Showing posts with label North Carolina. Show all posts
Showing posts with label North Carolina. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

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

NORTH CAROLINA PUTS MARRIAGE EQUALITY ON THE BALLOT FOR 2012
 
CONSTITUTIONALIZING THE RIGHT TO DISCRIMINATE FAST-TRACKED IN NC LEGISLATURE

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.”

Thursday, September 9, 2010

PFLAG Rocky Mount (NC) Advocates for Marriage Equality

Who should be allowed to get married? Better yet, who shouldn’t be allowed to marry?

Viewed by many as a civil rights issue similar to the restrictions imposed on interracial marriage years ago, same-sex marriage and all that it implies effects people further than Iowa and Massachusetts, where it has been legalized.

The Rocky Mount chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays – PFLAG – is a local advocacy group doing what it can to ensure that gay people are afforded the same rights as every other citizen in America.

Said PFLAG President Lela Chesson, “We’re concerned about not just support but also about educating our community and advocating for the civil rights of people who are gay, bisexual, lesbian and transgender.”

Rose Walston, PFLAG secretary, said that open dialogue about the issue of same-sex marriage is an important step in moving towards a brighter future for gay couples in Eastern North Carolina. “I don’t understand why anyone would be opposed to the union of two people."

To continue reading this story in the Daily Southerner, click here.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

PFLAG Stars, Part Two: Dave (and Joan) Parker

From Jody M. Huckaby, Executive Director, PFLAG National:

One of the aspects of PFLAG’s work that makes me most proud is our long-term commitment to the inclusion of our transgender family and friends in all of the work that we do, from support, to education, to advocacy. In fact, PFLAG was the first national organization to pass a resolution that codified this commitment, ensuring that everything that we support be fully inclusive.

Understanding why this commitment is so critical is simple when you meet someone like Dave Parker. He and his wife, Joan, have been long-time PFLAG leaders and integral figures in PFLAG’s Transgender Network (TNET). Like most PFLAG members, it was the revelation of one of their children that propelled them into action, and their work has touched countless family members and transgender individuals around the country. They are active on a local level with their chapter in Greensboro, NC and on the national level, with Dave sitting on the PFLAG National Board of Directors.

On Feb. 27, Dave Parker will be presented with the Legacy Award by The Human Rights Campaign in North Carolina. This award recognizes an individual who has contributed efforts to improve the lives and visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people over a period of time. The recipient should have a consistent and significant list of contributions to the LGBT community and be seen as a role model to others. Examples could include initiating, leading and enhancing LGBT organizations and events. From where I sit, Dave certainly deserves this honor.

You can learn more about the HRC Carolinas dinner at their website. Tickets are still available, so if you’re in the area, please consider attending and you’ll have the chance to see Dave and hear about his work in-person. And if you can’t make it, be sure to read Dave and Joan’s story as part of the PFLAG Story Center or learn more about TNET.

Congratulations, Dave!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

PFLAG Board Member Awarded HRC Legacy Award

At the Human Rights Campaign's Carolinas Gala in February, PFLAG's own Dave Parker will be awarded the Legacy Award!

According to the HRC press release about the event, "Mr. Parker is being recognized for his work with and on behalf of the transgender community, not just in North Carolina, but nationwide and for his work with PFLAG both locally and nationally. Not only has he worked to be an ally and an advocate, he has mentored, counseled, and parented countless transgender men, women, and children serving to help them and their families understand and cope with their transition.”

Congrats, Dave!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Mitchell Gold Speaks at Rocky Mount, NC PFLAG event

Rose Marie Walston stood at the podium at the Nash Arts Center Monday night and said she was "coming out."

But it wasn't the typical revelation to others that she is gay.

It was a mother. A mother who did not know her son was gay until he overdosed on drugs six years ago.

"It's hard for me to stand up here," she said. "It has taken me six and a half years to get to this place. I live with the pain every day of my son. It's got to stop and this is where I'm starting."

Walston, originally from Wilson, lost her son in 2003. He was 36.

Mitchell Gold, author of "Crisis: 40 stories revealing the personal, social and religious pain and trauma of growing up gay in America," asked Walston to share her story during his visit to Nashville. The Rocky Mount branch of PFLAG invited Gold to speak. Close to 130 people attended the event.

The New Jersey native, who moved to Hickory 22 years ago, learned many teens struggled in small-town America with their sexual identity. As a young man, he was gripped with fear thinking that his parents and brother would reject him. He was also afraid at school, wasn't sure if he would ever have a successful career and didn't know if society would accept him.

