Dear PFLAG Family and Friends,
In just 35 days, voters will head to the polls in an immensely important election that has far-reaching consequences for our families and friends. It is imperative that, in the weeks ahead, PFLAGers learn the facts about candidates’ positions on issues important to our community. And, in several states, it is critical that we mobilize our allies to defeat divisive, anti-family initiatives that the extreme right wing is working hard to pass. We simply cannot allow the forces of prejudice and discrimination to roll back the rights of those we love, or undermine the American promise of liberty and justice for all.
No matter where you live, please take time between now and November 4 to learn about the candidates running for office. Over the next few years, the LGBT community and our allies will be moving forward on issues such as hate crimes legislation, employment non-discrimination, immigration equality and repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Our success depends on electing fair-minded leaders who will move equality forward and stand with our families and friends.
In several states, voters are also being asked to weigh in on ballot initiatives that, if successful, will perpetuate an unacceptable second class of citizenship for LGBT people.
- If you live in California, please vote NO on Proposition 8, which would roll back marriage equality for same-sex couples and strip away essential rights and protections those couples now enjoy;
- If you live in Florida, please vote NO on the proposed constitutional amendment (2) to ban marriage and civil unions for same-sex couples;
- If you live in Arizona, please vote NO on the proposed constitutional amendment (102) to ban marriage for same-sex couples;
- If you live in Arkansas, please vote NO on that state’s proposal, a blatantly anti-gay initiative, to prevent single residents from adopting foster children; and
- If you live in Gainesville, Florida or Hamtramck, Michigan, please vote NO on efforts to discriminate against the transgender community by removing gender identity from local non-discrimination laws.
And no matter where you live, be sure to urge everyone you know to join you in voting on November 4. Our family, our friends and our futures depend on our ability to get our allies out to the polls.
Here are highlights from some of PFLAG’s other work over the past month:
I’ve been traveling from New York to Los Angeles as part of the launch for Crisis, a just-published compilation of stories about the barriers so many LGBT people must overcome. Editor Mitchell Gold has gathered 40 stories, including mine, for this amazing project, and he’s donating profits from the book to worthy organizations like PFLAG. You can read our report from the New York Crisis launch here; listen to audio interviews with contributors on our blog; and purchase your own copy online at Lambda Rising.
PFLAGers in Alaska spoke out against Love Won Out, the so-called “ex-gay” conference that seeks to “cure” lesbian, gay and bisexual kids. We called on elected leaders to learn the truth about Love in a widely reprinted HuffingtonPost column, and the PFLAG National office worked with our allies in Anchorage to highlight the destructive propaganda being espoused at the conference. And when news broke that GOP Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin’s church endorsed the event, Queerty reported that, “PFLAG used the opportunity to ask the politico for a little compassion.”
Just last week, the PepsiCo Foundation announced an extraordinary $500,000 gift in support of Straight for Equality, our innovative new project aimed at inviting, educating and engaging more straight people to become allies around the country. "The Straight for Equality in the Workplace training program is unique in that it is promoting the necessary message of inclusion to untapped groups within the local community, and that is a crucial step towards building a healthy working environment,” PepsiCo said in an article released in the latest edition of our newsletter, the PFLAGpole.
In Louisiana, our New Orleans chapter called on Governor Bobby Jindal to protect LGBT citizens after he announced a plan to allow a state non-discrimination order to expire. Jindal refused to renew the order, in part, out of fear that it would hinder faith-based organizations’ ability to contract with the state. “Our state’s proud history of ‘Union, Justice, Confidence’ is undermined when our public leaders strip our families of basic protections we should all enjoy,” said Julie Thompson, president of our chapter in New Orleans. “There is nothing ‘pro-family’ about rolling back protections for some families.”
PFLAG was also proud to bring our media expertise to work for our friends at Immigration Equality, organizing a media training for the group’s communications, policy and legal staff in New York. Immigration Equality, which does ground-breaking work on issues such as the HIV travel ban and works for passage of the Uniting American Families Act in Congress, turned to PFLAG’s communications staff to help them hone their message, effectively showcase their spokespeople and develop a strong communications strategy that will help bi-national couples and immigrants living with HIV and AIDS.
In San Francisco, PFLAG presented a panel on transgender issues at Lavender Law, the annual conference of the National Lesbian & Gay Law Association. I joined Calpernia Addams, from our Love Story campaign, to address a standing-room-only crowd of more than 200 people about the importance of transgender inclusion in our legislative work and PFLAG’s long-time commitment to, and history with, the transgender community.
Finally, I had the pleasure of participating in two PFLAG regional conferences last month: The Mountain West conference, hosted by PFLAG Boulder, and the Northern Plains conference, hosted by PFLAG St. Paul/Minneapolis. Hundreds of people gathered from across the regions to share best practices, learn new skills and become more inspired to continue doing the work of moving equality forward. To see photos from the Mountain West conference, visit our blog online.
From Alaska to New York, and right in America’s heartland, we’re proud to be working with our chapters, allies and members to end anti-LGBT discrimination . . . educate the public about our families . . . and get out the vote on election day ’08. Together, we’re working to make sure our leaders bring “a little compassion” to Washington and that PFLAGers have the tools and help they need to move equality forward in their own cities and towns, too.
Thanks to all of you for being part the PFLAG family,
Jody M. Huckaby
P.S.: PFLAG supporters are also invited to attend the 26th Annual Conference of the Gay & Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA), being held October 23-25 in Seattle. For more information, or to register, click here.
PFLAG in the News
Here are some recent news stories featuring local PFLAG chapters as well as the National Office: