Friday, October 28, 2011

Canadian LGBT Health Organization Sponsors Bisexual Anti-Stigma Campaign

The Rainbow Health Ontario website is designed to help LGBT people and health care providers understand LGBT health issues. Though this organization is based in Canada, they deal with universal LGBT health concerns. Because LGBT face heightened stigma in societies around the world, they often do not receive adequate and appropriate healthcare. LGBT people often withhold information about their sexual orientation or gender identity from their doctors for fear of discrimination or prejudices, and some LGBT health care providers may not be educated about specific LGBT health issues or be sensitive to LGBT people’s unique needs.


RHO's newest resource for the LGBT community and healthcare providers is a campaign that focuses on the stigma against bisexual people within (and outside of) the LGBT community itself. Those who are particularly disregarded are bisexual mothers, transgender bisexuals, bisexuals of color, and bisexual youth. The resource titled, “This is Our Community…because I fight for all of our rights” contains four posters of these marginalized bisexual groups and a short paragraph about the challenges they face.


Some common myths of bisexual people are: Bisexuals are confused about their sexuality (implying they can only be gay, lesbian or straight), all bisexuals are gender-conforming (rather than transgender), and that bisexuals cannot be monogamous (suggesting bisexuals are unfaithful and cannot commit to one person).


The final paragraph sums up RHO’s campaign goal for their new bisexuality anti-stigma campaign. “We are proud to be bisexual and proud to be part of the LGBTQ community. Let’s work together to challenge biphobic myths and stereotypes, increase bisexual visibility, and celebrate the contributions that bisexuals make to our communities.”


For more information about bisexuality, take a look www.binetusa.org, check out The American Institute of Bisexuality for bisexuality resources, academic studies, and online magazine.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Religious Anti-LGBT Coalition Voices Opposition to Maryland Marriage Equality

PFLAG National recently lobbied in Annapolis with Marylanders for Marriage Equality, a coalition that includes many national and LGBT and ally organizations (including PFLAG National) urging legislators to pass the marriage equality bill and gender identity non-discrimination bill by the end of 2012.

And yet some still oppose equal rights for Maryland citizens. Rev. Errol Gilliard, Sr., of Baltimore’s Greater Harvest Baptist Church, is leading his religious group against marriage equality. His ironically named coalition, the “Progressive Clergy and Laity in Action” (PCLA), has about 75 individual local members including the Maryland Catholic Conference, the Family Research Council affiliate Maryland Family Alliance, Missionary Baptist Ministers’ Conference of DC & Vicinity, and several Baptist churches in Baltimore.

“We are not a hate group,” Rev. Gilliard said to The American Independent, “This is not just a few preachers who are bigots.” Gilliard supports civil unions for same-sex couples, but stands firm against marriage equality because “the Bible is right….same-sex marriage is wrong.” He hopes to sway the African-American Democratic leaders in Maryland and convince them to vote against the marriage equality bill.

However, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley has promised to support the marriage equality bill when it is re-introduced. He appeared in a video sponsored by Marylanders for Marriage Equality and voiced his support: “I’m a Marylander for marriage equality. As a free and diverse people of many different faiths, we choose to be governed under the law by certain fundamental principles. Among them—equal protection under the law for any individual and for free exercise of religion without government intervention.” Religious organizations will not be forced to marry same-sex couples under the proposed marriage equality law.

Gov. O’Malley touches upon something the PCLA seems to forget—though we have the right to practice any religion we chose, we also have the right to equality under the law. Personal religious beliefs are not grounds for denying an entire population of tax-paying citizens the equal rights they deserve.

Take Action: Join PFLAG National in our fight to gain marriage equality in Maryland! Visit Equality Maryland’s website and Marylanders for Marriage Equality to learn how you can contribute to achieving equal relationship recognition for LGBT Marylanders.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The 2011 Out & Equal Workplace Summit

This week PFLAG National Staff will be attending the Out & Equal Workplace Summit in Dallas, TX to attend the conference, present workshops, and exhibit for the 5th consecutive year.

