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Mary Bowman Arts In Activism Award

The National AIDS Memorial announced that Bobbi-Angelica Morris currently at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. & Joseph Taylor at Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore are the most recent recipients of the Mary Bowman Arts in Activism Award. The Award honors the life of the poet, advocate, author & singer Mary Bowman who passed away from AIDS in early 2019 at the age of 30. John Cunningham, Chief Executive Officer of the National AIDS Memorial stated, “During Black History Month, we are especially pleased to support poet & spoken word performer Bobbi-Angelica Morris & painter Joseph Taylor with our most recent Mary Bowman Arts in Activism Awards. Bobbi-Angelica’s poetry & commitment is creating space for marginalized voices & intersectional identities to express themselves freely & creatively. Joseph Taylor uses his artistic talent to uplift the voices within the Black community by visually amplifying their challenges & struggles while simultaneously illustrating their grace, heroism & power.” Funded through a generous multi-year grant from ViiV Healthcare the Award offers support to artist-activists who through their creative practice inspire individuals & communities & make a positive impact in the fight against HIV/AIDS while advancing social justice. The awardees receive $5,000 each. Marc Meachem, Head, U.S. External Affairs, ViiV Healthcare concluded, “This Award supports young artists & activists like Joseph & Bobbi-Angelica who use their creativity & unique perspectives to highlight our shared humanity & to make change through their art. Like Mary Bowman, their work shows how culture can break down stigma & deepen connections with people to activate positive change.” The next round of awards will open March 1st 2023 with applications accepted until the deadline of July 15th 2023. 

Tennessee House Passes Anti-Drag Bill

UPDATE: Both anti-LGBTQ bills have been signed into law by Governor Lee after passing the Tennessee House. First House Bill 9 that bans many drag performances from taking place on any public property in the state as well as in any location where people under 18 could be present. The second is House Bill 1 that bans age appropriate, medically necessary care to transgender youth under the age of 18.  Sarah Warbelow HRC Legal Director stated, “By passing House Bill 9, the Tennessee legislature has done nothing but spread hate, misinformation & extremism. Drag is a longstanding, celebratory form of entertainment & a meaningful source of employment for many across the state. Yet, rather than focus on actual policy issues facing Tennesseans, politicians would rather spend their time & effort misconstruing age-appropriate performances at a library to pass as many anti-LGBTQ+ bills as they can. Dangerous rhetoric like this has real consequences – prejudiced inspired bills only rile up an extremist base & normalize violence against the LGBTQ+ community, especially transgender & nonbinary people. We urge Governor Lee to veto this discriminatory bill.” Cathryn Oakley HRC State Legislative Director & Senior Counsel concluded, “This attempt by radical politicians in Tennessee to ban gender-affirming care is only the latest effort in their war against the LGBTQ+ community, especially against transgender kids…These extremist lawmakers have intentionally made life harder & more dangerous for trans kids. Gender affirming care is age-appropriate, life-saving, medically necessary care that is only provided after the consent of parents & doctors." I talked to Emma Chinn Special Projects Coordinator at Campaign for Southern Equality & a proud LGBTQ Tennessean about her state's aggressive attack on our transgender community & her spin on our LGBTQ issues. LISTEN  

Activist Achebe Betty Powell Passes

Achebe Betty Powell an inspiring LGBTQ leader & activist has passed away at the age of 82. Achebe was one of the first Black women to have a leadership role in the lesbian & gay liberation movement in the 1970’s & was a founding mother of the Astraea Lesbian Foundation For Justice org where she remained active for the last 45 years. Powell worked across movements & brought disparate communities together. Powell stated, “All of our movements—the black civil rights movement, the women’s movement & the LGBTQ+ movement—were so important to link to each other. It’s critical for the long game. It’s about human rights & we need to work in that context to make this movement much larger than just us. It’s the continuing work of our current & future leaders to think in this visionary way, because we have to secure the rights of us all on this planet. We can never stop bending the arc of history toward justice—for all of us.” Susana Fried, Co-Chair of Astraea Foundation’s Board added, “I commit to brining Achebe’s spirit into our work. As a friend of Achebe's, I am honored & humbled to be part of the amazing Astraea journey that daily manifests Achebe's principles & values." Kierra Johnson, Executive Director of the National LGBTQ Task Force concluded, "We are so saddened at the loss of Achebe Betty Powell. She was a pioneer, a visionary, an inspiration & trailblazer in a movement that was in its early organizing days. The Task Force was blessed to have her as a board chair & board member, including having her represent us as our first Black board member in 1977 at the first ever meeting at the White House with LGBTQ activists.” 

