Wednesday, January 16, 2013

U.S. Defense Secretary Nominee Would Extend Equal Benefits to LGBT Servicemembers, PFLAG National Responds


Yesterday, U.S. Defense Secretary Nominee Chuck Hagel stated that, if confirmed in the position, he would "…do everything possible to the extent permissible under current law to provide equal benefits to the families of all our service members," including lesbian and gay servicemembers.

PFLAG National Board Member Daniel Tepfer, Col USAF (ret.), had the following to say regarding Hagel’s statement,

“Today, I was pleased to read Defense Secretary Nominee Chuck Hagel’s positive comments on gay, lesbian and bisexual service members. Many individuals’ views have evolved over time, including former Senator Hagel’s, and we need to accept where they are now, not judge them on earlier, uninformed opinions.

Spousal benefits remain the one aspect of military life where same-gender couples are not treated the same as straight couples. These include access to on-base housing, medical care, use of on-base facilities and survivor benefits to name a few. I am delighted to learn that, if confirmed as Defense Secretary, Hagel will extend the equal benefits he can under current law. Then when the Defense of Marriage Act is repealed, we can look forward to total equality for all military families.”

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

It is with great sorrow that we share with all of you the passing of PFLAG's founder, Jeanne Manford


From PFLAG National Executive Director, Jody Huckaby:

Today the world has lost a pioneer: Jeanne Manford, the founder of PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) and the Mother of the Straight Ally movement.

Jeanne was one of the fiercest fighters in the battle for acceptance and equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. It is truly humbling to imagine in 1972 - just 40 years ago - a simple schoolteacher started this movement of family and ally support, without benefit of any of the technology that today makes a grassroots movement so easy to organize. No Internet. No cellphones. Just a deep love for her son and a sign reading “Parents of Gays: Unite in Support for Our Children.”

This simple and powerful message of love and acceptance from one person resonated so strongly it was heard by millions of people worldwide and led to the founding of PFLAG, an organization with more than 350 chapters across the U.S. and 200,000 members and supporters, and the creation of similar organizations across the globe.

Jeanne’s work was called “the story of America…of ordinary citizens organizing, agitating, educating for change, of hope stronger than hate, of love more powerful than any insult or injury,” in a speech by President Barack Obama in 2009.

All of us - people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and straight allies alike - owe Jeanne our gratitude. We are all beneficiaries of her courage. Jeanne Manford proved the power of a single person to transform the world. She paved the way for us to speak out for what is right, uniting the unique parent, family, and ally voice with the voice of LGBT people everywhere.

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A private interment service will be held and details of a later celebration of Jeanne Manford’s life and legacy will be announced. The family requests that any donations be made to the Jeanne Manford Legacy Fund to support the ongoing work of PFLAG National: 1828 L Street, NW, Suite 660, Washington, DC 20036.