Friday, September 30, 2011

PFLAG National Response To Droid "Is My Son Gay" App

Suggestion of Replacing Parental Support With Technical Support Unhelpful, Potentially Dangerous

WASHINGTON, DC—PFLAG National (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) - the nation's original ally organization, and the largest grassroots-based non-profit for families, friends and allies of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people – has issued the following statement regarding the Is My Son Gay? app for Android, released by French developer Enneme Moi.

Jody Huckaby, Executive Director of PFLAG National, said the following:

“This app is humorless at best, and offensive—for many reasons—at worst. It is offensive in its stereotypical line of questioning, offensive in its assumption that a simple Droid application can address questions of sexual orientation, and most offensive in that it implies that the unconditional support of a parent can be replaced by technology. What loving parent would need an app for that?”

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Senator Kay Hagan Signs on as ENDA (S. 811) Cosponsor

North Carolina Senator Kay Hagan has signed on as a co-sponsor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, thanks in large part to the personal stories local PFLAG members shared with her at a recent constituent meeting in Greensboro, NC. PFLAG leaders who participated in the meeting included Linda Stroupe along with David and Joan Parker. The group spent almost 45 minutes with the Senator discussing the negative impact their transgender loved ones have felt as a result of employment discrimination. Senator Hagan's co-sponsorship is uplifting news given that the Employment Non-Discrimination Act would prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orienation and gender identity, protecting all of our LGBT friends and family.

In particular, the legislation would provide critical protections for transgender employees who often suffer greatly from employment discrimination as evidenced in the recent study released by our friends at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality. To become more familiar with the disparities many transgender people endure on the job, please take some time to read this report: Injustice at Every Turn.

From all of us at PFLAG National, we would like to thank Linda Stroupe along with David and Joan Parker for their leadership in speaking to Senator Hagan about the urgency of passing this critical legislation without delay. Their dedication and success demonstrate the powerful voices of PFLAG allies that can help influence the actions of our elected officials. For more information about the meeting with Senator Hagan, please be sure to read Linda's blog post here.

Take Action - Please visit and search for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act to see if your Members of Congress have co-sponsored ENDA yet. If they are not already co-sponsors, please call and encourage them to endorse this important legislation to advance LGBT equality today!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen Co-Sponsors Respect for Marriage Act

Today Florida Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen became the first Republican to co-sponsor the Respect for Marriage Act. The bill would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which currently outlaws same-sex marriage on the federal level. DOMA means that legal same-sex marriages in states that have marriage equality are not recognized by the United States Federal Government. This results in a number of serious problems for LGBT families, including the threat of deportation for international couples whose marriages are not taken into account in applications for residency or citizenship.

Representative Ros-Lehtinen is a Vice-Chair of the House of Representatives LGBT Equality Caucus. She was also the first Republican co-sponsor of the Every Child Deserves a Family Act, which would outlaw discrimination against same-sex couples who are seeking to adopt or become foster parents. After Representative Ros-Lehtinen became a co-sponsor of the bill to repeal DOMA, Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York (who originally introduced the bill) called her "a tremendous ally in the world’s struggles for freedom and against oppression and discrimination” and said that her support "reminds us that the march to repeal the discriminatory DOMA is not a partisan issue. … [T]he drive to end DOMA is — and must be — a collective, nonpartisan effort that unites Americans behind a simple push for equality.”

For her brave leadership on LGBT equality Representative Ros-Lehtinen has received some backlash from opposition organizations, perhaps most vocally from the Family Research Council which wrote that the Representative was "never a big fan of family issues" and "has joined the dark side."

Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen is an advocate for ALL families.