"I don't remember a happy day when I was in school or in my college days," Gold said. "I remember so many nights going to bed thinking about killing myself because I didn't want to live this kind of life that has no future in this society."

Gold finally told his father and was relieved his father only wanted him happy. Through therapy he learned how to accept his identity and love himself.

He discussed his interaction with many politicians who oppose gay marriage or other human rights for people who are not heterosexual.

"I've had an understanding of how religious beliefs can be used to hurt or harm other people but I also have an understanding of how religious beliefs can be used to welcome and love and care about people," he said.

Gold is the founder of Faith in America, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending religion-based prejudice. He is best known as a leader and trendsetter in the furniture industry.

For the full article in The Wilson Times, click here.

Friday, August 7, 2009

PFLAG Salisbury (NC) Gets Press for Local Scholarships

On the heels of yesterday's post about the wonderful work that the Jacksonville chapter is doing in the community comes news that our chapter in Salisbury, NC has also awarded numerous community-based scholarships.

According to this recent article in the Salisbury Post:

Salisbury/Rowan Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) has awarded three $1,000 scholarships for the 2009-2010 academic year.

The Anne Stanback-Charlotte Kinlock Scholarship, named in honor of Salisbury native Anne Stanback and her wife; the Founder's Equality Scholarship, named in honor of chapter founder Michael Clawson; and the Linda Ketner Community Service Scholarship, named for Salisbury native Ketner, are awarded to seniors who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender or who identify as a straight ally.

The local chapter of PFLAG was founded in 2006 and established the scholarship foundation and awarded its first two scholarships in 2008. The organization was the first in North Carolina to award scholarships exclusively to GLBT students and/or their straight allies.

"Uniquely, Salisbury/Rowan PFLAG's scholarships may be awarded to any high school senior continuing his or her education, including students of trade schools, community colleges or traditional four-year colleges and universities," said Todd Adrian, chapter president.

"We are very pleased to award these scholarships to these courageous and deserving students," said Margaret Basinger, chairperson of the scholarship advisory committee. "Provided the Autumn Soiree, our major scholarship fundraiser, is as successful as past years, our hope is to add a fourth scholarship for academic year 2010-2011," Basinger said.

Congratulations to PFLAG Salisbury!

If you are a member of a chapter and have some good news to share, please email Erin Williams at ewilliams@pflag.org.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

North Carolina Passes Safe Schools Legislation

On Tuesday, in a 58-57 vote, the North Carolina House passed House Bill 548, the School Violence Prevention Act. This bill would require schools to adopt strong policies against bullying and harassment, including bullying based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.

"This bill is a historic step in North Carolina and the South," said Ian Palmquist, Executive Director of Equality North Carolina. "Today a narrow majority stood up to make all kids—including LGBT kids—safer at school. We call on Governor Perdue to sign this important bill and make it law."

For a list of co-sponsors, and to thank those who voted for the bill, click here or visit http://equalitync.org/leg/09/h548.


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

PFLAG Winston-Salem: Hate Is No "Hoax"

PFLAG's Winston-Salem chapter is calling out a local lawmaker for her outrageous remarks on the floor of the United States Congress . . . and making sure North Carolinians know the truth about how hate crimes impact families and communities.

Beginning today, the chapter will be running a new ad campaign in local media urging constituents to Tell Congresswoman Foxx: Hate Is No "Hoax."

The campaign, which is financed by chapter members and local supporters, is running in response to Congresswoman Virginia Foxx's comments, during House debate on federal hate crimes legislation, that the murder of Wyoming college student Matthew Shepard was "a hoax."

The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act - which passed the House with bi-partisan support last week - is also known as The Matthew Shepard Act, and Shepard's mother, Judy, has been a passionate advocate for its passage.

"The bill was named after a very unfortunate incident that happened, where a young man was killed, but we know that that young man was killed in the commitment of robbery. It wasn’t because he was gay," Foxx said. "The bill was named for him, the hate crimes bill was named for him, but it’s, it’s really a hoax, that that continues to be used as an excuse for passing these bills."

Now, PFLAG is calling Foxx out in ads that will appear in The Winston-Salem Chronicle, as well as local weekly and Spanish-language newspapers this week. The Chronicle ad debuted in this morning's paper.

"There are very few times an organization gets handed a situation they can use as a teachable moment — as a chance to bring attention to the fact that violent crimes committed against GLBT people happen everyday," Thomas Farmer, president of PFLAG Winston-Salem, told Q-Notes this morning.

