Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Happy Holiday Tips for Our LGBT Loved Ones


The holidays can be a stressful time for LGBT people or families with LGBT loved ones, but there are several strategies that you can use to help reduce stress and create a happy holiday this year.

If you are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender...
1. Don’t assume you know how somebody will react to news of your sexual orientation or gender identity — you may be surprised.
2. Realize that your family’s reaction to you may not be because you are GLBT. The hectic holiday pace may cause family members to act differently than they would under less stressful conditions.
3. Remember that “coming out” is a continuous process. You may have to “come out” many times.
4. Don’t wait for your family’s attitude to change to have a special holiday. Recognize that your parents need time to acknowledge and accept that they have a GLBT child. It took you time to come to terms with who you are; now it is your family’s turn.
5. Let your family’s judgments be theirs to work on, as long as they are kind to you.
6. If it is too difficult to be with your family, create your own holiday gathering with friends and loved ones.
7. If you are transgender, be gentle with your family’s pronoun “slips.” Let them know you know how difficult it is.

Before the visit...1. Make a decision about being “out” to each family member before you visit.
2. If you are partnered, discuss in advance how you will talk about your relationship, or show affection with one another, if you plan to make the visit together.
3. If you bring your partner home, don’t wait until late into the holiday evening to raise the issue of sleeping arrangements. Make plans in advance.
4. Have alternate plans if the situation becomes difficult at home.
5. Find out about local GLBT resources.
6. If you do plan to “come out” to your family over the holidays, have support available, including PFLAG publications and the number of a local PFLAG chapter.

During the visit...1. Focus on common interests.
2. Reassure family members that you are still the same person they have always known.
3. If you are partnered, be sensitive to his or her needs as well as your own.
4. Be wary of the possible desire to shock your family.
5. Remember to affirm yourself.
6. Realize that you don’t need your family’s approval.
7. Connect with someone else who is GLBT—by phone or in person—who understands what you are going through and will affirm you along the way.
For additional resources, click here.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Stop Equality From Going Over the Fiscal Cliff!

Just hours ago, PFLAGers participated in two landmark meetings with the White House - in person and via conference call – to celebrate our work in advancing equality, to engage us on future priorities, and to be educated about what is at stake in the much-discussed “Fiscal Cliff” and how it would personally affect our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) loved ones.

Why PFLAG? Because for 40 years, we have been changing hearts and minds with our simple mission of advancing equality through support, education and advocacy.  We are a diverse coalition across all fifty states and our passion for equality is the same regardless of who is in the White House and who is representing us in Congress.
PFLAG has always used its unique family and ally voice to find the common ground across political, religious, and economic lines. And it is that ability - to reach out to the hearts and minds of fellow Americans - that puts PFLAGers in a distinctive and important position.


NOW…we need YOUR HELP to make sure we don’t
lose important advances in equality due to lack of funding.


What is at stake for our LGBT loved ones? Budget cuts that would:


…weaken the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s ability to investigate claims of discrimination against gay and transgender workers…


…limit suicide prevention services to LGBT people…


…limit the government’s ability to combat LGBT bullying in schools…


…curtail efforts to curb substance abuse among the gay and transgender population…


…and limit resources available to investigate, prosecute, and prevent hate crimes.


What we also know - and fear - is that budget cuts will provide an easy excuse for municipalities, educators, and others who are resistant to the progress we have made, to stop our forward momentum.


The time has come to reach out to our elected officials and tell them to ensure that these advancements in equality are not thrown off the fiscal cliff, that they need to be our allies in moving equality forwards…not backwards!


Here’s how you can help:

  • Share your VOICE. Send a personalized action alert to your elected officials, sharing YOUR personal story of how these budget cuts and tax increases could affect your families and the progress that has been made.
  • Leverage your VOICE. Share your concerns with friends, neighbors—and even strangers! - by using Facebook, Twitter, and other social media.

    Sample Facebook Update
    PFLAG advances equality and finds common ground. We expect the same from our elected officials. Do not let the advancements in equality that we have made for our loved ones go over the fiscal cliff with cuts that will stop the progress.

    Sample Twitter Updates
    @PFLAG urges #Congress not to let #LGBT protections go off the #fiscalcliff.