PFLAG To Honor Tom Daley At 50th Gala

Olympic gold medalist & LGBTQ activist Tom Daley will be honored with the 2023 George Takei Advocate Award at the iconic LGBTQ org’s 50th Anniversary Gala event on Friday March 3rd at the Marriott Marquis in NYC. The George Takei Advocate Award honors a person who uses their visibility to help advance PFLAG’s work to create a caring, just & affirming world for LGBTQ people & those who love them. The award is named in honor of the actor, social justice activist, social media mega-power & New York Times bestselling author. George Takei stated, “I first met Tom in 2019 in New York. This was before he competed for and won his Olympic Gold Medal, before he was named to the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire & before his powerful BBC documentary ‘Illegal to Be Me,’ but after he had become a parent. It was clear then that Tom knew his role would forever be to make this world a better, more affirming place for LGBTQ+ people & families. I am honored to lend my name to an award from PFLAG National that recognizes the courage to advocate for LGBTQ+ people & I am proud that Tom Daley will be the first to receive it.” PFLAG previously announced that they will also bestow honors on Big Freedia (Breaking Barriers Award) & Mondelēz (Straight for Equality in Business Award) at a spectacular event hosted by Amber Ruffin & featuring Tati Gabrielle (YOU, Uncharted), Eureka (WE’RE HERE), Rose Abdoo (HACKS) & more with performances by Robin S., Evann McIntosh, Johnny Manuel & VINCINT. 

Boston Gay Men’s Chorus Spring Concert

The Boston Gay Men’s Chorus will premiere “Born This Way” the choral theater adaptation of popular children’s book “A Peacock Among Pigeons” on March 11th & 12th at New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall in Boston, MA. The Boston feel-good concert of the Spring will feature music from Broadway, Hollywood, the pop charts plus the world premiere of a stage adaptation of the award-winning book “A Peacock Among Pigeons” by composer John Bucchino. Reuben Reynolds BGMC Music Director stated, “The anthem ‘Born This Way’ by Lady Gaga reminds everybody—including LGBTQ people— that they’re perfect just the way they are. This concert is all about finding yourself, loving yourself & simply being yourself. We share that story in an incredibly fun & moving way with the world premiere of ‘A Peacock Among Pigeons.’” John Bucchino added, “This story is something that the world needs right now & I’m so proud to play a part in bringing it to the stage. A Peacock Among Pigeons is a story about finding your own way in the world in the most lovely, fantastic & whimsical way. With 200 voices, colorful costumes & a small orchestra, this show is going to be absolutely incredible.” The first half of “Born This Way” opens with “Let It Sing” with other songs exploring the theme of being true to yourself including the gay anthem “True Colors”. The second half will be the world premiere of “A Peacock Among Pigeons” featuring a full cast from the Chorus & an eight-piece orchestra. Last month BGMC released the Amazon Prime documentary "Music Triumphs Homophobia". LISTEN  

