Tuesday, April 12, 2016

PFLAG Statement On NC Executive Order

Contact: Liz Owen, Director of Communications, PFLAG National | lowen@pflag.org | (323) 404-3185  

PFLAG Statement On NC Executive Order

GREENSBORO, NC—PFLAG National board member--and Greensboro, NC resident--Linda Stroupe today issued the following statement in response to North Carolina Gov. McCrory’s Executive Order:
“PFLAG’s position on HB2 has not changed: it must be repealed. Both the law and the Executive Order will continue to treat people who are LGBTQ differently than others and compromise their individual dignity in the process.
PFLAG leaves no member of our extended family behind; HB2 does. #WeAreNotThis.”

-- Linda Stroupe, Greensboro, NC
Board Member, PFLAG National
Volunteer Regional Director, South Atlantic Region

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Press Statement: PFLAG National Salutes HIV Organ Policy Equity (HOPE) Act Saving First Lives

PFLAG National Salutes HIV Organ Policy Equity (HOPE) Act Saving First Lives

WASHINGTON, DC—PFLAG National Executive Director Jody M. Huckaby reacted to today’s historic double transplant from an HIV-infected donor to an HIV-infected recipient: 

“Today’s historic organ transplants of a liver and kidney from an HIV-infected deceased donor to recipients living with HIV infection would not have happened without passage of the HIV Organ Policy Equity (HOPE) Act, for which PFLAG members across the country fought so hard to become law. As a former leader of AIDS service organizations, I am personally proud that PFLAG holds HIV/AIDS policy as a health equity priority, especially for people of color, mostly gay and bisexual men, and transgender women.                                                                                                                   

I also can’t help but feel emotional as I recall the courageous life of Belynda Dunn, an African-American HIV-positive AIDS advocate in Massachusetts who was denied a life-saving organ transplant because of her HIV status and coinfection with Hepatitis C. When HIV/AIDS and social justice advocates including the late Mayor Thomas M. Menino from Boston raised private funds and finally got her insurer to allow the transplant, it was too late to save her life.  Thanks to those who supported The HOPE Act, stories like Belynda’s will become more and more rare. In fact, as of today, 30 hospitals across the country that are qualified to perform these transplants have formed a consortium to prepare others to qualify.  

PFLAGers everywhere thank the family of today’s generous donor, the organ recipients and their families, and these medical professionals, researchers and advocates; we all share this humble victory.”

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Statement from PFLAG's NC State Coordinator on State Repeal of LGBT Protections

"Today, our legislative leaders launched an attack on our families and on the American ideals of fairness and inclusion, passing a bill that not only bans all cities from enacting LGBT nondiscrimination ordinances (which would protect both residents of North Carolina and visitors to our state), but also voids all current protections on the books, such as those recently passed by the city of Charlotte. That ordinance also included protections for all of our veterans who have served; those protections have also been stripped.

Rather than taking even 24 hours to meet with our families and to hear from more businesses to gain understanding of the harm this legislation will do, Governor McCrory instead signed it into law in a Wednesday night fellowship of discrimination.

We are undeterred and PFLAG chapters, members, and supporters across North Carolina will continue to raise our collective voices, asking our neighbors and colleagues to join us in holding our elected officials accountable to the values of equality, opportunity, and fairness. This law must be repealed and we will continue to mobilize and speak out until it is."

-- Ginger Feimster, PFLAG North Carolina State Coordinator
President, PFLAG Gaston

Thursday, March 17, 2016

PFLAG National Announces Eighth Annual Straight for Equality Gala Honorees

NEW YORK CITY, MARCH 17, 2016—PFLAG National—the nation's largest organization uniting families, allies, and people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ)—today announced it will honor Emmy and Tony Award-winning actress and singer Kristin Chenoweth, speaker/author Dr. Melissa Harris-Perry, and Wells Fargo at the 8th Annual Straight for Equality Awards Gala.

Chenoweth will receive the Straight for Equality in Entertainment award, Harris-Perry will receive the inaugural Straight for Equality in Media award, and Wells Fargo will receive the Straight for Equality in the Workplace honors on Monday, April 4, 2016 at the Marriott Marquis New York in Times Square.

