Note: This statement was read by PFLAG National Executive Director Jody M. Huckaby at the National Press Club at a press conference organized by LGBT organizations to call on Congress to vote on ENDA immediately. (Read the media advisory for this event here.)
Good morning. I’m Jody Huckaby, and I’m the executive director of PFLAG, the national organization representing parents, family members and straight allies together with LGBT people in over 350 chapters and affiliates across the country.
It is the voice of parents and allies that I represent here today. Since ENDA’s first introduction in 1994, parents and straight friends of LGBT people have been standing in solidarity in sending the message that Congress must pass ENDA now.
As straight parents and friends, most of our PFLAG members are not directly impacted by the lack of employment protections for LGBT people, but they know all too well the incredible impact that discrimination – and often just the fear of discrimination – has on their LGBT loved ones.
I have spoken to the mom whose lesbian daughter has remained in the closet at her job in Ohio for more than 20 years, paralyzed by the fear that if her employer knew she was gay, it would be the end of her job. I’ve met the grandmother in Louisiana who has been advocating for laws to protect her grandson for too long. And just last week in Manhattan, Kansas, I met with the straight friend of a young woman who is afraid that if her boss discovers she is transgender, she will lose her job.
These parents and straight allies have been vocal about their support for ENDA – since 2007 alone, PFLAG family members and allies have sent more than 8000 e-mails to their federal legislators. They’ve made more than 100 trips to Capitol Hill to send their message in-person, and they’ve conducted countless in-district lobby visits.
These are not paid advocates. They are everyday moms and dads, brothers and sisters, and straight friends who have a simple message: our LGBT loved ones deserve the same equality we have. Congress must pass ENDA now.
One of those people who our members have advocated for is here today. I’d like to introduce Terrence, who is going to tell his story of family values, workplace discrimination, and how Congress can act to ensure that the American dream that was instilled in him by his parents and grandmother can become a reality.