“My Daughter Is A Lesbian”

A loving mother writes:

“My daughter is a Lesbian. By all measures of accepted society, that is a pretty blunt statement. If I were an average mother, I wouldn’t even bring this assertion out and view it furtively, even when alone. Nevertheless, I do not think I would come under what one would call average, and I say this in a far from self-satisfied manner. However, I do not believe in hiding truth under our stilted, self-imposed laws of society. Many people today are frustrated and under mental treatment because of these frustrations, simply because they refuse to face the truth and prefer to delude themselves in so many ways.

“My daughter from small girlhood seemed to be a little different from the average child. For one thing, she was above average mentally and had very strong will power and determination that even in childhood seemed to brook no interference. Frankly, I believe that if I had been a dictatorial, demanding mother whose child had to bend to her ego and demands, I might have had a pretty serious case of delinquency to contend with today, instead of an intelligent, serious-minded daughter who holds a fine position in a respected professional field, lives what is for her a full, rounded-out life of contentment and security, with no frustrations or problems, at least none that amount to much.

“I will be very frank in saying that I am lucky in that she found a congenial, intelligent, loving and kind “mate” in this association of which I am aware but do not understand completely as a normal mother and wife. I do not like that word “normal” applied here, for there are no two more normal persons alive than my daughter and her charming associate.

i heart my daughter“In finding out about my daughter’s preferences, I had one very firm belief. I knew she would find someone of kindred tastes and lead a very circumspect life no matter what path she chose, for I knew my child and understood she could not be cheap and promiscuous, whether Lesbian or heterosexual. This thought was a great comfort and from the beginning I knew she would need love, appreciation and understanding from me; not censure, shame or withdrawal.

“One thing I have done to an extent most people would feel was too much to the extreme: I have left her to her own devices and now, in her middle twenties, she leads her own life completely and when she wishes to come to me, for whatever period of time she chooses, she knows she is welcome and won’t be importuned to “come oftener” and “stay longer”.  As a child, I led a sheltered life in which my mother dominated all my moves and actions. When she passed away, I was at completely loose ends and made a very foolish marriage which would not have happened had I been free to follow my own course in life. This had made me wary of being possessive and trying to shape and run the lives of others. As a consequence, I think I have my daughter’s love and loyalty — even to a greater degree than most mothers who make demands and expect them to be carried out.

“With the background of theatrical people during my childhood, I learned rather early that all of us, men or women, did not come within the realm of “norms.” Maybe this is why my daughter’s fate didn’t seem so terrible to me. I could think of a great many worse things, such as the unhappy twenty years of marriage I had shed at the time I learned of my daughter’s “difference”. I spent those years with a man who was a congenital liar, who preferred a lie when the truth would have served him better, and who couldn’t leave town for a week’s trip as a Salesman who traveled without having his quota of affairs with anyone — waitresses, nurses, — he seemed to prefer uniforms. It was a question of keeping my marriage together by not digging too deeply in the barrel, and keeping my temper, but definitely losing my self-respect. This I believe is a fate far worse for a girl. Maybe I’m wrong and maybe I should use every means within my power to help my daughter in her situation, but frankly I do not believe she needs help from me or anyone else. If ever the time should come when she feels the need for advice or counsel, I only hope I will be able to advise her wisely, but certainly not against what she believes with all her being to be her path in life.

“We preach freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and even though reams and reams have been written on the subject, there are very few who will admit belief in freedom of love.”

Those words were written by Mrs. Doris Lyles in 1958, and appeared 55 years ago today in The Ladder, the monthly newsletter of the Daughters of Bilitis

Let’s all renew our belief in and commitment to “Freedom of Love”.

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Good-Bye DOMA and Proposition 8, Hello Marriage!

Press release from PFLAG National today:

 

GOOD-BYE DOMA AND PROPOSITION 8, HELLO MARRIAGE!

WASHINGTON – PFLAG National—the nation’s largest organization for families, friends and allies of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people – celebrated today’s victory at the United States Supreme Court, striking down both Section Three of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) as unconstitutional, and Proposition 8 on standing, which means the restoration of marriage equality to the state of California.

