Local group reflects in support of LGBTQ+ community

Panelists discuss various issues relating to the struggles of youth and the LGBTQ community at the Celebration of Pride event at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Newhall. Samie Gebers/The Signal

Scotty Donohue, who is now happily married to his husband, relived his experience and struggles as a youth on Saturday.

“It’s tough to challenge the world and face something that God gave you,” Donohue said during a panel discussion about what many LGBTQ+ youth are facing in Santa Clarita.

Donohue explained that, with a help from a trusted school counselor, groups such as Parents and Friends of Gays and Lesbians (PFLAG) and a gain in self confidence, he has become the person he is today.

PFLAG, along with St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Newhall, hosted a Celebration of Pride. The event included a showing of the short film TREVOR and a panel discussion about issues and challenges youth face.

Garrett Wedel delivers a speech about his journey of self acceptance at the Celebration of Pride event at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Newhall on Sunday. Samie Gebers/The Signal

PFLAG’s Santa Clarita chapter was started by Peggy Stabile 29 years ago after her son came out to her about being gay.

“There were no resource whatsoever for any gay, lesbian, bisexual or  transgender individuals in our community,” Stabile said.

As their group grew in numbers, Stabile’s home became unsuitable for the monthly meetings.

“Many churches didn’t feel it was appropriate to host an organization such as ourselves,” she said.

That is when St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church stepped into the picture to provide space for the group to meet.

“I knew that once a month I could come here and have a safe space to vent no matter what,” said Andrew Taban, a PFLAG board member.

Taban, who is now openly gay, struggled with finding a support system in his teens.

You grow up struggling,” Taban said “You feel like there are no resources.”

He became involved with PFLAG when he was 15 years old, and after immersing himself in the LGBTQ+ community for a number of years, he began to see improvement in resources and support.

It feels nice to know that all of the hard work payed off,” Taban said.

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