Foxx "needs to understand that this is not just a gaffe," he said. "It’s not just about using the wrong word. It isn’t just semantics."

Neena Mabe of Pfafftown, a PFLAG Winston-Salem member whose 17-year-old daughter is a lesbian, said she was extremely upset by controversy, Q-Notes reported.

"It is unfortunate that any elected representative would be so ill informed on the specifics of this crime," she said. "I think her comments point out an inability to see the world through anything other than her own experiences which significantly limits her ability to be effective as a representative."

"The real hoax," the chapter's ad says, "is Foxx's arguments against hate crimes laws."

"The truth is this: In 2007, violent crimes against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community increased by a staggering 24%."

The ad lists three numbers for Foxx's offices - (202) 225-2071, (336) 778-0211 and (828) 265-0240 and urges readers to "Join the Winston-Salem Chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) in making sure Congresswoman Foxx knows the truth."

For more information, visit PFLAG Winston-Salem online . . . check out full coverage of the ad from Q-Notes . . . and download the full advertisement online here.

Update! You can join a discussion about today's ad from PFLAG Winston-Salem over at
Pam's House Blend.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

"Be More Present and Visible, Period."

Pam Spaulding, the blog mistress behind the widely acclaimed Pam's House Blend, recently expanded her reach, becoming a regular columnist for The Durham News, her hometown newspaper. And today, her printed column (and her blog) take a look at what it's like to lobby African-American lawmakers on LGBT issues . . . with a little help from a local PFLAG ally.

North Carolina's legislature recently took up a bill to add sexual orientation and gender identity and expression to the "Non-Discrimination in State/Teacher Employment" law (HB1049). And the bill, along with other issues of LGBT equality, is a "complex" issue for many African-American lawmakers, according to Pam, who writes that, "Comprehensive sex ed, and the anti-bullying bill, for instance have not posed a problem, but the marriage issue has tripped them up, and religion, as expected, is a hurdle that must be cleared."

So Pam decided to ask local advocates in Durham about their experience with, and advice about, working with African-American lawmakers to advance LGBT equality in North Carolina. And today, she posts a video interview with TaMeicka Clear of PFLAG Out Like Us (pictured), who shared her own thoughts about what works, and what doesn't, when it comes to working on LGBT issues.

"Definitely one thing to do would be to show up and show them that it is a black issue, and to just be consistent and show up in large numbers . . . and I can't stress consistency enough," Clear tells Pam, adding later that, "There is a large misconception that we don't have a voice -- we do. And I saw some of the shock on a lot of the legislators' faces today to even see as many black [LGBT] people as there were present. So we need to be more present and visible, period."

To see the full video interview with TaMeicka, and to join the discussion at Pam's House Blend, click here to visit Pam's home on the web.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Change, Coming from the Heartland

During his campaign for the White House, President Obama was often fond of reminding Americans that "change doesn't come from Washington; it comes to Washington." Significant change, he told the country, doesn't usually originate in the halls of Congress, but rises up from the heartland of America, when voters demand their elected leaders do something drastic and change the course of our country and our collective history.

That fundamental lesson, about the power of an effective "community organizer" to usher in change on a national level, may also be a key component of an effective campaign to "turn the corner" on our national debate about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By understanding that change won't necessarily come from the corridors of power in D.C., but may begin with a shift in the thinking of both blue and red state America, we may be able to build the foundations today that will spell victory for our families tomorrow, when we once again face ballot box battles like Proposition 8 in California or a vote on federal hate crimes legislation on Capitol Hill in Washington.

Indeed, making in-roads in places like North Carolina (where lawmakers are moving forward on an anti-marriage amendment), Illinois (where advocates have been putting in long hours and a lot of energy to establish recognition for same-sex couples) and Indiana (where the legislature has blocked an anti-marriage bill, but where allies fear their one-vote victory could someday disappear) can pay significant dividends for families across the country. And even in California, where some smaller communities almost unanimously supported Proposition 8, there is much community organizing left to be done.

And, as columnist Stephanie Salter points out in this morning's Star Tribune in Terre Haute, Indiana, there is a much-needed grassroots movement that is picking up steam in the weeks and months following the passage of Proposition 8 and other anti-equality initiatives in other states. More and more people in America's heartland, she reports, are beginning to reach out to their neighbors, co-workers, community leaders and clergy by establishing a local chapter of PFLAG.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Join PFLAG Winston-Salem for a "Prayers for Bobby"

PFLAG of Winston-Salem's Interfaith Coalition will host a Viewing Party for Prayers for Bobby on Jan. 24th in the Lower Auditorium of Wingate Hall on the Campus of Wake Forest University.