Throughout the week PFLAG National staff will be presenting four all-new workshops, participating in two panel discussions, and staffing booth number 104 in the exhibit hall. The summit will be attended by over 2,500 human resources professionals, diversity and inclusion managers, employee resource group leaders, and nonprofit representatives. The Workplace Summit is a wonderful opportunity for PFLAG National to make meaningful connections, share best practices, and develop innovative and exciting ideas to demonstrate a commitment to workplace equality.

Jean Marie Navetta, Robby Gregg, and Jamie Henkel of the Equality and Diversity Partnerships team (who are primarily responsible for the Straight for Equality Project) will be joined at the summit by PFLAG National’s Executive Director Jody Huckaby, Director of Communications Liz Owen, and Corporate & Foundation Giving Manager Jared Harrison. The summit gives PFLAG National and Straight for Equality an opportunity to spend time with our current corporate partners, learn more about what potential partners are looking for, and share information about our new workplace trainings and other PFLAG projects.

Through PFLAG National’s Straight for Equality project we bring a unique understanding of what it means to be a straight ally in the workplace. As the original ally organization, PFLAG’s 40 years of experience working with families and friends of the LGBT community provides us with unmatched perspective on the role of allies and the power that they hold as advocates for equality. Our trainings provide potential allies with a politics-free case for LGBT equality and help them realize why these issues should be important to them. They also include small but meaningful ways that allies can change their behavior to support their gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender friends and colleagues in the workplace.

If you are attending Out & Equal, stop by our booth, or come to one—or more—of our tranings!

Tuesday, October 25th
1:30 pm-3:00 pm
(Effectively) Telling Your Story for Workplace Equality
Presented by: Jean-Marie Navetta and Jody M. Huckaby 

Tuesday, October 25th
3:30 pm-6:00 pm
Multiple Identities: Engaging LGBT Employees from Communities of Color
Presented by: Robby Gregg, Sonia Alleyne, Anton Mack, Keith Powell, Kylar Broaddus

Bullies, Allies & Superheroes: A "No Dumb Questions" Approach to Empathy & Action
Presented by: Liz Owen, Melissa Regan, Christopher Thompson, and Michael Jungen

Buzz: Creating It, Changing It, and Managing It

Presented by: Jean-Marie Navetta and Rob Ohlau

Wednesday, October 26th
3:00 pm-5:30 pm
I’m not LGBT…Not That There’s Anything Wrong with That: Coming Out as a Straight Ally
Presented By: Jean-Marie Navetta and Liz Owen

Thursday, October 26th
10:30 am-12:00 pm
The ADVANCED Care & Feeding of Straight Allies: Pushing the Envelope to Forge New Ground
Presented by: Jean-Marie Navetta and Jody M. Huckaby

 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Millions “Go Purple” Today To Promote Anti-Bullying Awareness

Millions around the world are wearing purple today as a sign of solidarity against LGBT bullying. The “Spirit Day” began when Brittany McMillan created the statement two years ago. She wanted to visually prove to fellow LGBT students that they were supported and weren’t alone. She chose purple because of its symbolic meaning of spirit on the rainbow flag. Brittany encouraged her friends and community to “go purple,” and she saw an amazing response: Over 2 million people answered the call last year.

Though bullying is a major problem for all students, not just LGBT, Brittany wanted to highlight the impact of homophobia in particular. Nearly 9 out of 10 LGBT students report being harassed verbally in school, and 44% report being physically harassed. About two thirds of these students never reported the incident. Today people across the world are wearing purple, tinting their Facebook and Twitter profile pictures purple, and spreading the word about the bullying and harassment LGBT students face every day.

