Thursday, May 19, 2016

PFLAG National Statement on House Passage of NDAA: "Another failure for fairness..."

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 19, 2016
Contact: Liz Owen, Director of Communications, PFLAG National | lowen@pflag.org | (323) 404-3185  

PFLAG National Statement on House Passage of NDAA
“Another failure for fairness…”

WASHINGTON, DC—PFLAG National Executive Director Jody M. Huckaby issued the following statement in response to today’s passage by the House of the National Defense Authorization Act:

PFLAGers everywhere support the freedom of religion, but not when it is used as a weapon against our LGBTQ loved ones. Today’s failure by the House to pass an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), introduced by Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), is yet another failure for fairness, with the House ignoring the voices of the 70% of Americans who support protection of LGBTQ people against discrimination. The NDAA fails our basic test: Will people who are LGBTQ be treated differently than other protected classes of people? The answer is yes. So, we say no to the NDAA as passed in the House today.”
– Jody M. Huckaby, Executive Director
PFLAG National


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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, follow us on Twitter (@pflag) or like us on Facebook (/pflag).


Friday, May 13, 2016

Tips and Talking Points from PFLAG National: Educate about anti-trans bills


PFLAG National is proud to have so many people who are transgender and gender expansive and their loved ones as part of the extended family of PFLAG. Now is a critical time for all of us who value inclusion to add our voices to the conversations happening across the country about HB2 and anti-transgender discrimination.

We thought it would be helpful to provide a list of questions we’ve been hearing and some helpful responses, some further talking points to share, and data for your use and reference.

Thank you for all that you do, and for raising your voices in favor of fairness and dignity.

Section 1: Education and Understanding

When a colleague or neighbor turns to you looking for information, it’s time to step up--as PFLAGers always do--and meet them, wherever they are. Some come to us with no information, some come already supportive and wanting to learn more, and some come to us from, perhaps, a less-than-supportive place. Regardless of their position when they first approach you, we have an opportunity to use support and education as a tool to move people along on the issues.

Here are some of the top questions we are hearing, with some guidance on answering them.

Q: What exactly is that law (HB2) in North Carolina and why is it getting so much attention?

A: While anti-LGBTQ and anti-trans people try to frame it about keeping bathrooms safe for women and children, HB2 is actually a far-reaching law that has already had a major negative economic impact in the state of North Carolina. The law affects employment, restricts wage levels, and prohibits individuals from bringing any civil action based on the law when there are charges of discrimination. It requires people to use state facilities in accord with the sex indicated on their birth certificate, not aligned with their gender identity, prohibits any municipality in the state from passing nondiscrimination ordinances, and renders current ones moot, like the one voted on in Charlotte. This is not about bathrooms, and our transgender loved ones are paying the price, with their rights and their dignity. As the US Attorney General stated, "far from protecting vulnerable populations from harm, this law inflicts indignity on a vulnerable population that already suffers far more than its fair share; it harms innocent Americans."

Q: I thought these laws were about making sure that pedophiles do not go into bathrooms?

A: That is being stated as the reason, but it is wrong and offensive for multiple reasons. First, it’s already illegal for people to commit assault against other people, and everyone supports that. This off-topic argument is part of the distractive discussion to avoid facing the real issue: discrimination. Second, it is just wrong to state that anyone who is transgender is a pedophile because they are going into the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity.

Q: Why is this even an issue? Is this just more political correctness?

A: I agree: It should not be an issue. Men should use facilities for men and women should use facilities for women; men shouldn’t be in the bathroom with women. Transgender men are men. Transgender women are women. They have been using public facilities for years. This issue affects more than transgender people; people whose gender expression does not match what society might expect also risk being challenged, and that is an extreme example of gender-policing political correctness. Even Target's policy isn't new: their announcement was simply to reinforce an already-existing policy.

Q: I don’t understand; I do not know any transgender people so this does not make any sense to me.

A: I get it; it can be confusing. I was you once but now because of my involvement with PFLAG, I know transgender people and their families and have learned a lot and keep learning. I am happy to answer your questions. You might actually know transgender people, contrary to the crazy scare tactics being used right now. They are your neighbors and colleagues who may not have not disclosed they are transgender, they are just going about their lives, like you and I. I will say that once you do know someone is transgender, you will want them to share their story with you because their authenticity and courage will inspire you like it does me.