PFLAG National also announced that actor/comedian Alec Mapa will once again return as host for the evening. Also announced: a special performance from the 2015 Tony Award winner for Best Musical, FUN HOME. Additional special guests will be announced soon.
Straight for EqualityTM—a national outreach and education project created by PFLAG National— invites, educates, and engages the next generation of allies joining together with LGBTQ people in the effort to achieve equality for all. Straight for Equality awards are presented to individuals who are transforming the way that LGBTQ people are understood and treated, using their talents and platforms in their respective fields to empower others to become engaged and outspoken allies for fairness, diversity, and inclusion.
Emmy and Tony Award-winning actress and singer Kristin Chenoweth will receive the Straight for Equality in Entertainment award. Chenoweth has long been an outspoken ally to the LGBTQ community, speaking out, for example, as a person of strong faith in favor of marriage equality, and in support of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and GLSEN. The Point Foundation has honored her work as an ally, as has GLAAD. Past recipients of the Straight for Equality in Entertainment Award include Sir Patrick Stewart, OBE, Sigourney Weaver, Audra McDonald and Will Swenson, Ally Sheedy, Rosie Perez, Liza Minnelli, and TRANSPARENT’s Jill Soloway.

"Kristin Chenoweth has long been an ally that PFLAG National has wanted to honor," said PFLAG National President Jean Hodges. "We are thrilled that this year we will have the opportunity to do so at our largest event of the year. Kristin truly proves that to be a person of faith and an ally to the LGBTQ community do not have to be mutually exclusive."
“I am truly honored to be recognized by PFLAG National, an organization that has spent over 40 years on the frontlines working with people who are LGBTQ, their families and allies,” said Chenoweth of receiving the award. “I speak out as an ally because it’s my truth, it’s what’s in my heart. And, with all of the negativity out in the world, I think it’s especially important for LGBTQ youth to hear people of strong faith supporting them; I’m proud to be one of them.”
Emmy Award-winning comedian and actress Rosie O’Donnell will take the stage to present the award to Chenoweth.
Dr. Melissa Harris-Perry will receive the inaugural Straight for Equality in Media award, recognizing her for her fearless stance in covering issues at the intersections of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, race, class, and religion. The former host of Melissa Harris-Perry has covered a wide variety of topics on television, in her book Sister Citizen, and in her teaching at Wake Forest University, from more mainstream issues such as marriage equality to critical, but often less-discussed ones such as the treatment of trans inmates in the prison system; that coverage has been brave, consistent, and always inclusive of LGBTQ voices. Her advocacy on behalf of the LGBTQ movement, in particular as an ally to the trans community, has placed such discussions in the mainstream while reminding people that progress has been made, but there is still much work to be done.
“Dr. Harris-Perry’s passion for social justice is absolutely inspiring. We are honored to recognize her work and her words, which are an essential voice in the current conversation about diversity and intersectionality,” said Hodges.
“I am deeply honored and moved to receive this award from PFLAG. At this same time, I am reminded that being an ally is a position of relative privilege, it is the bodies, lives, souls, and families of LGBT youth and adults that suffer daily surveillance and violence. As a cis, straight woman it is not just an ally role, but a fundamental responsibility to help dismantle inequality,” said Perry.
Wells Fargo will receive the Straight for Equality in the Workplace honors, given each year to a corporation that demonstrates outstanding leadership in creating inclusive and supportive workplaces —both through policy and organizational culture, internally and externally—for LGBTQ employees through engagement of allies.
Wells Fargo’s dedication to diversity and inclusion is evident in its rich history of ensuring fair and equal treatment for LGBT employees, customers, small business owners, and community members nationwide: the organization added sexual orientation to its non-discrimination policy in 1987 and was the first financial institution to join the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. In addition, every year since 2003, Wells Fargo has received a score of 100 on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index. Wells Fargo was also named, multiple times, as top company for LGBT employees by DiversityInc.
“Through working with the Wells Fargo Employee Resource Group, PRIDE Team Member Network, offering online ally education programs, we have had the privilege of seeing the impact of those efforts on ally engagement at Wells Fargo,” said PFLAG National Interim Executive Director Elizabeth Kohm. “We are also proud to partner with the Wells Fargo Foundation to carry forward the value of inclusion into our work for safe schools and safe communities for the LGBTQ community. We are excited to honor the organization’s achievements and commitment to equality.”
“Wells Fargo’s commitment to the LGBT community goes back nearly 30 years,” said John Lake, LGBT Segment Leader for Wells Fargo.  "The results of PFLAG’s successful work to engage and educate LGBT allies illustrates the impact that is possible when diverse individuals work together toward a common goal.  Wells Fargo is grateful and humbled to receive this prestigious recognition.”
With diversity and inclusion as a top priority of the work accomplished through PFLAG National’s Straight for Equality program, leaders from a broad spectrum of industries will be highlighted throughout the evening. FINRA Chairman and CEO, Richard Ketchum will play a part in this year’s gala, which will be co-chaired by Johnson & Johnson’s Chief Diversity Officer, Wanda Bryant Hope and Marriott International’s Vice President of Multi-Cultural Affairs, Apoorva Gandhi.