Take Action

1. If you live in her district (or know someone who does) please thank her for her support and leadership!

2. Call your Representatives and ask them to become co-sponsors of the Respect for Marriage Act. Visit to learn who your members of Congress are and to find their contact information.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Progressive LGBT Rights Signal Shift in Political Climate

The Washington Post addressed the progress gained by LGBT civil rights organizations, like PFLAG National, over the past several years. Several impressive accomplishments were included:
  • The first openly gay male federal judge was confirmed by Senate majority this year. [The New York Times]
  • President Obama has nominated four other gay candidates for the bench. [Politico]
  • California seeks to require all public schools to include LGBT history in their textbooks.[The Advocate]
  • New York lawmakers legalized same-sex marriage despite opposition from the Catholic Conference. [The New York Times]
  • President Obama has signed the Congress’ repeal of DADT, allowing LGB people to serve openly in the military. [The White House]
The article continues with discussion about the current and future debates surrounding the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and predicts that Americans will see a decision made about the controversial law in 2013. Many political figures are voicing their support for LGBT equality legislation, including the repeal of DOMA and ensuring that LGBT people have equal protection under American law.

It is our hope that in upcoming years we see the advancement of the Every Child Deserves a Family Act, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, the Student Non-Discrimination Act, the Safe Schools Improvement Act, and the Uniting American Families Act. All of these bills directly impact our families, friends, and children. Each bill seeks to protect families and keep our nation’s schools and work places safe for our LGBT loved ones. As the Washington Post article concludes, “politics are changing…but that doesn’t mean [LGBT] Americans should wait.”

Take Action- Call or write to your Senators and Representatives and ask them to support or co-sponsor these bills. Stress their relevance to your friends and family—a personal story goes a long way! Visit PFLAG’s Take Action Center to find the contact information for the officials in your state.

Friday, September 23, 2011

World-Wide Equality: President Obama Addresses Gay and Lesbian Rights at UN Council

For the first time, our President is calling for global equality for gay and lesbian people. This historic statement was heard Wednesday at the United Nations General Assembly. President Obama stated:

“No country should deny people their rights to freedom of speech and freedom of religion, but also no country should deny people their rights because of who they love, which is why we must stand up for the rights of gays and lesbians everywhere.”

PFLAG National is incredibly pleased to see our President make a public statement for lesbian and gay equality at the UN Council. This bold move inspires hope for a progressive future within our country as well as the world as a whole.

Though our President’s announcement is truly progressive and exciting, we must note the omission of the rest of our LGBT community: bisexual and transgender people. Bisexual people are often underrepresented and misunderstood, disappearing into categories which don’t accurately address their unique emotional and physical needs. Violence against transgender people is globally prevalent; unequal access to medical care, torture and abuse, extreme poverty, police violence, and forced institutionalization are common around the world.

Take Action- If you have a moment, write to the President and thank him for his inclusive testimony at the United Nations Council this Wednesday, and remind him to be mindful of all of our friends and family within the LGBT community. If you would like to research international LGBT issues further, explore The Council for Global Equality, Human Rights Watch, and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

NCAA Approves New, Inclusive Policy for Transgender Student-Athletes

In August the NCAA approved a new policy that clarifies the eligibility of transgender student-athletes to participate in sex-separated sports activities. The NCAA says the policy is “aimed at allowing the student-athlete to participate in competition in accordance with their gender identity while maintaining the relative balance of competitive equity among sports teams.” The new rules allow a transgender male who has received a medical exception for treatment with testosterone for gender transition to play on a men’s team, and forbid him from competing on a women’s team. A transgender female will be allowed to play on a women’s team after she completes one calendar year of documented testosterone suppression.Transgender females are also allowed to compete on men’s teams under this policy. This policy change is an exciting step toward inclusion for transgender students. Families will now be able to cheer-on their transgender loved ones as they play on the sports teams that correspond with their gender identities.

The NCAA thanked the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the Women’s Sports Foundation for guidance they provided on how schools can accommodate transgender athletes in a report titled “On the Team: Equal Opportunity for Transgender Student Athletes”. Dr. Pat Griffin, a co-author of the report, is Project Director for GLSEN’s (Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network) Changing the Game project. This project addresses LGBT issue in school-based athletic and physical education programs through education and advocacy.