This message of unity for LGBT youth and honor for those who have died in the past shows the young LGBT students around the country that there are millions who support, love, and care for them. Just this weekend, the door of North Carolina State University’s LGBT Center was vandalized. Among other saddening stories, this is one more reason why we should “go purple” and show our support for our LGBT loved ones.

For examples of how you can participate Spirit Day, go to GLAAD.org.

Secretary Sebelius: “We Have Begun to Push Open Doors that Seemed Shut Forever”

Secretary Sebelius, the Secretary for the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), spoke at the annual meeting for the National Coalition for LGBT Health on October 17th. Her speech included the accomplishments of the current Presidency concerning LGBT health issues and motivated listeners to press on through the battles to come.

The National Coalition for LGBT Health was created ten years ago to help create an LGBT component to the government’s ten year plan called “Healthy People 2010.” After forming the “LGBT Companion Document to Healthy People 2010” the National Coalition continues their work through research, policy change, programs, and the promotion of professional and cultural competency. PFLAG National is one of over 70 organizations with Coalition memberships, and hundreds of individuals hold memberships as well.

Sec. Sebelius opened with the progress made on the new Healthy People 2020, a national health improvement initiative which will now include a full section on LGBT health. “I’m sure you agree it was about time,” the Secretary declared.

She continued with a strong list of accomplishments the Obama Administration has facilitated over the past two years. Most widely known was the new law concerning hospital visitation rights, which now allows patients to make their own decisions about who is allowed to visit them, including same-sex partners and spouses. Less publicized, but certainly no less important, is the LGBT data progression plan which spurs the integration of sexual orientation and gender identity variables into federal HHS surveys.

HHS itself has also taken steps toward greater inclusivity, and now mandates all employees to serve anyone who is eligible for their programs regardless of race, national origin, color, religion, sex, disability, status as a parent, genetic information, sexual orientation, and gender identity and expression. HHS is and has taken steps to assist community health centers to better help their underserved patients.

Sec. Sebelius brought up other issues that may not be related to health issues at first glance: homeless LGBT youth, LGBT foster children, and bullying in schools- all issues central to PFLAG National’s work with the Obama Administration which focus on building safer schools, opening more homes to foster youth, and addressing the challenges of family rejection. She ties in these important topics with her equal health mission by stressing the importance of a safe environment that can provide appropriate care for these young people.

Nearing the end, the Secretary spoke of the benefits LGBT people will obtain from the Affordable Care Act, and calls for her audience to support the act in the coming months as it is debated in the political arena. Lastly, she discusses her concern for the HIV/AIDS epidemic, especially in regard to gay men of color. “We have come a long way in ten years,” she says, “but we still have a long way to go.”

In closing, Secretary Sebelius once again stresses the importance of promising “dignity and support” to LGBT people who deserve to achieve their full potential. “We have begun to push open doors that seemed shut forever. Looking ahead, the future gives me real hope. And I’m looking forward to working with you to make it as bright as possible.”

Secretary Sebelius is the 21st Secretary of the HHS. She took office in 2009 and has fought for some of America’s most underserved populations including young children, those with disabilities, and the elderly.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Maryland PFLAG members lobby State Legislature

Yesterday morning representatives from PFLAG Chapters across the state of Maryland traveled to the State Capitol in Annapolis to lobby their Delegates and Senators during a special session of the Maryland State Legislature. The lobby day was organized by Marylanders for Marriage Equality, a broad coalition that includes a number of local and national LGBT and allied organizations including PFLAG. Kicking off the day, Maryland House Majority leader, Kumar P. Barve spoke to supporters who were gathered outside the Capitol building.

PFLAG members and other participants encouraged their State Legislators to pass the marriage equality bill and a gender identity anti-discrimination bill by the end of the 2012 legislative session. PFLAG Policy Director, Rhodes Perry, and Policy Intern, Laura Van Dyke, represented PFLAG National, and worked on mobilizing local PFLAG members from across the state to raise their voices in support of this vital legislation that will help build stronger families ensuring that all Marylanders have some level of job security, housing protections and yes, the freedom to marry. It’s really that simple.