“Today, committed and loving LGBT couples and their families, friends and allies in California and across the country celebrate a huge step forward towards full acceptance and equality,” said PFLAG National Executive Director Jody M. Huckaby. “The Supreme Court’s dual rulings affirm what we at PFLAG have always known to be true:  that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are fundamental rights for all Americans, and that denial of those rights seriously harms LGBT people and their families.”

Joining in the celebration were PFLAG members and supporters from across the country who had worked tirelessly to ensure that their loved ones would receive equal treatment under the law.

Said PFLAG Los Angeles President Mariette Sawchuk, “When my son Stephen came out he said to me, ‘Mom, all I have ever wanted is to have a family and to have a marriage like yours and Dad’s.’ Thanks to today’s ruling, my twin sons–both of whom are gay–will have the opportunity to share in an enduring, loving, legally recognized and protected marriage.”

Sawchuk was one of several PFLAG members who shared personal stories in an Amicus Brief submitted by PFLAG to the Supreme Court regarding Proposition 8.

Another PFLAGer who participated in the brief was Eric Brock, whose older brother Brandon is gay. While Eric, Brandon, and each of their spouses celebrated today’s rulings, they acknowledged that there is still work to be done; Brandon and his spouse, Alexis Caloza, were married in New York and reside in San Francisco, where–thanks to today’s ruling–their  marriage is now legal again. But Eric still resides in Arkansas where the brothers were born and raised, a state whose constitution bans same-sex marriage and civil unions.

Said the younger Brock, “I am incredibly excited that my brother’s New York State marriage will be recognized by the Federal government and in the state of California where he now lives. This was a big step forward, but there is still a long way to go to reach full equality. We need to keep working so that If Brandon and Alexis should ever choose to return to Arkansas, the federal government would provide them all the benefits of marriage within that state…even if the state itself didn’t yet legally recognize their relationship.”

PFLAG National ED Huckaby agreed with Brock,  stating, “PFLAG National and its vast chapter network will continue to move hearts and change minds to win full marriage equality at the federal level and in more states, and to grow support among the majority of Americans throughout the country. Together, we will continue to affirm the message that, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, love is love, family is family, and marriage is marriage.”

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Today in LGBT History: The Rainbow Flag

The original rainbow flag, hand-dyed by Gilbert Baker, first flew in the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day parade on June 25, 1978.  The original 1978 flag consisted of eight stripes, with each stripe assigned a specific meaning.  From top to bottom, the stripes were:

  • hot pink: sexualitysymbol_gay_pride_flag_1978
  • red: life
  • orange: healing
  • yellow: sunlight
  • green: nature
  • turquoise: magic
  • indigo: serenity
  • violet: spirit

After Harvey Milk’s assassination on November 27, 1978, demand for the flag went up sharply.  But since Gilbert had hand-dyed his flag and hot pink fabric wasn’t available as a commercially available color, the top stripe was removed and the flag became a seven stripe flag.  Then, the story goes, organizers planned to hang rainbow flags vertically from lamp posts for San Francisco’s 1979 pride celebration and they noticed that the lamp post would obscure the middle stripe.  Another version of the story had it that it was cheaper to produce a six-stripe flag because flag makers could sew two stripes together, and then sew together three two-stripe blocks.  Whatever the explanation, the turquoise stripe was dropped, the indigo was changed to royal blue, and the rainbow flag became the familiar six-stripe flag we’ve come to know ever since.

The rainbow flag is now a world-wide symbol for LGBT communities everywhere, and it has come to mean many things to many different people.  For some, it’s a gesture of visibility, a way of saying we’re here.  For others, its a reminder of all that we’ve gone through as a community.  And some in the LGBT community consider it a silly expression of separatism and self-segregation from society.

In 2007, Gilbert Baker penned an essay to explain what the flag meant to him. He describes growing up gay in Middle America and being harassed while serving in Vietnam. He was sent stateside to work as a nurse in San Francisco, where he met Harvey Milk:

“Stationed in San Francisco as a nurse, I cared for the wounded. I also met my closet [sic] friend and mentor, Harvey Milk.  Harvey had an aggressive charm that attracted the wicked and the wise.  His charisma and fearlessness are at the heart of all I hold dear.