PFLAG is excited to announce that Dr. Griffin will be presenting a workshop on Saturday, November 5 at this year’s PFLAG National Convention in Washington D.C. Dr. Griffin’s workshop, “Changing the Game: Making K-12 Sports and Physical Education Safe and Respectful for All,” will provide participants with information and resources to work with K-12 school athletics and physical education staff to make these programs welcoming for students of all sexual orientations and gender identities/expressions. Participants will learn about GLSEN’s Changing the Game project and receive resources and information about CTG initiatives that focus on empowering athletes and coaches as allies, leaders and mentors in school anti-bullying initiatives in and out of sports.

Take Action – Contact the NCAA to thank them for their leadership in adopting inclusive policies for transgender student-athletes. If you have not already, register for the 2011 PFLAG National Convention and come hear Dr. Griffin speak about advocating for LGBT students in sports.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Thoughts on the End of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

Today's guest blogger is PFLAG National board member—and PFLAG dad—Daniel Tepfer, Colonel, USAF (ret.) 

We have reached the beginning of the end of an injustice -- not only the end of 18 years of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, but the end of denying lesbian, gay and bisexual citizens the right to serve their country openly. It is only the beginning of the end because housing, medical and survivorship benefits are denied to partners/spouses because of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and there is still no opportunity for transgender citizens to serve because of medical and mental health regulations.

But change has already begun. The Huffington Post on Saturday ( reported that some service members have:\
“. . .placed photographs of their same-sex partners on their desks and attended military barbecues and softball games with their significant others. In San Diego, about 200 active-duty personnel—both gay and heterosexual—made up the nation's first military contingency to participate in a Gay Pride march this summer, carrying banners identifying their branches of service.”
To sum it all up, the cover page of last week’s Marine Corps Times ( ) stated "We're Gay. Get Over it."

Initially the only major change experienced by many will be the realization that they are not in jeopardy of being separated from the service if it is known they are lesbian, gay or bisexual. Many may choose to stay in the closet until they feel comfortable enough to come out.  After all, homophobia will not automatically disappear with repeal. But as time goes on, as with most changes in social structure, fear will decrease with more and more acceptance and understanding.

There are great articles being written about this monumental transition. Our friends at  Servicemembers Legal Defense Network feature a few of these stories on their web site ( Some of the narratives highlight first person stories of joy and hope for the future, dreams of being able to return to active duty to complete a career, and the moving account of the correction of a WWII veteran’s record 65 years after being separated from the U.S Navy for being “undesirable.”

As PFLAG members, let’s enthusiastically join the celebration of this important milestone, and then commit ourselves to continue to work for the full and equal inclusion of LGBT service members and their families.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Analysis of Transgender Discrimination Highlights Shocking Levels of Bias Against Black Transgender People

The National Black Justice Coalition, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and the National Center for Transgender Equality published a report today called Injustice at Every Turn: A Look at Black Respondents in the National Transgender Discrimination Survey. The report showcases data from the 2011 National Transgender Discrimination Survey and analyzes the responses of 381 Black transgender or gender non-conforming Americans. National Black Justice Coalition Executive Director Sharon Lettman-Hicks says, "These numbers are appalling and these living conditions are unacceptable for any human being-- gender conforming or not."

Of the respondents, 26% of Black transgender or gender non-conforming individuals were unemployed, 41% experienced homelessness at some point in their lives, and 34% live in extreme poverty making less than $10,000 each year. Additionally, 49% of respondents attempted suicide and 20% of black trans/gnc respondents were living with HIV. These statistics are massively disproportionate to the rest of the U.S. population and other racial/ethnic groups from the overall study.

On a positive note, Black transgender or gender non-conforming people who were out to their families reported higher rates of family acceptance than the rest of the survey respondents.

For more information on this report, please visit:

Friday, September 16, 2011

Senator Franken Fights Discrimination

On Wednesday Senator Al Franken of Minnesota said that there must be an “explicit ban” on discrimination against LGBT students.  In Minnesota there is a lawsuit against the Anoka-Hennepin School District for alleged harassment of six students for sexual orientation and gender nonconformity.  In Wednesday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on civil rights Senator Franken cited the accusations of bullying in his own state as evidence that existing laws (including the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act) do not offer enough protections for LGBT students.  He said “This Congress has said we need to protect LGBT Americans in the same way we protect other vulnerable groups, doesn’t it follow that we should protect LGBT students from bullying to the same extent that we protect other groups?”