Take Action - If you live in Maryland contact your State Delegates and Senators and encourage them to pass the marriage equality and the gender identity anti-discrimination bills by the end of the 2012 legislative session. Please be sure to call before the end of October 19th. To learn who your state legislators are, please visit http://mdelect.net/.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Independent Labor Union Prohibits Discrimination against Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity

The United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE) have voted unanimously to uphold a new non-discrimination policy which contains sexual orientation and gender identity. The document, “End Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation,” was developed during the 72nd National Convention in Pittsburg between September 25 and 29.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) reported that the union’s decision to include these non-discrimination protects were met with full support, despite multiple opportunities for opposition to voice any contrary opinions.

The UE Mission:

A self-proclaimed “rank-and-file” democratic union, the UE remains independent of the AFL-CIO (American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations) due to conflicting ideologies during the labor movement; UE stands firm against large corporation involvement, and prides itself on its membership-led, democratic, collective style.

One of the UE’s main issues of concern is the divisive power discrimination has upon the labor workforce. “The most powerful weapon in the bosses’ arsenal is divide-and-conquer.” The core founding principle of the union was forming an organization to unite all workers, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. They have fought for equal rights for women and against racial discrimination as a part of their equality goals.

Equal Rights for All:

The UE document listed several resolutions regarding their new non-discrimination policy. First and foremost was the call for locals to defend members of the union against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. All levels of the union are encouraged to educate their communities about the dangers of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The UE encourages their members to incorporate non-discrimination language in their contracts with employers as well as include health insurance and pension coverage for domestic partners (same or opposite sex) to ensure equal rights comparable to those of married couples.

The UE opposes marriage discrimination on the grounds that it does not provide equal protections under federal law for workers and their partners. Taking their declarations a step further, they call upon the Obama administration to issue an executive order which would prohibit discrimination against sexual orientation and gender identity within federal contracts and call on Congress to enact the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and the Respect for Marriage Act. Lastly, the UE encourages their members to support organizations and businesses who fight discrimination, and avoid those who support it.

Labor Unions and Civil Rights:

Historically, labor unions have been among the first organizations to advance non-discrimination laws for American workers. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the issue of workplace equality revolved around racial prejudices. Though most unions excluded Black workers, they eventually came to drive the civil rights movement forward. The creation of the Interracial Labor Commission in 1924, the recognition of the Black union called the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters by the AFL, and campaigns in the 1930s and 40s by black workers. In 1960, Martin Luther King Jr. addressed the AFL-CIO, saying, “When labor reaches out its hand to racial minorities, labor and minorities win. When either turns its back on the other, each loses. America loses. We all lose.”

The first African American leader of the AFL, A. Phillip Randolph, fought to desegregate factories during WWII and impacted President Roosevelt’s decision to establish the Fair Employment Practices Commission, the first federal agency which prosecuted discrimination in industry environments. Unions began campaigning for non-discrimination laws within their states prior to any federal action, and fought in numerous ways to empower Black workers.

Current Unions and ENDA:

ENDA was introduced in 1994, but never made it out of the committee stage. A new version passed in the House in 2007, but died in Senate shortly after. Currently, Representatives are pushing for a vote in the House as soon as possible in order for Senate to consider the proposal.

PFLAG has been supportive of ENDA from the beginning, publishing a statement about ENDA in 1994 and revising the statement in 2001. Jody Huckaby, the Executive Director of PFLAG National, also sent a letter to congress in 2010 highlighting the importance of the non-discrimination bill which includes all Americans. PFLAG is also a part of the United ENDA coalition.

This decision by the UE will hopefully spark union action equal to union involvement during the civil rights movement. Hard-working Americans are supporting this move toward equality, proving to others that granting equal protections to all citizens is not as controversial as it may seem.

