PFLAG Bucks County: Creating a Caring, Just and Affirming World for LGBTQ+ People and Those Who Love Them

An interview with PFLAG Bucks County co-leaders Rachel Fitzpatrick and Jessica Dziobecki.
Photo courtesy of PFLAG Bucks County.

What if people who are part of the LGBTQ+ community and their allies felt safe, loved, accepted, and cherished for who they are? For some, it is a struggle to stay alive from day to day, with the hateful judgment of some who wants to deny their existence or right to live and love as they do. According to The Trevor Project, “LGBTQ+ young people are not inherently prone to suicide risk because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, but rather placed at higher risk because of how they are mistreated and stigmatized in society.”

In the face of anti-LGBTQ+ legislators and school board officials and hateful activists, having an ally can make all the difference with a sense of self-worth, acceptance and safety. The organization PFLAG Bucks County helps create and foster a caring, affirming, and inclusive community so our LGBTQ+ friends and family feel loved, supported, and secure. 

We speak with PFLAG Bucks County co-leaders Rachel Fitzpatrick and Jessica Dziobecki to learn more about the work they do and how others can get involved.

image 24 - Bucks County Beacon - PFLAG Bucks County: Creating a Caring, Just and Affirming World for LGBTQ+ People and Those Who Love Them

Please explain what those important initials stand for.

PFLAG is no longer an acronym, but just the name of the organization. PFLAG is the nation’s largest organization dedicated to supporting, educating, and advocating for LGBTQ+ people and those who love them.

What is the mission statement for PFLAG?

Our Mission: To create a caring, just, and affirming world for LGBTQ+ people and those who love them.

Our Vision: An equitable, inclusive world where every LGBTQ+ person is safe, celebrated, empowered, and loved.

Why is it vitally important that your organization exists?

PFLAG is a place where everyone belongs; where anyone can join wherever they are in their LGBTQ+ journey. We lead with love and allow space for people starting their journey or have been on their journey awhile and want to support others.

At PFLAG Bucks County meetings we make space for vulnerability and meet people where they are to have the challenging conversations. Rachel and I started going to PFLAG Bucks County in 2019. We both have gender diverse kids close in age and were connected through PFLAG. At PFLAG meetings we were able to express our thoughts and worries but also the successes our families were having. We gained support and understanding from the members who were showing up to meetings. PFLAG helped us feel less alone and part of a much bigger community of loving and supportive people. This is what we continue to do for our community, we offer this support each and every month.

What are some of the pressing issues/legislation/educational decisions that are being made that affect the LGBTQ+ community?

In our local community, in Bucks County, we have struggled with school boards not allowing a space for LGBTQ+ voices and representation.  School boards have changed library and bathroom policies that have marginalized our LGBTQ+ students. They have done this through trying to limit books with an LGBTQ+ voice, journey, or representation. We have seen school boards segregating students with the use of bathrooms by implementing policies that indicate students use the bathroom assigned at birth, which is against title nine. We have seen school boards look at how trans students participate in sports; this is a concerning topic because we want students to participate in sports in the way that aligns with their gender identity.

At PFLAG we know that all students do better when diversity is valued, and students are affirmed. Students need to see themselves represented in the world. All students should feel included, affirmed, and respected. Schools can do this through sports or the books they read.

Why is celebrating Pride important?

Showing up and showing love for the LGBTQ+ community is important to PFLAG. We love this community. They are our children, our siblings, our parents, and neighbors.

When PFLAG celebrates Pride we are honoring the LGBTQ+ community with the diversity and richness of identities and experiences this community brings. Visibility is crucial and the LGBTQ+ community and allies can stand together in solidarity to raise awareness, advocate for change, and promote acceptance and equality. Pride is a celebration of individual identity and expression and the LGBTQ+ community should be empowered to embrace who they are without fear. Pride is a powerful act of affirmation and advocacy that promotes equality, understanding and unity.  

Are there any particular life altering stories you have heard over the years that make you glad that you are involved?

