By Carolyn Wagner
On September 27, 2002 the National PFLAG Board of Directors adopted the following Public Policy Resolution:
"That PFLAG can only support legislation that provides explicit inclusion of all who are included in our mission statement and ENDS."
Although few words compose this Policy Statement, the message it contains is historical and powerful. In 1998, PFLAG became the first national organization to include transgender people in its mission statement; we also became the first national organization to develop a public policy that reflects this commitment in our mission statement.
My son is gay so I quickly came to understand the basis for the discrimination and the violence that he faced. The very fact that he was gay violated the social norms our culture has placed on what defines gender. To admit to being gay, lesbian or bisexual is to violate the gender rules under which our social climate has historically functioned – and transgender people face the same issues.
Another PFLAG mom, Gabi Clayton, used a very helpful analogy to explain why such a public policy statement from PFLAG on transgender inclusion in our work is so crucial. She suggested the following: Suppose you live in a community where there is a community bomb shelter. As the bomb sirens begin to roar and the citizens file into the shelter, the community leaders begin to bar admission to a few. They tell those that they refuse admission to "Maybe next time. And if you survive you can work with us to be sure the larger community will allow you shelter the next time we are under attack."
With our new Public Policy Statement on Legislation, PFLAG will not be excluding any in our community. ALL whom we include in our mission statement will find open arms and shelter within PFLAG as well as in our words and actions.
NB: TNET is indebted to Carolyn Wagner for drafting, introducing, and skillfully managing unanimous passage of this potentially controversial resolution.
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