Take Action: Reach out to the community leaders in your area. Urge them to support ENDA by talking to their companies about co-sponsoring the bill. You can also contact your federal representatives and ask them to support ENDA. As an example, here is a letter written to Congress in May by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights imploring them to co-sponsor ENDA.

Senate to Examine “Respect for Marriage Act” in November

The Senate Judiciary Committee will look at Senator Dianne Feinstein’s (D-CA) bill titled Respect for Marriage Act which would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) from federal law. The act will provide federal marriage rights for all legally married same-sex couples. The bill does not compel all states to recognize same-sex marriages.


This is the bill’s first markup in Senate. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has scheduled the presentation of the bill for November. During this meeting the Judiciary Committee will debate and vote on the bill. The Respect for Marriage Act is co-sponsored by 30 members of the Senate and is supported by President Barack Obama.


This historic advancement for marriage equality will most likely not be addressed in the Republican-controlled House during this Congress due to Republicans who are planning to defend DOMA in the courts.


Take Action: Currently, 30 Senators support the Respect for Marriage Act. Find out if yours is one of them here and write a letter of thanks for their commitment to respecting marriage rights for all citizens. If your senator has yet to pledge their support, urge them to vote in favor of providing federal rights to married same-sex couples this November.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Martin Luther King on Religion and the Constitution

Today, we welcome guest blogger Rev. Gil Caldwell, PFLAG National Board Member:

A search of the internet seeking information on Martin Luther King and the Constitution produced the following: On April 13, 1944, Martin Luther King, then a junior at Atlanta's Booker T. Washington High School, won an Elks-sponsored oratorical contest on the subject, "The Negro and the Constitution." King contrasted those who used their biblical faith and interpretation to support racial segregation, with the words of equality found throughout the Constitution of the USA. The article contains these words; "...contradictions between the nation's biblical faith and constitutional values." This is what troubled a young Martin Luther King, and is a source of concern for many of us who cannot comprehend why some in religion become anti-Constitution in response to its call for equality and justice for all.

We have observed, in the run up to the presidential campaign of 2012, examples of how religion too often becomes the source of put-downs, character assassinations, and efforts to invalidate the religious choices of others. This is nothing new! We live in a nation that boasts of Constitutional values that promote equality, freedom and justice, while some in religion use their Scriptures to do just the opposite.

Is it any surprise then that Martin Luther King declared that religious communities, “…[stand] as a tail-light behind other community agencies rather than a headlight leading men to higher levels of justice.”

There are times when I, as a straight ally, wish that those in religion who use their faith to thwart and stand in the way of justice for LGBTQ persons would shut up and allow the values of the Constitution to become actualized.

I believe this was at the heart of Dr. King's efforts to promote racial equality. He knew that there were many who professed religious faith who sustained and supported racial segregation. He and The Civil Rights Movement as a whole challenged these persons with the words of equality and freedom writ large in the U.S. Constitution; those same words apply to the LGBTQ community as well.

This week-end the weather-delayed dedication of the Martin Luther King Memorial in Washington, DC will take place. I will not be able to be in attendance, but, my memories of Mississippi Freedom Summer, the March on Washington, the Selma to Montgomery March and a Martin King-led march in Boston will be alive and well as the Memorial is dedicated.

I cannot tarnish those memories by being silent.

Rev. Gilbert H. Caldwell
Board Member, PFLAG National

Thursday, October 13, 2011

California LGBT History Law Becomes Effective in January

The FAIR Education Act (SB 48) which requires all public schools to include historical contributions by LGBT people and LGBT rights movements will be put into effect in January 2012. “FAIR” stands for fair, accurate, inclusive, and respectful. The law seeks to inadvertently lower the rates of bullying by recognizing LGBT people in history and making LGBT students feel less isolated. SB 48 ensures that students have an accurate picture of people who have shaped American society. Under this new law, the State Board of Education is not allowed to use discriminatory materials or allow discriminatory instruction.

