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The Onset of Shock We were devastated And he was devastated He really felt at that point that he had ruined our lives He really fell apart and we realized that we needed to find out how to get help for all of us Kathy Ward said Children often grow up to make decisions in life that their parents dont agree with But when a teenage son or daughter tells their parents that theyre gay known as coming out of the closet some parents like Kathy Ward dont know how to comprehend it It seemed like nobody could ever make a choice like that We were totally ignorant of what it meant to have a gay son Ward co-founder of Parents Friends and Family of Lesbians and Gays PFLAG It was an aspect that never touched our life at all Kathy Ward and her husband Jerry Wards experience typify many parents who find out their child gay and who struggle sometimes for years to accept their sexuality But few parents take the extra step that these parents did when they founded a chapter of PFLAG in 1990 an international organization that offers support to parents of gay children PFLAG is one of the only organizations in existence that lend help to parents Their son Darin Sturgill 35 and a Fresno State marketing graduate came out of the closet when he was 18 His parents enthralled in the rumor-laden mid-80s AIDS epidemic were confused and frightened But they never rejected their son Instead his parents opted to find therapy for themselves and to learn the facts about homosexuality Feelings of Shame Jerry and Kathy Ward had accepted their sons sexuality but kept it hidden from their friends Without any friends to turn to who could understand both of Sturgills parents felt alienated Theres a process of parents coming out as well as the kids coming out Jerry Ward co-founder of PFLAG
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