Our History

Pflag Canada - Regina Chapter History


1. Start-up

Pflag Canada Regina Chapter was created in 1999. Founding members were Susanne Seckinger, Bernice Donnelly, Erika Grude, and Phillip Ambrosi, and Mary Anne Bachelu.

Mary Anne recognized that there was a need for support groups and education in the area of sexual diversity. At the prompting of her lesbian teenage daughter Wendy, Mary Anne contacted the Saskatoon Chapter of Pflag Canada to find out how to create a support group.

2. Early days

The Chapter met in various venues such as restaurants and libraries. The Gay & Lesbian Club of Regina also welcomed the Chapter members in their hall. The main focus of the Chapter was to provide a support network and educational group, as well as to provide awareness about various aspects of gay & lesbian life.

So once a month, 8-12 people would gather in this safe space to share individual stories, experiences and insights. The Chapter members connected with the LGBTQ community and participated in annual picnics and other social events, such as the Pride Parade in the city.

Article published in early 2000

Sensible Shoes News (SSN),

Saskatchewan’s lesbian community newsletter

written by Wanda L. Miller

At the beginning, the main focus of the Pflag Canada Regina Chapter was to provide a support network and educational group, as well as to provide awareness about various aspects of gay & lesbian life. The gatherings provided a safe space for to share individual stories, experiences and insights.

Mary Anne Bachelu & Erika Grude, the two mainstay moms of the group believe it's helpful to have a caring environment in which to talk openly about their gay children and friends. This can lead to a better understanding of the issues and concerns that a group member has about their specific circumstances, and also helps to educate the group about the diverse issues surrounding human sexuality. lt also offers the opportunity to trade, discuss and/or view related videos and articles.

The option is also available for group members to join Mary Anne and Erika in their advocacy work.

Their efforts have been directed toward meeting with and providing educational material to Boards of education at the high school level. Their hope is that by enlisting the cooperation of schools and counsellors that gay children can be better served in a positive manner from within the system.

They feel that education on the topic should become part of the curriculum at the high school and in future at the elementary school level.

The hope is that by working through the educational institutions that an atmosphere of tolerance and respect can be achieved for not only gay students but all minorities who are subjected to harassment.

While listening to the stories, I discovered that like our own lives that are constantly evolving and changing, so it is the case with Pflag Canada members. Members are at varying levels of participation and understanding. Sorne participants were sharing their first meeting while others have found the space and comfort to understand their own children and now provide support and information to·newcomers.

When asked, the group's biggest fear is gay bashing and abusive relationships. Their hope for their own chiId or friend is to have a committed family life and the same opportunities and rights that others take for granted.

The evening spent with the Pflag Canada Regina Chapter was not only enlightening but also enjoyable. If you know someone who might benefit from the support and education this group has to offer, or are someone whose experiences could be useful to others, I urge you to check it out, get involved, and help others help the cause.

Panel Presentation held at the University of Regina, 2005

by Mary Anne Bachelu

to discuss how the campus can be more supportive

towards students of different sexual orientation


I have a daughter who is a lesbian. In 1999 myself and a few other interested parents went to Saskatoon to learn how to set up a parents’ support group under Pflag Canada. We attended a workshop put on by the Saskatoon Chapter of Pflag Canada to get meetings started and access material to educate ourselves.

I remember when my daughter Wendy approached me about starting a support group, I was quite apprehensive. After researching some information on homosexuality, I learned that 1 to 3 of every 10 students are either gay, lesbian, Transgender, etc. I also learned that homophobia was rampant. I spent 14 years advocating for awareness of sexual diversity to help society understand that sexual diversity is not an aberration, I wanted society to treat sexually diverse people the same as straight people.

We approached schools in the public school sector to give talks about sexual orientation so bullying could be stopped and acceptance be the norm. We gave a presentation to the Public School Board. We attended teachers’ conventions, and met with education students at the University of Regina.

The Catholic School Board would take some pamphlets but would not let us talk to teachers or students. Then with the influence of Marion Donnelly (Regina municipal councillor), we were invited to Martin Leboldus’ Health Fair. Still, a few years later Catholic High Schools were not allowed to put up posters during Pride Week even though the Director of Education was sympathetic.

I was always open with the pastors at St. Martin Catholic Church about the advocacy I was involved in. One particular priest told that me that he thought homosexuality was a learned behavior. I was taken aback and offered some material about sexual diversity.

Eventually, I was allowed to put posters up about Pflag Canada - Regina Chapter’s monthly meetings at the church. Even though our pastor put his name of approval on the posters, they were taken down. I feel the Catholic Church has to be more open and accepting of sexually diverse people. It wouldn’t hurt to talk about sexual diversity from the pulpit a few times a year. Where is our compassion and understanding?

1-Why did I get involved in the Gay Community?

I have a daughter who is a lesbian. In 1999 myself and a few other interested parents went to Saskatoon to learn how to set up a parents’ support group under Pflag Canada. We attended a workshop put on by the Saskatoon Chapter of Pflag Canada to get meetings started and access material to educate ourselves.

I remember when my daughter Wendy approached me about starting a support group, I was quite apprehensive. After researching some information on homosexuality, I learned that 1 to 3 of every 10 students are either gay, lesbian, Transgender, etc. I also learned that homophobia was rampant. I spent 14 years advocating for awareness of sexual diversity to help society understand that sexual diversity is not an aberration, I wanted society to treat sexually diverse people the same as straight people.

2-What did we do?

We approached schools in the public school sector to give talks about sexual orientation so bullying could be stopped and acceptance be the norm. We gave a presentation to the Public School Board. We attended teachers’ conventions, and met with education students at the University of Regina.

The Catholic School Board would take some pamphlets but would not let us talk to teachers or students. Then with the influence of Marion Donnelly (Regina municipal councillor), we were invited to Martin Leboldus’ Health Fair. Still, a few years later Catholic High Schools were not allowed to put up posters during Pride Week even though the Director of Education was sympathetic.

I was always open with the pastors at St. Martin Catholic Church about the advocacy I was involved in. One particular priest told that me that he thought homosexuality was a learned behavior. I was taken aback and offered some material about sexual diversity.

Eventually, I was allowed to put posters up about Pflag Canada - Regina Chapter’s monthly meetings at the church. Even though our pastor put his name of approval on the posters, they were taken down. I feel the Catholic Church has to be more open and accepting of sexually diverse people. It wouldn’t hurt to talk about sexual diversity from the pulpit a few times a year. Where is our compassion and understanding ?