The movie begins at 9:00PM and will be shown on a large projection screen.
Seating is limited to around 100 people. Admission is free and snacks will be provided.

For more information e-mail thomasfarmer@triad.rr.com or wboyles@triad.rr.com.

Friday, November 21, 2008

How I Met Neena Mabe

Last April, I had the opportunity to do a Straight for Equality in the Workplace training with one of our corporate partners, Replacements Ltd. During the course of the planning process, I contacted the Winston-Salem PFLAG chapter to locate a parent to join me and speak at the training. Chapter president Thomas Farmer told me, “I’ve got the perfect person for you – you’re going to love her.”

And that’s how I met Neena Mabe.

Not only did Neena play a powerful and memorable role in the Straight for Equality training speaking as a PFLAG mom, but she brought her daughter, Kate [pictured,right], along for the workshop. The two had become progressively more involved in the work to move equality forward in their community through projects with both PFLAG and GLSEN.

I was lucky enough to get to spend some time talking to Kate, who is a sharp, funny, and powerful young woman who is the perfect example of how fierce determination, partnered with support at home, really does lead to big change. She’s become an activist in her school, member of the GLSEN Jump-Start Team, and a member of her local PFLAG chapter. She’s generated so much attention to the issues that students face in school that she was just featured in a great profile in the Winston-Salem Journal.

So mother and daughter are making change in North Carolina, with Neena active in her PFLAG chapter (and recently a co-presenter with fellow PFLAGer Andrea Angelo at the Equality North Carolina State Conference talking about Straight for Equality) and Kate making schools safer, one person at a time. They make me proud to be part of PFLAG and genuinely hopeful that no matter what resistance we face, no matter where we are, we do have the ability to change the world.

- Jean-Marie Navetta

Friday, September 26, 2008

Clay and Coming Out

Recently the blog and media world have been abuzz with the news that singer (and former contestant on American Idol) Clay Aiken has come out as openly gay.

In his coming-out interview, Clay shares with us how he came out to his mother - a moment many PFLAG parents can remember, too.

He recalled a tearful discussion with his mother in a car after dropping off his brother, who was being sent to Iraq, at a military base. "It was dark. I was sitting there, thinking to myself. I don't know why I started thinking about it ... I just started bawling. She made me pull over the car and it just came out," he said. "She started crying. She was obviously somewhat stunned. But she was very supportive and very comforting."


In an article about Clay, his coming out and his newborn son, a reporter from Clay's home state of North Carolina talks with Ted Meyer of PFLAG Triangle about his own son's coming out. Be sure to read it in The News & Observer.

Friday, August 8, 2008

A Call for Nominations!

The following guest post is from Thomas Farmer, president of PFLAG's Winston-Salem chapter.

The Winston-Salem Chapter of PFLAG is proud to announces its 4th annual Kaleidoscope Awards season. And, we're requesting nominations from the community at large to recognize the contributions of allies to the local gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) community. Applications are available now and will be accepted through September 15, 2008.

Nominations are accepted in five categories, including the new Community Organization Award. The five categories are: Business; Education (formerly School); Faith Community; Individual; and the new category, Community Organization.

The Kaleidoscope Awards focus a spotlight on the powerful changes being made in all aspects of life by fair-minded allies, independently or within organizations, that recognize moving equality forward is the key to achieving justice for GLBT people.

This year's awards have been expanded so that a larger variety of remarkable individuals and organizations in Winston-Salem can be recognized and celebrated. With the addition of the Community Organization Award, PFLAG recognizes there are many civic and special interest organizations which are inclusive and advocate for the civil rights of GLBT people but did not fit into one of the other categories. Additionally, the re-named Education Award has been expanded to recognize those who work for change within the system. Individuals (students, educators, counselors and administrators) as well as educational groups or schools can be nominated for making schools a safer place with inspired learning for GLBT students.

We will recognize these outstanding allies at its fourth annual Kaleidoscope Awards Gala, appropriately held on National Coming Out Day, Saturday, October 11, 2008 at 7:30 p.m. at The Millennium Center in downtown Winston-Salem, NC. This year’s theme is Come out! Become Visible! Make Change! And we'll also celebrate PFLAG Winston-Salem’s 20th year in our community.