Opponents to this historic law have been petitioning for months in order to obtain the necessary signatures for a ballot referendum to repeal the law in 2012. The groups needed 505,000 signatures by the end of 90 days in order to theoretically overturn SB 48. According to “Stop SB 48” the law promotes LGBT lifestyles and forces children to learn about things their parents tell them are wrong.

Thankfully California is not a state which opts to ignore sensitive topics simply because some parents do not agree with the subject matter. Imagine neglecting the theory of evolution or the issue of global warming due to the objection of a handful of parents. Students must learn about topics which may disinterest them, thrill them, or anger them. That is part of the beauty of our education system.

In order to create critical thinkers, we must provide all of the information we have. The FAIR Education Act has included one more important piece of American history in our children’s social studies curriculums and shown our LGBT students that they are a part of American culture too. We are so thankful that California is setting the example for an inclusive and fair education system.

Take Action: To help promote tolerance and fight bullying in public schools nationwide, write to a Senate member on the HELP Committee and ask them to include the Safe Schools Improvement Act and the Student Non-Discrimination Act as amendments in their upcoming revisions to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

California Governor Passes Trans-Supportive Laws and Anti-Bullying Measures

On October 9th and October 10th, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed three progressive bills which increase rights for LGBT Californians. [Metro Weekly]

The Gender Nondiscrimination Act clarifies the language used in work, school, housing, and public accommodation nondiscrimination policies to protect “gender identity and expression” explicitly. Previously, California law included “gender identity and gender expression” in their nondiscrimination policies under “gender.” However, this was not clear, and this new bill has created a new category to ensure that people understand the law. California has effectively created its own state version of ENDA.

The Vital Statistics Modernization Act makes it much easier for transgender people to obtain new birth certificates by letting them apply for a gender change in any jurisdiction, not just the one they live in (as previous law stated). The VSMA states that applicants should have “medical certification from an attending physician that [they have] undergone treatment as determined by their physician to correct identification documents to reflect their gender.” This puts California on the same level as federal vital statistics standards, which eliminated the requirement of gender reassignment surgery in 2009.

The third bill that Gov. Brown signed was AB 9 or, “Seth’s Law.” This legislation tightens anti-bullying policies in California schools by promoting education for teachers and administrators, requiring clearer guidelines on how to handle bullying, ensuring schools have accurate policies on bullying, and shortening investigation timelines for any bullying allegations.

Take Action: If you live in California, you may want to thank Gov. Jerry Brown for his commitment to providing rights for LGBT people. For more information about what you can do to help keep your schools safe visit the Safe Schools page on the PFLAG National website; if you’re curious about how you can help a nation-wide nondiscrimination law pass check out PFLAG National’s page on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Legacy of Matthew Shepard

Thirteen years ago today, a young man named Matthew Shepard was tortured, robbed, and abandoned outside of Laramie, Wyoming because he was gay. After his death five days later, his mother Judy began an advocacy journey which would eventually bring increased federal protections to citizens across the country. 

Soon after her son’s murder, Judy and her husband created The Matthew Shepard Foundation, an organization which, founded on “principles of understanding, compassion, and acceptance,” seeks to “encourage respect for human dignity and difference by raising awareness, opening dialogues, and promoting positive change.” 

Judy became focused on launching a federal hate crime law which would grant federal protection to LGBT people, women, and people with disabilities. Her dedication and message motivated thousands, and after more than a decade of activism President Obama signed the Matthew Shepard/ James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act in 2009. Thanks to the work of Judy Shepard, local activists, and LGBT equal rights organizations, our government now includes sexual orientation, gender and gender identity in the federal definition of violent hate crimes.

In addition to her continued involvement in LGBT issues, Judy has published a book entitled “The Meaning of Matthew: My Son’s Murder in Laramie, and a World Transformed.” She continues to advocate for safe schools and communities for everyone, regardless of their characteristics, and reminds youth to “be true to yourselves…your friends and family are a source of support.”