Q: Why don’t people keep this stuff private instead of talking about it all the time?

A: I agree with you that the topic of bathroom and locker room use should be private and should not be used as camouflage to disguise discrimination. Transgender people in general, like anyone else, would rather this not be a topic of conversation, and trans people didn’t raise it.

Q: Is this really an issue in our community?

A. The issue of discrimination is true in any community and yes, the issues of LGBTQ discrimination in our community are real and why I am involved with PFLAG. The law in North Carolina and the other laws across the country that are targeting the transgender community mask real facts and are sending an ugly message to vulnerable people, especially kids. Nearly half of young transgender people have seriously thought about taking their lives, and one quarter report having made a suicide attempt.* Thirty-three percent of students heard negative remarks at school specifically about transgender people. Less than two-thirds of students (61%) could identify at least six supportive school staff.** Most adult transgender people have experienced violence against them and these laws are making them feel very unsafe.


*Grossman, A.H. & D'Augelli, A.R. (2007). Transgender Youth and Life-Threatening Behaviors. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behaviors.37(5), 527-37. ** GLSEN: The 2013 National School Climate Survey.


Section 2: Talking Points

- PFLAGers everywhere stand with the transgender community and all those who do not fit the gender mold against the false narrative that is being perpetuated. Together we will write a different story by sharing our own, both to change hearts and minds and to educate people about the facts.

- Our families should not be treated differently, and the wrong message is being sent ​especially to youth that discrimination against one group of people because of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression is acceptable in 2016.

- It is not acceptable that any person should be subject to discrimination in their use of public facilities or services.

- People who are LGBTQ have a desperate need for workplace protections, and should have the same workplace rights and responsibilities as anyone else. In fact, the majority of Americans already agree that people in the workplace should be judged on the merits of their work, not based on who they are; that is fair.

- PFLAG members and supporters continue to be grateful and supportive of the hundreds of businesses who have spoken out.​​



Section 3: Resources and Data


From PFLAG National

-guide to being a trans ally, a publication from our Straight for EqualityTM program

OUR TRANS LOVED ONES: Questions and Answers for Parents, Families and Friends of People Who are Transgender and Gender Expansive


From our partners

Statement from National Task Force on Violence

Injustice at Every Turn: The National Transgender Discrimination Survey Report

Movement Advancement Project Equality Maps on States with Nondiscrimination Laws

The Williams Institute - LGB within the T: Sexual Orientation in the National Transgender Discrimination Survey and Implications for Public Policy


From the media

http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2016/images/05/09/transgender.rights.pdf


Helpful Statistics

CNN/Opinion Research Corp. (ORC) poll released on May 9th :

57 percent of Americans reject laws like NC’s HB 2.

75 percent of Americans support comprehensive nondiscrimination protections for transgender people.

80 percent of Americans support comprehensive nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people.

- The Movement Advancement Project

  • The Movement Advancement Project reports that 52% of the LGBT population lives in states that do not prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

- National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE)/The National LGBTQ Task Force

  • Extreme poverty - respondents were nearly four times more likely to have a household income of less than $10K/year compared to the general population.
  • 53% reported being verbally harassed or disrespected in a place of public accommodation, including hotels, restaurants, buses airports and government agencies.
  • Respondents experienced widespread abuse in the public sector and were often abused at the hands of “helping” professionals and government officials. One-fifth (22%) were denied equal treatment by a government agency or official. 29% reported police harassment or disrespect; 12% had been denied equal treatment or harassed by judges or court officials.
  • 43% maintained most of their family bonds, while 57% experienced significant family rejection.
  • 63% of survey participants had experienced a serious act of discrimination -- events that would have a major impact on a person’s quality of life and ability to sustain themselves financially or emotionally.

- The Williams Institute

  • 41% of respondents attempted suicide - 41% of respondents reported attempting suicide compared to 1.6% of the general population, with rates rising for those who lost a job due to bias (55%), were harassed/bullied in schools (51%), had low household income or were the victim of physical assault (61%) or sexual assault (64%).

- GLSEN

  • Those who expressed a trans identity or gender non-conformity while in grades K-12 reported harassment (78%), physical assault (35%) and sexual violence (12%); severe harassment led to nearly one-sixth (15%) to leave school in K-12 settings or in higher education.