Rachel Fitzpatrick: We have attended many meetings over the years, and nothing gives us more joy than to see when a journey starts to evolve and move from fear and worry to love and acceptance. It’s fantastic to see loved ones come back after many meetings and begin to support others. They provide encouraging words to others as their journey evolves and they move towards understanding and pride. 

Jessica Dziobecki: I am incredibly grateful to PFLAG Bucks County and am so proud to be involved with this organization. For me personally, I have become a stronger and more compassionate person and parent. Hearing the countless stories and experiences of the members that show up to PFLAG Bucks County has helped me feel less alone as a parent of a gender diverse child. The vulnerability, compassion and love people bring to these meetings is inspiring. One of the biggest takeaways from PFLAG is Leading with Love. When one fully embraces that concept and stops making decisions based on fear, change happens. When people begin coming to PFLAG meetings, they often are needing the support of others who have been on a similar journey but over time there is a shift where that person becomes the strong support for others.  

How can we as a community, whether it be people who identify as LGBTQ+ or allies heal the wounds and spread the word about acceptance? In the face of so much hatred toward the LGBTQ+ community, are there ways of changing minds and opening hearts?

Sharing your personal story if it’s safe for you to do so. Personal stories add a human element to social issues. This is the best way to break down stereotypes and misconceptions about LGBTQ+ people and those who love them. By sharing your personal experiences, it can foster empathy and understanding. Stories provide diverse perspectives and show the complexity and humanity of LGBTQ+ lives. This act can lead to a more inclusive and compassionate society. It may even inspire others to take action, whether it be advocating for LGBTQ+ rights, becoming allies, or even coming out themselves.

Are you affiliated with The Rainbow Room?

We LOVE the Rainbow Room and everything they stand for! The Rainbow Room is such a loving and special place. We are a separate organization, but we often align and come together to support the LGBTQ+ community. We attend events and support the local community by offering advocacy and resources that align. We also are connected through our meeting space. Rainbow Room offers an LGBTQ+ youth group that takes place at the same day, time, and location of our adult in-person meeting. This allows families to join and get support through two different groups. We do this so it can make it easier for folks who have a loved one that attends the Rainbow Room. They can attend our meeting at the same time as their loved one is in the Rainbow Room.

Please talk about QueeReads.

QueeReads is a beautiful book group that PFLAG Bucks County wholeheartedly supports. The host is an avid reader who has such a wealth of knowledge when it comes to LGBTQ+ books. Whether you identify as LGBTQ+ or are an ally and want to read and discuss books with queer character presentation, you are welcome to join the QueeReads book club. The host alternates between adult and YA books every month and focuses discussion on building deeper knowledge and understanding of LGBTQ+ culture.

What is Read With Love?

Read With Love is a PFLAG initiative to help empower LGBTQ+ youth in your community to learn and thrive through books. PFLAG wants to include MORE books about all kinds of topics and people in our schools and libraries.

From simple things like donating a banned book to your local library to organizing for school board meetings or hosting a #REadWith LOVe-In, you can find out ways you can get involved by going to

PFLAG Bucks County fundraised to buy more books with LGBTQ+ representation and distributed them out into the community. If you know of a place that would like these books you can fill out our survey to obtain them at

Are there events coming up with which you are involved?

Yes, thanks for asking! You can find PFLAG Bucks County at…

Abington Library PrideFest – June 6 from 6-8pm
Doylestown Block Party -June 22 from 11-5pm
Perkasie Pride at the Market- June 29 from 9-12pm
Bucks-Mont Pride- June 30 12-5pm

How can people join PFLAG?

Free to join meetings, just email us to get on our newsletter to find info on specific days & times. The email is buckscountypflag(at) To become a member complete this form.

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Picture of Edie Weinstein

Edie Weinstein

Edie Weinstein, MSW, LSW is a licensed social worker, psychotherapist, journalist, interfaith minister, speaker and author. She is the co-founder of Bucks County Kind.

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