PFLAG Helps Straight Allies Come Out
with the Launch of Straight for Equality
Dear Abby and Cyndi Lauper to Help Kick-Off Nationwide Multiyear Outreach
Washington, DC – Just saying that you have a gay friend isn’t good enough anymore, according to Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG). Today the organization is launching a new national, multi-year project to help people do something about it.
Straight for Equality aims to help a new group of allies – not the family members that PFLAG is known for working with – start coming out as supportive of their gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender friends and acquaintances. The project accomplishes this with a new approach to the topic as well as a sense of humor.
“PFLAG has a 35-year history of helping people come out, whether they’re gay or the family member of someone else who is,” said John Cepek, PFLAG’s National President. “And now we’re taking what we’ve learned about coming out to a new audience. We’re talking to people who don’t have a family connection, but who just want to help out because it is the right thing to do.”
Last month, PFLAG launched the website for Straight for Equality at www.straightforequality.org. In that time, more than 1,000 people have visited the site to sign the Straight for Equality Pledge which asks allies to “come out, speak up, and join in” the effort to create change. On Thursday morning, multiple-award-winning musician Cyndi Lauper will join PFLAG in Washington to promote the project and sign the Straight for Equality Pledge.
“Our point is that there are lots of ways to be an ally. You don’t have to agree on all of the issues – all you need is a desire to want to speak up and learn more,” said Jody M. Huckaby, PFLAG’s National Executive Director. “We want to meet people where they are and help them learn more. This is about starting conversations, not having confrontations.”
According to a poll commissioned last month, America is ready for the program. When people were asked about the level of support for gay people in this country, 56% of respondents said that people should be more supportive of gay individuals. That number shot up to 60% in the 18-44 age range, proving that younger audiences are becoming progressively more accepting.
More importantly, 7 of 10 Americans who say they’ve spoken up when faced with an anti-gay comment or joke. And a surprising 18% of straight allies who have spoken up did so because of their religious or moral beliefs.
The message of straight allies speaking out has become even more mainstream with the news that PFLAG’s first-ever Straight for Equality Award winner, Dear Abby, supports marriage equality for gay people.
“I hate discrimination. In my column and in my daily life, I have always promoted fairness for all people, and I admire the work that PFLAG does for the friends and families of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals,” said Dear Abby. “That’s why I’m pleased to help launch Straight for Equality, an important effort to bring even more fair-minded voices to the forefront in supporting a safe and welcoming society for all. And that is why I am honored to accept the first Straight for Equality award.”
“When Dear Abby puts her opinion out there, people listen. As one of the world’s foremost straight allies, her voice on fairness and inclusion is powerful,” said Huckaby. “We’re thrilled to be honoring her with our first Straight for Equality Award to recognize the tremendous work she’s done to move the conversation about equality forward.”
Full Harris Poll results from PFLAG’s poll on straight allies in America is available at:
Download the first Straight for Equality publication, the guide to being an ally: http://community.pflag.org/NETCOMMUNITY/Page.aspx?&pid=642&srcid=642
Dear Abby will receive the first Straight for Equality Award on Saturday, October 13, at a program starting at 8:00 pm the PFLAG National Convention in McLean, VA. Press registration is available on site.
Interviews with PFLAG representatives and Straight for Equality honoree Dear Abby are available. Please contact PFLAG to make arrangements.
About PFLAG: Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) is the nation’s premier grassroots organization committed to the civil rights of gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) persons. Founded in 1973 by heterosexual mothers and fathers, PFLAG has 500 chapters and over 250,000 members and supporters throughout the United States.