Senator Franken is the sponsor of the Senate’s version of the Student Non-Discrimination Act of 2011, a bill that would “prohibit public school students from being excluded from participating in, or subject to discrimination under, any federally-assisted educational program on the basis of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity or that of their associates.”  This is much needed legislation to advance the safety of our LGBT students.  Families suffer when their children are the subject of sexual orientation and gender nonconformity-related harassment, and passage of this bill could mean real and tangible improvement in our schools.

Take Action – Call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to cosponsor the Student Non-Discrimination Act.  If you live in Minnesota call Senator Franken to thank him for his leadership in building safer schools for our LGBT students.  Visit to learn who your members of Congress are and to find their contact information.

PFLAG National Joins with Not In Our Town for National Week of Action: Communities Stand Together Against Hate

"Not In Our Town: Light in the Darkness" is a powerful new PBS documentary about a town standing together to take action after anti-immigrant violence devastates the community, thrusting them into the media spotlight. The film airs nationwide on PBS stations September 21st  (check local listings). PFLAG National is joining with Not In Our Town to launch a campaign to help communities and schools use the film and related resources to prevent hate crimes and intolerance.

Many of us live every day knowing such brutality could strike our child, loved one or friend. PFLAG has a critical role to play in helping prevent hate crime in our communities, and chapters across the country. The key is EDUCATION!

A public screening event is a productive way to engage and rejuvenate community members, and an effective tool for reaching out to and establishing new community partners. To sign up to host a community screening event during the National Week of Action, September 18 – 24, or any time this year, please visit

A Discussion Guide and Screening Kit are available for free download, and activity ideas to galvanize  and energize your community are provided. As of today, more than 180 screenings are in the works!

Hate is a community challenge, not simply a criminal issue; it is essential that diverse coalitions work together and stand up for the rights and safety of all residents. PFLAG joins a growing list of national campaign partners that includes: American Federation of Teachers; Hillel; Interfaith Alliance; Interfaith Immigration Coalition; Japanese American Citizens League; Muslim Public Affairs Council; National Hispanic Media Coalition; National League of Cities; and the U.S. Department of Justice, Community Oriented Policing Services, among many others.

It is important to recognize the intersection of identity and how this relates to our families. In particular, Latino and immigrant LGBT people face a unique situation, living with the reality of being targets of hate crimes due to national origin, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

More about “Not In Our Town: Light in the Darkness”
In 2008, a series of attacks by a group of seven local teenagers against Latino residents of the Long Island, New York town of Patchogue ended with the killing of 37-year-old Marcelo Lucero. An Ecuadorian immigrant, Lucero had been a Patchogue resident for 13 years. Filmed over a two-year period, the documentary follows Mayor Paul Pontieri, the victim's brother Joselo Lucero, community leaders, residents and students as they openly address the underlying causes of the violence, work to heal divisions and take steps to ensure everyone in their village will be safe and respected. While starkly revealing the trauma of hate, “Not In Our town: Light in the Darkness” provides a blueprint for people who want to do something before intolerance turns to violence.

Developed by The Working Group in 1995, Not In Our Town began with a PBS documentary that told the story of how people in Billings, Montana joined together to respond to a series of hate crimes in their town. This simple, powerful story of people banding together struck a chord with audiences, and created a model that inspired viewers around the country to hold their own campaigns against intolerance. Not In Our Town has grown from a PBS documentary into a national effort to connect people working together to take action against hate and create safe, inclusive communities. features short videos, text-based lessons and other resources available for free download, to help people respond to and prevent intolerance and hate violence targeting people because of their race, ethnicity, nationality, faith or sexual orientation. The Not In Our School initiative highlights new ways to make our schools safe for everyone:

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

PFLAG National Statement on North Carolina's Proposed Anti-Marriage Equality Amendment


NORTH CAROLINA—PFLAG National (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) - the nation's largest grassroots-based organization for families, friends and allies of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people – has issued the following statement regarding the North Carolina state legislature’s approval of a May 2012 ballot measure that will allow North Carolina residents to vote on amending the state constitution to bar legal recognition of any union besides marriage between one man and one woman, including civil unions and domestic partnerships for LGBT and straight couples.