Previous honorees Johnson & Johnson, KPMG, Marriott, Whirlpool, and MetLife are just a few of the nearly 30 corporate partners supporting the gala. Others include Walmart, General Motors, Chobani, American Airlines, Alcoa, and Lockheed Martin. The Eighth Annual Straight for Equality Awards Gala will be held on Monday, April 4, 2016 in New York City at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel. For a full list of corporate partners and information on how to become a corporate partner, or to purchase tickets or a table, please visit straightforequality.org/2016Gala or call (202) 467-8180 x218.
Founded in 1972 with the simple act of a mother publicly supporting her gay son, PFLAG National is the original family and ally organization. Made up of parents, families, friends, and allies uniting with people who are LGBT, PFLAG is committed to advancing equality through its mission of support, education and advocacy. PFLAG has more than 350 chapters and 200,000 supporters crossing multiple generations of American families in major urban centers, small cities and rural areas in all 50 states. To learn more, please visit pflag.org, or follow us on Facebook (/pflag) or Twitter (@pflag)

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

PFLAG National Statement on Vetoed Anti-Trans Legislation in South Dakota

PFLAG National Interim Executive Director Elizabeth Kohm has just released the following statement regarding South Dakota Governor Daugaard's veto of HB 1008:

"PFLAG National and our 200,000 nationwide members and supporters thank S. Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard for vetoing a bill which would have been the first piece of legislation in our country that directly targets transgender students. It is clear that meeting with families and their trans kids opened the governor’s eyes, heart, and mind. However, more than a dozen pieces of similar legislation in other states are sending a clear and devastating message to transgender children and their families: that they should--and will--be treated differently. PFLAG calls for our members, supporters, and all fair-minded Americans to join us in holding legislators and leaders accountable and responsible when their actions do not uphold the American ideals of equality, opportunity, and fairness."

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

PFLAG National statement on marriage order from Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore

PFLAG National has issued the following statement from Interim Executive Director Elizabeth Kohm, regarding Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore's order to continue that state’s ban on same-sex marriage:

“In June 2015, the United States Supreme Court issued its ruling on the freedom to marry. Six months later, in his State of the Judiciary report, Chief Justice Roberts stated that the courts '...should not miss the opportunity to help ensure that federal court litigation does not degenerate into wasteful clashes over matters that have little to do with achieving a just result.' It is clear Chief Justice Moore missed both memos.”

Monday, December 21, 2015

FDA Final Rule on Blood Donation Deferral Policy

PFLAG National Statement on FDA Final Rule on Blood Donation Deferral Policy regarding Gay and Bisexual Men and Transgender People (issued on Dec. 21, 2015)

The FDA final rule is long overdue to remove the lifetime ban for MSM and transgender people but leaves intact a flawed concept that remains a vehicle for discrimination and stereotyping. A blanket ineligibility policy if someone has had MSM sex within the year regardless of their individual risk assessment is replacing an outdated ban with a stigmatizing celibacy test.  PFLAG fully supports the goal of having the highest quality blood supply and that our policies should be based on science -based practices but is disappointed that individual risk assessment as the policy construct was examined but did not shape the final rule. We believe that evidence-based decisions must be applied universally to be fair and that a health history review that measures individual risk should be the gateway for eligibility to contribute to our nation’s blood supply.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 21, 2015
Contact: Elizabeth Kohm, Interim Executive Director, PFLAG National | bkohm@pflag.org (202) 467-8180 
Founded in 1972 with the simple act of a mother publicly supporting her gay son, PFLAG is the original family and ally organization. Uniting people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) with families, friends, and allies, PFLAG is committed to advancing equality through its mission of support, education, and advocacy. PFLAG has more than 400 chapters and 200,000 supporters crossing multiple generations of American families in major urban centers, small cities, and rural areas in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. To learn more, visit pflag.org.