    Where will I spend #My2K? Supporting @PFLAG for the wellbeing of my #LGBT loved ones! 
This is a crucial time for equality in our country…don’t let these important advances go over the cliff.
Make your voice heard now!

Friday, December 7, 2012

PFLAG NATIONAL STATEMENT ON SUPREME COURT DECISION TO REVIEW DOMA AND PROP 8 CASES



CERT GRANTED IN PROP 8 CASE, COURT TO REVIEW USA V WINDSOR DOMA CASE;
MARRIAGE EQUALITY HEADED TO U.S. SUPREME COURT

WASHINGTON – PFLAG National—the nation's largest organization for families, friends and allies of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people – has issued from its Executive Director, Jody Huckaby, the following statement regarding the US Supreme Court’s decision to grant cert in the Prop 8 case and to hear the USA v. Windsor DOMA case:
"Parents and allies of gay and lesbian people know what the merits of this case are: ending the deep harm that is inflicted upon their loved ones each day as they are denied the basic right to marry. It is our hope that the Supreme Court listens to these merits and sees them for what they are -- the very reasons why this case must be heard. This is a watershed moment, one that will give the Justices the opportunity to affirm—perhaps for the 15th time—that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is a fundamental right for all Americans, and that the denial of that right seriously harms our gay and lesbian loved ones, as well as their children. We look forward to a decision that will affirm marriage equality across the country."
###


About 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. Made up of parents, families, friends, and straight allies uniting with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, PFLAG is committed to advancing equality through its mission of support, education and advocacy. Now in its 40th anniversary year, PFLAG has more than 368 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 http://www.pflag.org, and connect with PFLAG National on Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Happy birthday, Jeanne Manford!


Let's celebrate the birthday of PFLAG's founder, Jeanne Manford. Read her inspiring story, and then click here to send YOUR birthday wishes to this inspirational mom!

Teachers have the power to transform lives and generations. However, it was Queens, NY schoolteacher Jeanne Manford’s extraordinary acts outside the classroom that changed the lives of millions of lesbian, gay and straight Americans.

In 1972 being gay was a crime, over half of the U.S. population deemed homosexuality morally wrong, vicious attacks on gay people were commonplace, and the idea of equality for gays and lesbians was a radical notion. But this didn’t stop Jeanne Manford from ensuring her gay son, Morty, received the same treatment as her straight daughter, Suzanne. 

Following a brutal attack on his life at a rally, Manford stood alongside her son in a protest through the streets of Manhattan, carrying a sign that read “Parents of Gays Unite in Support for Our Children.” Begged by observers to speak to other parents, she started support groups teaching parents to accept and support their LGBT loved ones and become, like her, brave advocates for equality. As demand steadily increased, Manford founded PFLAG, a national organization with a mission of support, education, and advocacy. Today, PFLAG chapters can be found statewide, in communities big and small, serving millions of people with volunteer support, education outreach, and a call to advocate at local, state and federal levels for equality for their LGBT loved ones. 

Manford gave voices and faces to families who lived in shame and silence, empowering them to speak out for family values for all families.
 
In America’s civil rights history, Manford is the Mother of the Straight Ally Movement, creating a space for straight people to take a public stand for LGBT equality.  Her simple act of speaking out on behalf of her son ignited a movement, and led to the creation of an organization which serves millions of Americans. Studies show that her work with LGBT people and their families is directly tied to raising healthy and empowered youth, giving them self-confidence and the tools to navigate an often adverse and prejudiced culture.   

As one of the first highly visible allies alongside LGBT people, Manford shifted perceptions that equality is an issue not just for the group demanding it, but for those who surround and support the members of that group and now in 2012, the 40th anniversary year of PFLAG’s founding, acceptance for LGBT people in the US is at a record high. Organizations from school-based Gay-Straight Alliances to ally-led LGBT employee groups in workplaces can all trace their lineage to Manford’s work. Her impact can be felt outside the US as well:  nearly 20 countries, inspired by Manford’s PFLAG model, have started their own PFLAG-like organizations around the globe. 

Manford spoke out as a parent, a teacher, a citizen.  This simple act has empowered millions to do the same, demonstrating the force that a single voice has to transform the push for acceptance and equality for all. Jeanne Manford’s impact is clear: millions of Americans now benefit from her bravery.