Charlie (in shorts), Jaxon, William, and Grayson

William Placek, board member for the past five years, steps into the role of Chapter President after the resignation of long-term President Abby Maisonave. William worked closely with Abby over the past several years, and both share a friendship and deep commitment to the mission of PFLAG Jersey Shore. William lives in Monmouth County with his husband of 10 years, their five-year-old son Jaxon, and their three-year-old son Grayson.

This is my first letter to you as the new President of PFLAG Jersey Shore, and I chose today to reflect on what we have to be thankful for. Sometimes it is hard to see the silver lining in an environment with so many clouds. Our community’s struggles seem insurmountable at times, yet we must pause and give thanks for where we are compared to where we’ve been. Today, marriage is available to LGBTQ individuals across the country. Governor Christie signed legislation aimed at supporting transgender students in school. In November, days before Transgender Day of Remembrance, Virginia elected the state’s first openly transgender candidate to their house of delegates. Yes, the future is faced with many uphill battles, but today I am thankful for those we’ve already won.

November 20th of each year is a time of reflection and remembrance of those transgender sisters and brothers we have lost in previous years. Unfortunately, the list of those suffering at the hands of others continues to grow, and we must not rest until the number lands at zero! I have learned so much from the trans community and their families who attend our meetings. I look forward to continuing working with them to further improve their rights and the diversity of our communities in Monmouth & Ocean counties, the state of NJ, and our country.

I recognize I have big shoes to fill, having taken over the responsibilities of Chapter President after Abby Maisonave’s resignation. Abby spent countless hours over the past few years bringing PFLAG Jersey Shore to where it is today, and I will work diligently to ensure the mission of PFLAG Jersey Shore drives the decisions and actions of our board and chapter. Abby was instrumental in introducing me to PFLAG Jersey Shore, as she was for many of those attending our meetings. I will forever be grateful to her for her dedication in providing education, support, and advocacy on behalf of the LGBTQ community, their families, and friends.
I have been with PFLAG Jersey Shore for a little over five years now, having first attended with my infant son and my husband as part of the Ocean County support group. Shortly after, I joined the board with the task of raising money to support the mission of the chapter. I later added the role of co-facilitator at our Ocean County support meeting.

I work on the board alongside very dedicated individuals tasked with furthering the mission, and have counted myself fortunate for having been able to learn from each of them. Greg, the chapter Secretary, has been serving in his role for several years and is invaluable to the inner workings of the chapter. Michele, the co-facilitator of the Ocean County support meeting also serves in the role of chapter Treasurer and has been working hard to operationalize our budgets using her expertise gained from her job in accounts payable. Seth and Bobbie, our facilitators in our Monmouth County support meeting, both bring a wealth of knowledge and experiences to our meetings.

I remain committed to furthering PFLAG Jersey Shore’s mission, and its ability to reach more individuals and families throughout Monmouth and Ocean Counties. Change can be challenging, but with your support, I remain dedicated to ensuring PFLAG Jersey Shore continues its path in providing support, education, and advocacy on behalf of the LGBTQ community, their families, and their friends.

From my family to yours, I wish you the happiest Thanksgiving.

Dear PFLAGers, Families, and Friends,