Jody Huckaby, Executive Director of PFLAG National, said the following:
“We at PFLAG National are frustrated and furious that once again the legal rights of thousands of tax-paying citizens—this time in the beautiful state of North Carolina—will be put to a vote of the people. That the legislature’s vote on this ballot measure was fast-tracked, at the emotional expense of loving couples around the state and the financial expense of all North Carolinians, is even worse. The fact is this: Discrimination in marriage equality is already the law of the land in North Carolina. To attempt to constitutionalize it in North Carolina is to make it even more of an official act that will sanction and perpetuate the denial of basic human rights and dignity to fellow humans. Who will this constitutional amendment protect? Certainly not the thousands of families who live and work in the state who will have further rights stripped away from them, leaving them unprotected in matters of healthcare, estate planning, tax benefits and more.  Certainly not businesses headquartered in the state, like our partners at Bank of America, Replacements, Ltd., Mitchell Gold – Bob Williams, and the other corporations that came out in strong opposition to this proposed amendment because they understand that discrimination in any form is bad for business. And certainly not the State of North Carolina itself which, in the current economy and the wake of the destruction by Hurricane Irene, needs revenue pouring in, not resources draining as these same corporations, which have a long-standing commitment to equality and oppose discrimination in all forms, are perhaps compelled to leave the state.”

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

NC House Passes Anti-Marriage Amendment 75-42, Senate to Consider Measure Next Week

Yesterday, North Carolina’s House of Representatives voted overwhelming (75-42) for a bill that would make the State’s existing ban on same-sex marriage part of the constitution.  North Carolina is the only remaining southeastern state without a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. If the bill passes the state Senate, as it is expected to early next week, the proposed constitutional amendment will be put on North Carolina’s primary election ballots in May and voters will decide whether to adopt the amendment.

The wording of the proposed amendment is such that, if adopted, could ban not only same-sex marriage but civil unions and domestic partnerships as well. Needless to say, this action would make LGBT-headed families more vulnerable. More specifically, this kind of broad legislation would likely affect families’ access to healthcare, ability to take family leave, and ability to make health care decisions as well as many other aspects of families’ lives.

Should the Senate approve this legislation next week, North Carolina PFLAG chapters will work hard with their communities to fight this threat to our families by encouraging people to get out and vote in May, 2012. 

Take Action - If you live in North Carolina and are not registered to vote, please take a few moments and register to vote before April 1, 2012. Encourage others in your communities to register and vote as well!

Monday, September 12, 2011

CollegeWeekLive Presents Diversity Day!

Please join CollegeWeekLive on September 14th from 2-9 PM EST for a free online Diversity Day event. The event is designed to connect prospective students with colleges and universities in a live and fully interactive environment.

Diversity Day will feature Shane Windmeyer from Campus Pride who will discuss how LGBT and ally students can find welcoming and inclusive colleges and universities.  That discussion will take place from 6:00-7:00 PM EST.  He will also discuss the growing and more visible population of LGBT youth, and the ways that colleges are making efforts to recruit LGBT students to their schools.

To register for Diversity Day, please click here.  For more information on Diversity Day and other CollegeWeekLive events, please visit

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Report: Medical Schools Fall Short on Prepping New Doctors to Care for LGBT People

Results of a study published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association show that tomorrow's doctors are not spending a proportionate amount of time learning about LGBT-specific related issues in medical school. This is especially troublesome, given that LGBT people face not only the same healthcare risks as the general population, but also specific risks associated with mental health, STDs, and more.