Mississippi Transgender Healthcare Ban

The Mississippi Senate has voted in favor of HB1125 a bill that prohibits transgender-related healthcare in Mississippi for people under the age of 18. This means that care such as gender-affirming hormone therapy & puberty blockers would be inaccessible for any trans person 17 & younger. The bill now heads to the desk of Governor Tate Reeves & if he signs it the bill will take effect immediately. Jensen Luke Matar, Executive Director of The TRANS Program stated, “Mississippi lawmakers are insisting that they know what’s best for transgender youth & ignoring the recommendations of every major medical association. Patients, along with their health care providers – not politicians – should decide what medical care is in the best interest of a patient. I know from years of working directly with trans youth in Mississippi that they need support, love & affirmation – not this brazen political attack that cuts off their access to life-saving care.” Lea Campbell, President of the Mississippi Rising Coalition concluded, “My heart breaks for trans youth & all of their loved ones who are being targeted by this heinous attack on their dignity & access to basic healthcare. We are eager to support, with the financial, emotional & logistical toll of this bill’s passage & we urge the families of trans young people to get in touch with the coalition for support.” So far this year Utah & South Dakota have passed similar anti-transgender laws joining previously-passed laws in Alabama & Arkansas which are both currently on hold by court orders. Data from The Williams Institute show that at least 99,000 LGBTQ people above the age of 16 live in Mississippi & approximately 13,500 adults in Mississippi identify as transgender. 

More Bills Filed Opposing LGBTQ Rights

With less than two months into the new year, 340 anti-LGBTQ bills have been introduced in statehouses across the country with 150 specifically aimed to restrict the rights of our transgender community. 90 bills are attempting to prevent trans youth from being able to access age-appropriate, medically-necessary, best-practice health care & two have already become law in Utah & South Dakota with more bathroom ban bills filed than in any previous year. What’s even more alarming is that 28 of these anti-LGBTQ bills have already passed at least one chamber. Shevrin D. Jones Florida State Senator stated, “The Governor & lawmakers are turning transgender kids – our state's most vulnerable population – into a political football. It’s 2023, not 1963. Standing back is not an option. Just talking about the problem is not an option. We cannot sit back & just watch because these policies that are coming to Florida today will be in Texas tomorrow, will be in Arizona next week & will be in Tennessee the week after.” Libby Gonzales, a 12-year old transgender student in Texas concluded, “It really feels like my legislators want everyone to believe that kids like me don't really exist. They keep trying to convince everyone that I'm some kind of scary monster, or that I have something wrong with me. I'm tired & scared every time I go to the Capital. I think maybe this time it will make an impact, but every session is worse than the last. The people leading our government should want every kid to have a great childhood. Instead, they're the biggest bullies, continuing to take away my ability to play sports with my friends & now they want to take away my health care & call my parents, who love & protect me, child abusers.”

PFLAG 50th Gala To Honor Big Freedia

PFLAG has announced that GRAMMY Award winning bounce music superstar Big Freedia will be presented with the “Breaking Barriers Award” at their 50th Anniversary Gala on March 3rd at the Marriott Marquis in NYC. The PFLAG National Breaking Barriers Award honors an individual who uses their platform to help remove obstacles to LGBTQ & intersectional equality in pursuit of a more just, equitable & inclusive world. Big Freedia is the first recipient of this honor. Big Freedia stated, “I know what it is to have unconditional love & affirmation from my mother, Ms. Vera, who was my biggest champion in my life & my career. She was what every PFLAG parent strives to be & is one of the reasons I can be the loud, proud Black, gay, gender fluid advocate I am. I am truly honored to be recognized by PFLAG National with the Breaking Barriers Award, because I know the power of the walls you can break down when you do it with your parents & allies.” Brian K. Bond, Executive Director of PFLAG National concluded, “Whether it’s making the dance floor a place where every person of every body type is welcome, or it’s being unabashedly herself on the world’s biggest stages as a genderfluid Black and beautiful musician, Big Freedia has used every part of her talent & joy to open doors & break barriers to inclusion. We are proud to honor Big Freedia with the inaugural PFLAG National Breaking Barriers Award.” Amber Ruffin will host the event with appearances by Tati Gabrielle (YOU, Uncharted), Eureka (WE’RE HERE), Rose Abdoo (HACKS) & performances by Robin S., Evann McIntosh, Johnny Manuel & more. 

Victory Fund Political Mission (AUDIO)

This week I talked with Annise Parker, President & CEO of the Victory Fund & Victory Institute about the importance of endorsing openly LGBTQ political candidates for local, state & federal elective offices. Currently there are 1200 openly LGBTQ people serving in offices across America but we need at least 30,000 to come close to leveling the political scope in this country. The LGBTQ Victory Fund works to achieve this goal & sustain equality by increasing the number of openly LGBTQ elected officials at all levels of government while ensuring they reflect the diversity of those they serve. We all know how successful the religious right has been in stacking the political field against our community. Now is the time to support LGBTQ candidates in their quest to advance our progressive values. To be considered for endorsement by the Victory Fund & Victory Institute candidates must be openly LGBTQ, pro-choice & support an individual’s right to privacy. It’s also crucial that they support the rights of transgender individuals, demonstrate community support & have a realistic plan to win. Candidates must additionally demonstrate support of federal, state or local efforts to advance LGBTQ civil rights through the legislative or regulatory process & demonstrate support of federal, state or local efforts to safeguard privacy & reproductive freedom. Victory Fund was founded in 1991 by LGBTQ activists & donors who recognized the success of EMILY’s List at attracting attention & support for women candidates for public office & applied the success of this model to advance equality for our LGBTQ community. I talked to Annise about what she hopes to accomplish at the Victory Fund & her spin on our LGBTQ issues. LISTEN  

LGBTQ State Of The Movement (AUDIO)

The National LGBTQ Task Force celebrating 50 years is bringing together more than 3,000 LGBTQ activists & organizers to its 2023 Creating Change Conference from Friday February 17th to Tuesday February 21st at the Hilton Hotel Union Square in San Francisco, CA. This year’s theme is “The State of the Movement: Our Past. Our Present. Our Future”. Creating Change is the foremost political, leadership & skills-building conference for our LGBTQ social justice movement. Organizers will gather as the LGBTQ civil rights movement takes stock of the current hostile climate towards our community & will spend several days strategizing on the way moving forward, providing skills building workshops & a space for substantive & strategic planning at Creating Change. The conference features caucuses, workshops, plenaries & events that focus on the critical issues facing the LGBTQ community from anti-LGBTQ legislation across our nation to gun violence, reproductive rights to embracing queer joy & organizing in the faith community. There will be over 100 workshops, 44 caucuses & 14 special events, including the Agents of Change House Ball, a film festival & “Gayme” nights. Some of the keynote speakers will include Angelica Ross, transgender rights activist & star of FX’s POSE; Amy Schneider, the most successful female contestant in Jeopardy! history; X González, gun violence prevention activist & LGBTQ rights advocate; historian & author Eric Marcus. In this exclusive chat I recently talked to LGBTQ pioneer activist Virginia (Ginny) Apuzzo who served as Executive Director of the National LGBTQ Task Force from 1982 to 1986 about what it was like when she led the National LGBTQ Task Force in the 1980’s & her unique perspective about where the LGBTQ movement is now & where it needs to go. LISTEN   

Florida Advances Gender Affirming Ban

In Florida the Boards of Medicine & Osteopathy have aligned the language & advanced a proposed rule to restrict gender affirming care for transgender youth. Nikole Parker, Director of Transgender Equality stated, “Shame on the Florida Boards of Medicine & Osteopathy for continuing this assault on the health of young people & the rights of their parents to seek the best care possible for their children. This rule puts transgender youth at higher risk of depression, anxiety & suicidality & strips parents of the right to make decisions about care for their kids. Those are the facts that have been purposely ignored by Boards of Medicine & Osteopathy stacked with DeSantis allies & campaign donors who have put their toxic politics over people’s health & wellbeing. Transgender Floridians exist. Transgender youth exist. Gender-affirming care is lifesaving care & it is care that is supported by every major medical organization, an overwhelming majority of medical providers & should be left to young people, their families & their doctors; not politicians.” This is the first time a state medical board has been weaponized in this way to ban medical treatments for transgender children. The Boards of Medicine & Osteopathy are just two among the many state agencies stacked by Governor DeSantis with right-wing extremists to weaponize against our LGBTQ Floridians. The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration’s rule ending Medicaid coverage for gender-affirming care in the state went into effect last summer. Then of course we know too well that the Florida State Board of Education has adopted a new series of rules dramatically expanding enforcement of the “Don’t Say LGBTQ Law” that puts teachers’ licenses at risk & targets school districts with LGBTQ-inclusive policies regarding bathrooms & locker rooms. 

New LGBTQ Elders Services Launched

SAGE announced the launch of SAGECollab a new innovative partnership model to bring together a diverse national network of groups, organizations & individuals to support LGBTQ older people & advocate for LGBTQ aging policies across the country. Lynn Faria SAGE Executive Vice President stated, “We are thrilled to create a flexible partnership model that will allow SAGE to both lead & learn from old & new partners across the country. SAGECollab will help create a connected ecosystem of activists, organizations & service providers who support LGBTQ+ elders in their communities & each other.”  Joe Wheeler, Director, of Carolina Aging Alliance added, “SAGE is a tremendous resource for its community partners. Our services, education & advocacy for older LGBTQ+ people in Central North Carolina are strengthened because of our partnership with our colleagues at SAGE & across the country.”  Edward Adams, Operations & Program Manager, Out Wilmington LGBTQ Seniors & The LGBTQ Center of the Cape Fear concluded, “It’s a tough job trying to advocate, educate & energize LGBTQ+ elders in a smaller community when the resources are just not there. The blessing of SAGECollab is that they are always there beside me as a partner. The network of advocates across the country willing to lend support & tools to help you succeed is life-changing. Thanks to SAGECollab, my ability to advocate for positive change in the community I love is not only possible but done at a much higher level.”  Founded in 1978, SAGE is the world’s largest & oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of LGBTQ older people. 

First Black LGBTQ Person On US Quarter

In celebration of Black History Month the U.S. Mint has announced that Dr. Pauli Murray who was a non-binary Black lawyer, civil rights activist, poet & priest will appear on the 2024 American Women Quarters Program. Fifteen years before Rosa Parks refuses to give up her bus seat, Pauli fought for social justice & was influential to both Ruth Bader Ginsburg & Thurgood Marshall. There’s a fabulous documentary on Prime Video entitled “My Name Is Pauli Murray” that you should check out if you haven’t already. Dr. David J. Johns, Executive Director of the National Black Justice Coalition stated, “The announcement by the U.S. Mint that it will include civil rights activist Rev. Dr. Pauli Murray, the first Black queer person to be featured on U.S. currency deserves celebration. This moment is a reminder that wherever there is history there is Black history & that Black history has always included the contributions of Black queer, trans & non-binary/non-conforming members of our beautifully diverse community. Commemorating the life & legacy of Murray, who was a groundbreaking leader of racial & gender equality & progenitor of effective civil rights tactics & was also one of the first women, first gender nonbinary person & the first Black woman to be ordained as an Episcopal priest, is an important step toward recognizing the contributions that Black LGBTQ+/same-gender loving people have made to American history. Especially at a time when the evangelical right is using religion to separate, segregate & inspire hate. We commend the U.S. Mint for honoring Pauli Murray, amongst a number of influential and groundbreaking women. The lives, contributions & stories of Black trans, queer & non-binary/non-conforming people are fundamental to Black history & should continue to be told & celebrated.” 

LGBTQ Spin On The State Of The Union

President Biden’s State of the Union mentioned our LGBTQ community in reference to the Respect of Marriage Act’s passage & the need to finally pass the Equality Act & protect our trans youth. Biden stated, “It’s our duty to protect all the people’s rights & freedoms… Make no mistake; if Congress passes a national abortion ban, I will veto it. Let’s also pass the bipartisan Equality Act to ensure LGBTQ Americans, especially transgender young people, can live with safety & dignity.” Kierra Johnson, Executive Director, National LGBTQ Task Force stated, “It was vital & appreciated that President Biden mentioned the urgent need to pass the Equality Act & actions taken to secure marriage equality. What many people may not realize is that LGBTQ people are at the center of all the issues President Biden spoke about throughout his address. Social security. Fair wages. Medicaid expansion. Access to education. Reproductive justice. Police reform. These are all LGBTQ issues. LGBTQ people are often disproportionately impacted because of the discrimination our community faces every single day. LGBTQ people are not fully able to participate or benefit from all that our country has to offer. For too many queer people, the American dream is out of reach. Instead, the nightmare of physical violence, state sanctioned harassment & bullying in the name of religion is the reality.” Sarah Kate Ellis GLAAD President & CEO concluded, “President Biden included LGBTQ people in his vision for a more equal, more free & more compassionate country. In re-upping his call for Congress to pass the Equality Act & protect transgender youth, the President is leading by example to expand freedom so no one is left behind.”

AIDS Memorial Quilt Heads To Louisiana

To celebrate National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day the AIDS Memorial Quilt is headed to Louisiana honoring Black & Brown lives lost to HIV & AIDS. This is part of “Change the Pattern” a national campaign to end HIV in Black, Brown & LGBTQ communities across the Southern United States. The National AIDS Memorial, Southern AIDS Coalition (SAC) & Gilead Sciences will showcase two major displays of the AIDS Quilt from February 7th to 11th at Dillard University in New Orleans & Southern University & A&M College in Baton Rouge. Dafina Ward, Executive Director, SAC stated, “We are so honored to partner with these two distinguished HBCUs to bring the AIDS Memorial Quilt to Louisiana during Black History Month. The Black community faces systemic struggles that we can no longer ignore, not just in the fight to end HIV, but across numerous health & social justice issues. We will ‘change the pattern’ by having honest conversations about these issues, demanding change through our voices & raising awareness through education & sharing our own stories without shame.” Jada Harris, Quilt program manager at the National AIDS Memorial cocluded, “These Quilt displays, quilting workshops & educational events are designed to raise awareness about the HIV crisis in the state that has persisted for far too long. By sharing the stories of Louisiana & Southern lives lost to AIDS through these beautifully hand-stitched quilt panels made by Louisianans, we are introducing the importance of the Quilt and its powerful stories to a new generation to change the pattern & end HIV in our community.” The five-day AIDS Quilt displays are free to the public & include quilting workshops, educational forums & student events. 

LGBTQ Task Force 50th Year (AUDIO)

This week I talked with LGBTQ pioneer activist Virginia (Ginny) Apuzzo who served as Executive Director of the National LGBTQ Task Force from 1982 to 1986. The Task Force is the country’s oldest LGBTQ advocacy group celebrating 50 years of advancing freedom, justice & equality for our LGBTQ community. This milestone year will recognize & celebrate the Task Force’s rich history of driving progress within the LGBTQ community from its early days lobbying the American Psychiatric Association to remove homosexuality as a mental illness & advocating for AIDS funding to longstanding campaigns like Queer the Census, Queer the Vote, working for trans rights, the fight for reproductive justice & bringing an intersectional approach to the LGBTQ movement. The celebration kicks off this month with their Creating Change Conference from Friday February 17th to Tuesday February 21st in San Francisco, CA at the Hilton Hotel Union Square. This year’s theme is “The State of the Movement: Our Past. Our Present. Our Future”. Creating Change is the foremost political, leadership & skills-building conference for our LGBTQ social justice movement. The event will include speakers Angelica Ross, activist X Gonzalez & more TBA. Then the 50th celebration will continue next month in Miami Beach, FL at the 30th Annual Winter Party Festival with this year’s theme “Live Free Play Hard Give Back” that takes place Wednesday March 1st to Tuesday March 7th. Other events related to the 50th celebration will include the Task Force Gala on October 22nd its premier annual celebration of South Florida’s LGBTQ community with more details to be announced as they are confirmed. I talked to Ginny about what it was like when she led the National LGBTQ Task Force in the 1980’s & her spin on our LGBTQ issues. LISTEN  

Chicago Reader New Publisher & CEO

Solomon Lieberman has been hired as the new CEO & publisher of the Chicago Reader taking the reins later this month from Tracy Baim who announced her departure last summer. The 51-year-old Chicago Reader is operated by the Reader Institute for Community Journalism (RICJ). Eileen Rhodes RICJ Board Chair stated, “We are very excited about the media savvy, passion & business-development acumen that Solomon brings to this job. He has worked in nonprofit Chicago journalism & built a successful nonpartisan organization with national reach. Our hope is that he continues to grow the RICJ nonprofit, strengthening the infrastructure needed to lead this legacy newspaper for the next fifty years.” Tracy Baim added, “The past four years have been more than challenging. When it became independent from the Sun-Times, we first had to rebuild the business side of the organization. The next challenge was surviving during the early phase of the COVID pandemic & most recently, in May 2022, we were finally able to obtain full nonprofit independence. Now it’s time for the next phase, bringing in more resources to stabilize & thrive. I am excited for what Solomon will bring to this equation. I am also very confident in the incredible team we have built at RICJ & our Chicago Independent Media Alliance (CIMA) project. I am proud of the work I have done to build both the Reader & our local media ecosystem & I plan to continue to advocate for community media.” Lieberman concluded, “I keep pinching myself. I get to follow Tracy Baim’s lead, serve a beautiful, interdependent community of makers, members, readers, leaders, business owners & donors & support community journalism at its finest.” 

PFLAG Celebrates 50 Years With Love

This March marks the 50th anniversary of PFLAG the premier LGBTQ organization for parents, family & allies. In celebration they have launched a new vibrant look to reflect the courageous love that has driven PFLAG’s every action since 1973. Susan Thronson, PFLAG National Board President stated, “For 50 years, when parents like me—people who love our children—have navigated a journey to support them as LGBTQ+ people, we have found help & support in PFLAG. PFLAG has been together with the LGBTQ+ community we serve, at kitchen tables & the President’s desk, to help make historic progress toward an equitable & inclusive world for LGBTQ+ people. PFLAG continues the work to grow & maintain these gains by leading with love, just as we have since 1973." Brian Bond, Executive Director of PFLAG National concluded, "We knew we had to celebrate 50 by unequivocally reaffirming PFLAG as a dynamic & unifying force that will not back down to threats against LGBTQ+ people & our loved ones. PFLAG’s new look asserts that this iconic organization will not stop until every LGBTQ+ person has the freedom to thrive & we’ll do it by leading with love.” PFLAG will also celebrate with their 50th Anniversary Gala on March 3rd at the Marriott Marquis in NYC. PFLAG works with LGBTQ people, parents, families & allies to create an equitable & inclusive world. With hundreds of thousands of people & hundreds of chapters from coast to coast. PFLAG is leading with love to support families, educate allies & advocate for just, equitable & inclusive legislation & policies to ensure that LGBTQ people everywhere are safe, celebrated, empowered & loved. 

LGBTQ State Equality Index Ratings

During a year when state legislators have introduced a record 315 bills attacking our LGBTQ community particularly our transgender youth, the 9th annual State Equality Index (SEI) has been released by HRC & the Equality Federation Institute. JoDee Winterhof, Human Rights Campaign Senior Vice President of Policy & Political Affairs stated, “The 2022 State Equality Index outlines how states across the country fought back against yet another record year of anti-LGBTQ+ legislative attacks. In the face of these attacks, legislators & advocates fought back, with fewer than 10% of the anti-LGBTQ+ discriminatory bills introduced passing into law. These bills are terrible public policy & we are also deeply cognizant of how every harmful anti-LGBTQ+ bill that is signed into law has a devastating impact on the lives & well-being of LGBTQ+ people, particularly children. The legislative assault & hateful rhetoric towards our community has also led to more stigma, discrimination & ultimately, suicide & deadly violence – particularly against the transgender community. As we continue our fight for LGBTQ+ equality, this report underscores that equality is the winning side of this issue.” Fran Hutchins, Executive Director of the Equality Federation Institute concluded, “As the 2022 State Equality Index shows, last year saw a continuation of the recent dramatic explosion of legislation targeting transgender people, especially transgender youth, exploiting myths & misunderstandings about what it means to be transgender. Despite the increasing number of bills filed nationwide, advocates & activists on the ground were able to beat back the majority of this legislation. We know the mere introduction & discussion of these bills further fuels anti-LGBTQ+ stigma nationwide, resulting in violence against our community. It’s more important than ever to focus our attention on protecting LGBTQ+ people in the states, where the work is hard, but the impact is great.” 

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Georgia Advances Religious Bigotry Bill

The Georgia Senate has advanced Senate Bill 180 that gives license to discriminate by allowing religious beliefs to be used as a justificati...

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