Applications are available online here and the submission deadline is September 15, 2008. Nominations can be submitted online, via email to info@pflagwinstonsalem.org or by mail to PFLAG Winston-Salem, PO Box 15477, Winston-Salem, NC 27106.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

PFLAG Announces Winston-Salem Support Group for African-American Families

The Winston-Salem PFLAG Chapter has just announced a new African-American support group designed specifically for family members, friends, and straight allies of black gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) people as well as for African-American GLBT people.

“A support group for GLBT African Americans, their families, and friends is very much needed in this community. This is a large step in the right direction for PFLAG and I am hoping that it promotes awareness and acceptance in the African American community . . . around the issue of homophobia,” said TaMeicka Clear, board member and chairperson of PFLAG Winston-Salem’s African American outreach program, OUT Like Us.

The first support group meeting will be Monday, August 11 at 7:30 PM at the Southside Branch of the Forsyth County Public Library, located 3185 Buchanan Street. The topic at the first meeting is Does Your Mama Know? Telling the Kinfolk, and will address coming out issues within the African American Community.

The facilitator for the series will be Dr. Michelle Lewis, Associate Professor of Psychology at Winston-Salem State University.Dr. Lewis earned her doctorate from Howard University in Washington, DC and previously facilitated support groups at the Whitman-Walker Clinic, also in Washington, DC. She is a member of the American Psychological Association (APA) and is a published author.

“Generally speaking, research and outreach to LGBT persons of color is still limited," Dr. Lewis said. "I hope that PFLAG's establishment of this African American support group in Winston Salem will be the first of several more services to meet the needs of this population. It's my hope that the group will be a safe, comforting, and healing space for people to share what's been on their minds and hearts for quite some time."

For more information, visit PFLAG Winston-Salem online. And to discuss the chapter's new outreach efforts to the African-American community, visit Pam's House Blend online.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

PFLAG Speaks Out in North Carolina

Last night, a local North Carolina CBS news affiliate, WBTV-3, featured media coverage of the ongoing debate about House Bill 1366--the School Violence Protection Act. Framed underneath the message of "Protection or Privelege," the piece gives voice to opponents of the bill as well as some supporters, including Mike Clawson, the NC state coordinator for PFLAG and member of PFLAG Salisbury/Rowan.
[The bill's] sponsors say the intent is simply to protect children from bullying. A local coordinator with the group Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays agrees, pointing out that the bill is supported by groups like the NAACP and the Girl Scouts. In an email, Mike Clawson says legislators need to remove their blinders of discrimination, and that all children are in danger of being bullied.
Watch the video below!



A print version of the story can also be read here.

Update: You can discuss the NC bill, and PFLAG's reaction, over at Pam's House Blend.

Friday, July 18, 2008

NC Senate Kills Safe Schools Bill

This morning's Charlotte Observer reports that the North Carolina Senate, in a stunning move, has "effectively killed" a safe schools bill that would have protected students from bullying and harassment on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. As Pam's House Blend reported earlier in the week, there was widespread support for the measure in the state.

In fact, "survey results released on Wednesday by Public Policy Polling (PPP) show that 72% of North Carolinians support this explicitly LGBT inclusive anti-bullying bill. Those in favor of the bill were in the majority in all demographic groups. Additionally, 58% of Republicans supported the measure."

So why did the bill, which included common sense protections for LGBT students, essentially fail?

According to the Observer, "Groups interested in socially conservative issues such as the Christian Action League and the N.C. Family Policy Council did not want the term sexual orientation' in state law, saying that gay-rights groups would use it to leverage other rights."

"The bill," the paper notes, "would have required teachers, students and volunteers to report bullying and have local school boards establish anti-bullying policies."

Seven other states, including California, Iowa, Maryland and Wisconsin, have similar laws on the books.

It is unfortunate, and unacceptable, that North Carolina lawmakers, charged with protecting students and creating a learning environment where everyone feels safe, have chosen instead to bow to pressure from extremist groups and, in turn, put children's safety at risk.

If you are a resident of North Carolina, click here to locate your local representative, and contact them to express your disappointment in the legislature's decision. If your representative voted the right way, thank them for their support, and encourage them to continue working on the issue.

You can also reach Senate Pro Tem Marc Basnight at (917) 733-7928. Urge Senator Basnight to revisit this critically important issue, and stand up for students, not extremists.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Visibility, Anniversaries & Allies


"When a match has equal partners, then I fear not."
- Aeschylus

All of us at PFLAG want to wish Pam Spaulding (over at one of our favorite sites, Pam's House Blend) and her partner Kate a very happy 4th anniversary. Pam and Kate tied the knot in Vancouver on July 1, 2004. And today, at the Blend, Pam has some thoughts on why visibility matters, and how simply talking about our families, and sharing our stories, can help find more allies in our work for LGBT equality.