Take Action: Keep Matthew Shepard’s memory alive and honor his mother Judy’s commitment to providing a safe world for everyone, by working with your local law enforcement agency to effectively carry out the new federal hate crimes law

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

President Obama Addresses LGBT Equality, LGBT Progress at the HRC Annual Dinner


This Saturday, October 1st, President Obama addressed a passionate audience of nearly 3,000 LGBT supporters at the Human Rights Campaign’s Annual National Dinner. After joking about a recent meeting with Lady Gaga in California—“she was wearing 16-inch-heels”—the President began his concise yet inspiring speech. Within the first moments our President voiced his statement of inclusivity:

“Every single American- gay, straight, lesbian, bisexual, transgender- every single American deserves to be treated equally in the eyes of the law and in the eyes of our society. It’s a pretty simple proposition.”

The President listed a set of historic moments for the LGBT community which occurred over the past two years, continually stating his commitment to providing a safe and equal America for all. These included the passage of the Matthew Shepard/James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, the order stating all hospitals who receive Medicare or Medicaid must treat “gay partners just as they do straight partners,” the lift on the HIV travel ban as well as the first national strategy to fight HIV/AIDS, the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal, the administration’s denouncement of the Defense of Marriage Act, and the White House summit on bullying. Yes, the progress made in America has benefited our families and children in many direct and indirect ways. Our nation has truly come a long way in two short years. However, we still have more to fight for.

Though our President made grand declarations of support for LGBT rights he neglected two crucial pieces of legislation which affect American families and their children: the Every Child Deserves A Family Act (ECDF) and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). These proposed laws need the national attention and support of our Commander in Chief and are overdue for passage in our government. The basic needs of our children--- a place to sleep, food, education, a loving family—are being limited because of discrimination within foster and adoption agencies.

Briefing on the Bills:

  • Every Child Deserves a Family: ECDF seeks to limit funding for states that discriminate against possible parents based on marital status, sexual orientation, or gender identity (as well as the sexual and/or gender identity of the children being placed).
  • Employment Non-Discrimination Act: Without ENDA, working people are subject to termination simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity; imagine what could happen to family if their primary source of income was suddenly gone.

These two bills are necessary to obtaining full LGBT equality.

We hope that our President continues his brave support against strong opposition in the upcoming election year. If you have time, thank our President for his welcoming and inspiring remarks this past Saturday, and remind him of the work that still needs to be done. We as Americans have the right to voice our concerns and fight for the rights we and our loved ones deserve.

As our President said Saturday night: “It's progress led, not by Washington, but by ordinary citizens who are propelled, not just by politics, but by love and friendship and a sense of mutual regard.”


Monday, October 3, 2011

Blog About Gay Soldier's Coming Out Story Promotes PFLAG

Randy Phillips, a 21 year old soldier stationed in Germany, came out to his father on September 20th after "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" was repealed officially. He broadcast the phone call on the video-sharing site, “YouTube.” Soon afterward, he decided to tell his mother. He also broadcast his experience. Helen A.S. Popkin from Digital Life on Today.com blogged about Phillip’s bravery, and broke down the 20 minute phone call into a fair response. Popkin is far from condemning in her analysis of Phillips’ mother’s response to the news. She reminds her readers of the difficulty involved with learning about a child’s sexual identity, and reminds them that change occurs over time.


Popkin’s resources at the end of her story list four LGBT organizations. The first resource listed is our very own PFLAG! Popkin writes, “[PFLAG] is a national non-profit organization that provides opportunity for dialogue about sexual orientation and gender identity, and acts to create a society that is healthy and respectful of human diversity.”


Keep up the great work PFLAGers! It’s great to be listed as the #1 resource in a story about one young man’s journey to gain family acceptance