

“Both died prematurely, much too young, and are missed by everyone that knew them. Their families and friends are delighted with the Rainbow Bench that Pflag Peterborough purchased together with the City of Peterborough, which we dedicated with a plaque to the memory of Joyce and Catherine, and for the tireless work they did.”

Pflag Peterborough's rainbow bench, purchased and installed along the Millennium Park walkway in partnership with the City of Peterborough, is dedicated to the memory of two past local leaders of the organization. (Photo courtesy of Pflag Peterborough)
Pflag Peterborough’s rainbow bench, purchased and installed along the Millennium Park walkway in partnership with the City of Peterborough, is dedicated to the memory of two past local leaders of the organization. (Photo courtesy of Pflag Peterborough)

Pflag Canada originated in 1970s’ Toronto, where meetings of non-LGBTQ but welcoming family members were held under the banner of Parents Of Gays (POG). That group eventually amalgamated with Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (FFLAG), a group founded in October 1981. The new organization was rebranded as Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (or Parents FLAG). In recognition of more inclusive language used in the community, Pflag is no longer an acronym but stands on its own as the organization’s name.

Pflag Canada, which operates with the slogan “Family For All,” currently has 59 chapters across Canada. While there is also a U.S. organization called Pflag, which originated in New York City in 1972, Pflag Canada developed independently.

For more information about Pflag Peterborough, visit pflagpeterborough.com.