"Our marriage is recognized in a few states (and as a civil union or domestic partnership in others), but we're second class citizens in NC," Pam writes. "Here at home we still have no hate crimes or employment protections (never mind benefits); there isn't even an anti-bullying law that protects LGBT students yet (more on a critical vote today here)."

"Marriage equality continues to thrive in small pockets in our country, and one of the best ways we can cultivate support and effect change is to bring those marriages back home where these commitments are not legally recognized," she notes. "Not to challenge the legal wrong, mind you (it's going to be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in the end), but to become visible married couples in our communities - living marriage out of the closet before our friends, neighbors, and work colleagues."

"Visibility challenges assumptions; show willingness to explain to potential allies how your legal-somewhere-else marriage is denied where you live."

"The fact is we will prove by example that our relationships will not cause an end to anyone else's marriage or destroy society, and it will move all of us closer to full civil equality."

To read Pam's complete entry about her wedding, her anniversary and her thoughts on moving marriage equality forward, click here.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Anyone who thinks that love needs to be cured...

Today I had plans to have lunch with a close friend, a straight ally who was the first female I uttered the words “bisexual” and “I” together with a copulative verb (and an indefinite article, to be grammatically correct) linking the two.

Upon greeting each other at the metro station she excitedly told me that she bought me a present, and questioned whether I wanted it that instant or at lunch. Despite my overwhelming curiosity over an unexpected gift and the desire to acquire said object, I said we ought to wait until we sat down over food.

Having arrived at the restaurant, and settling into our seats I couldn’t handle the suspense any longer, I told her I was ready for my present.

Over the table she handed me “Queer Quotes: On Coming Out and Culture, Love and Lust, Politics and Pride, and Much More." I was especially thankful, for both the thought of getting me a gift "just because" as well as the fantastically chosen gift.

Not having any time to read through the book between bites of food and chatting about our plans for the rest of the week, I put it away to be read later. Upon arriving back at PFLAG National, I took it out, flipped it open, and began looking through the pages.

W
hile it was the third quote listed, it was the first that struck my eye: “Anyone who thinks that love needs to be cured has not experienced enough of it in their own lives,” –Joan Garry, the Executive Director of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD).

This quote especially stood out to me because of Exodus International's plan to have their “International Freedom Conference” (their title for a large “ex-gay” ministry conference promoting so-called “reparative therapy”) in Asheville, NC this July.

Fortunately, there have already been some events scheduled to counter the false and harmful messages of "ex-gay" ministries (in 1998, the American Pyschiatric Association stated it was opposed to reparative therapy, stating "psychiatric literature strongly demonstrates that treatment attempts to change sexual orientation are ineffective. However, the potential risks are great, including depression, anxiety and self-destructive [suicidal] behavior..."). The schedule of events for July 15-20 are as follows :
  • Tuesday, July 15, 7:00-8:30 PM, Kick off Event
    "Can You Pray Away the Gay?"
    Firestorm Café & Books (48 Commerce St., Asheville)

    Speakers: Wayne Besen, Director, TruthWinsOut.org and author of "Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-gay Myth," and Ian Palmquist, Executive Director, Equality NC
  • Wednesday, July 16, 7:00 PM
    Film: "For the Bible Tells Me So"
    Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Swannanoa Valley (500 Montreat Rd. Black Mountain , NC 28711)

    Co-hosted by Common Light Meeting Place, Discussion follows, led by Laine Calloway,Gay & Lesbian Ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of WNC
  • Thursday, July 17, 6:45 PM
    Film: "For the Bible Tells Me So"
    Henderson County Library (301 Washington St., Hendersonville, NC 28739)
    Hosted by
    PFLAG Flat Rock/Hendersonville & Love Welcomes All Committee
    Discussion afterward led by Rev. Jerry Miller (a PFLAG regional director)
  • Friday, July 18, 7:00 PM
    Film: "Fish Can't Fly"
    Unitarian Universalist Church of Asheville
    Charlotte St. at Edwin Place, Asheville, NC 28801

    Discussion follows. Wayne Besen will discuss appearing in the film
  • Saturday, July 19, 11 AM - 2 PM Real-Families Picnic!!
    Recreation Park - 69 Gashes Creek Rd. Asheville, NC 28805
    (off Swannanoa River Rd. next to WNC Nature Center)