Please stay connected to PFLAG National through our website (pflag.org), Like us on Facebook (facebook.com/pflag), and follow us on Twitter (twitter.com/pflag), for continued up-to-date developments.

PFLAG National Statement on ACA Regulation on Anti-LGBTQ Discrimination

"Today, the Obama administration finalized a regulation that clarified that anti-LGBTQ discrimination is prohibited in the Affordable Care Act and its covered benefits and services. PFLAGers everywhere thank the Administration and the leadership of Health and Human Services Sec. Burwell for ensuring that LGBTQ people are protected against discrimination under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Our loved ones’ well being depends on access to healthcare coverage and related services; Section 1557 will see that they receive this care, the same as all other Americans. With so many of our families struggling to find insurance carriers that cover LGBTQ-specific needs, this rule gives our families much-needed hope and protection."

- Diego M. Sanchez, APR
Director of Policy, PFLAG National

PFLAG National Statement on DOE/DOJ Guidance on Transgender Students

"PFLAG families everywhere thank the Obama Administration’s Departments of Education and Justice for this unequivocal statement of support of our LGBTQ children. As a retired schoolteacher, I know that it is absolutely possible to have policies in place that protect the safety all students, including trans students; my own district in Boulder, Colorado is being held up as a model of success on this front. We understand that for many adults there is a learning curve on these issues, and PFLAG can help with that education. But we must shift our fear in favor of what is fair and just. I am thrilled and gratified that the administration is aware of the issues and is standing up for what is right for all students so that all may attend school in a safe and discrimination-free environment."

– Jean Hodges, President
PFLAG National

Thursday, May 12, 2016

PFLAG Statement On Massachusetts State Senate Passage of Transgender Nondiscrimination Bill

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 12, 2016
Contact: Liz Owen, Director of Communications, PFLAG National | lowen@pflag.org | (323) 404-3185  

PFLAG Statement On Massachusetts State Senate
Passage of Transgender Nondiscrimination Bill

BOSTON, MA—PFLAG National Director of Policy--and Boston, MA resident--Diego M. Sanchez, APR today issued the following statement in response to today’s passage of SB735 by the Massachusetts Senate:
Today, the Senate of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts took a tremendous step forward in the fight for fairness and dignity for our transgender loved ones, overwhelmingly passing SB 735. If passed through the House as well, this bill will grant people who are transgender access to public services and facilities without discrimination. We applaud this step, and will proudly and strongly continue to advocate for the House to schedule a vote on this bill. We will also keep advocating for both chambers to move forward with the bill to end the practice of so-called reparative therapy, which will further the cause of supporting the health and well being of all of the members of our PFLAG family. As a resident of Massachusetts, and a person who is transgender, I personally thank the state senate for taking this important step forward.

-- Diego M. Sanchez, APR
Resident of Boston, MA
Director of Policy, PFLAG National

###
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 community.pflag.org, follow us on Twitter (@pflag) or like us on Facebook (/pflag).

Monday, May 9, 2016

PFLAG National Statement on DOJ Action in North Carolina on HB2

"We thank Attorney General Loretta Lynch and the Department of Justice for their decisive actions in favor of respect and fairness for our transgender loved ones and their families. The North Carolina legislature is playing “distract and divide” politics by reducing the real facts of the discrimination enshrined in HB2 down to “bathrooms,” and our transgender loved ones are paying the price, with their rights and their dignity. PFLAGers everywhere stand with them and with all of our North Carolinian LGBTQ loved ones and their families. Together we will write a different story by sharing our own, both to change hearts and minds and to educate people about the facts of our families; together, we will put an end to HB2. "

-- Linda Stroupe, Greensboro, NC
Board Member, PFLAG National

Volunteer Regional Director, South Atlantic Region

Friday, May 6, 2016

PFLAG Statement On NC Legislature Response to US Department of Justice on HB2

"PFLAG’s position that HB2 violates the civil rights--and tramples the dignity--of our transgender loved ones has been reaffirmed, this time by the U.S. Department of Justice. We urge North Carolina’s legislators to meet the Justice Department’s deadline and confirm that they will not implement the dangerous and damaging HB2, at the risk of losing hundreds of millions of federal dollars. PFLAGers across North Carolina, and across the country, thank the Department of Justice for taking this stand: we will not let up...because #WEARENOTTHIS!"

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