PFLAG Riverview marks first year

ABOVE: PFLAG Riverview’s first meeting. Photo courtesy PFLAG Riverview.

Riverview, Fla. | PFLAG Riverview marked one year as a safe space for the LGBTQ community March 10, almost all of which it spent congregating virtually due to COVID-19.

PFLAG is the nation’s first and largest organization dedicated to uniting the LGBTQ community and its allies. The Riverview chapter is one of more than 400 nationwide, each of which provides confidential support, education and advocacy to those in need.

Tampa Bay is home to a growing number of chapters. After being introduced to the neighboring PFLAG Tampa, Faith Moeller and likeminded advocates formed the Riverview group she now facilitates as president.

A group of 25 attended PFLAG Riverview’s first meeting, a successful venture held just one day before the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. It became their first year’s sole in-person meeting after organizers transitioned to a virtual model.

The group had initially planned to meet monthly via Zoom, but instead opted to gather weekly to stress support for one another after the unexpected death of an attendee. “I think that’s what bonded our chapter together,” Moeller says. “We have a deep connection because we met so often.”

As time passed, PFLAG Riverview switched to bi-weekly support meetings. Moeller draws upon her own journey to LGBTQ advocacy to lead the chapter.

Her story began five years ago after her teenage daughter came out, when the two were serving in roles at a conservative Christian church. Her daughter was asked to step down from leading a youth group because of her sexuality.

“At that point our world kind of imploded,” Moeller recalls. “Our family was our church family and people just pulled away from us. We ended up leaving because it was so uncomfortable.”

The mother of four began to educate herself on LGBTQ issues. She soon met other Christian parents who’d dealt with similar experiences.

“We began to read and study about the community together, and I started volunteering at places like Metro Inclusive Health to meet LGBTQ people,” she says. “I found that they were not what the church was teaching us they were.”

Moeller now shares that with anyone she can, joined by the chapter’s other leaders to make a difference.  Since its inception, PFLAG Riverview has welcomed more than 80 individuals to its support calls, in a year when few members of the community were able to connect with one another.

“Some people come one time, others come every meeting,” Moeller says. She adds that attendees represent all parts of the ever-expanding LGBTQ community and notes the chapter hopes to begin in-person meetings soon.

“I love the diversity of our group … we’re all learning so much,” she concludes. “It’s been a blessing. This year has been difficult for everyone, but this really has been a gift for each of one of us.”

PFLAG Riverview meets confidentially via Zoom on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7 p.m. For more information, visit, email or call 813-833-7972.

Supporters who are comfortable doing so also meet socially, with interested parties encouraged to join while adhering to COVID-19 safety precautions. For more information about the organization’s April 1 event at Pinot’s Palette, click here

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