“Harvey was a pioneer, a trailblazer, and with the community by his side, he became a San Francisco Supervisor.  One day he said to me that we needed a logo, a symbol.  We needed a positive image that could unite us.  I sewed my own dresses, so why not a flag?  At Harvey’s behest, I went about creating our Rainbow Flag.  I had never felt so empowered, so free.

“My liberation came at a painful cost.  In the ultimate act of anti-gay violence, Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone were assassinated.  The bullets were meant for Harvey, to silence him, and, by extension, every one of us.  Uniting a community cost him his life.”

What does the rainbow flag symbol mean today?  Many will tell you that they remember when they were still coming out how reassuring it was to see it and know that it marked a place of safety and refuge.  And even now, when you go to a strange town and see a small sticker on a doorway or a car’s bumper, you know that you’re among friends.

 

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“Is PFLAG Still Relevent?” Uh… YEA!

This aired on NBC last night.  Watch this clip.  (Have tissues handy…you’ve been warned.)  Look into this young man’s eyes, and you can see clear to his heart.  You can feel both the ache and the hope.  Now imagine how much more room for hope and love there would be if the heartache wasn’t there.

This is why our work is SO important.  There is still work to be done.  There are still parents to reach.  There are still children who crave love and support.  There is still a need for PFLAG.

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Waiting on the Supreme Court Decisions

The Supreme Court is expected to issue its rulings on both the Prop 8 case and the case against DOMA this month.  The American Foundation for Equal Rights, which helped bring the Prop 8 case to trial released this graphic today on the possible outcomes.

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Rulings come on Mondays, so the next possible date is June 10th.

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Metro DC PFLAG Joins DoMore24

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Metro DC PFLAG is participating in this one-day, on-line fundraising initiative powered by the United Way.

Do More 24™ is more than just one day of fundraising…it’s the next generation of online giving. We are creating a local movement that leverages the power of the crowd to support our region’s nonprofit organizations through focused, online giving that is directed at creating maximum impact. We have built an innovative platform to allow donors to track the progress of the campaign, see who else is participating and watch the effect of their contributions in real time on June 6.

“Our goal is for Washington area residents of all ages to unite on this one day of giving to help address the most pressing needs in this community,” said United Way NCA President and CEO Bill Hanbury. “In particular, we are hoping to engage a new generation of givers to give where they live and help raise the quality of life for all of our neighbors.”

The DoMore24 campaign is providing each participating charity, including Metro DC PFLAG with a customizable fundraising page on the Do More 24 website, staff training, and a toolkit of branded outreach materials. In addition to receiving online donations, Metro DC PFLAG is eligible for the cash awards totaling $75,500, offered by United Way, should we have one of the most successful campaigns.

“As a philanthropy leader, it’s United Way’s responsibility to find new and varied ways to create awareness for the good works being done by area nonprofits and help them connect with a wide range of donors, including emerging philanthropists.” said Hanbury. “Do More 24 employs a crowd funding model to inspire millennial donors to maximize their impact in the community by working together to solve local challenges.”

The DoMore24 campaign begins at 12:00am on Thursday, June 6, and ends at 11:59pm.

(Secret: you do not have to wait until Thursday!) Click the link, type “PFLAG” into the ‘Find A Charity’ search box, and make your donation to help us Keep Families Together.

 

 

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President Obama Proclaims Pride Month

White House has issued President Obama’s proclamation in recognition of LGBT Pride Month.  The message cites the president’s support for ENDA, the federal bill to overturn DOMA, and HIV reduction campaigns.

 

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THE WHITE HOUSE Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release May 31, 2013

LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, AND TRANSGENDER PRIDE MONTH, 2013
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

For more than two centuries, our Nation has struggled to transform the ideals of liberty and equality from founding promise into lasting reality. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Americans and their allies have been hard at work on the next great chapter of that history — from the patrons of The Stonewall Inn who sparked a movement to service members who can finally be honest about who they love to brave young people who come out and speak out every day.

This year, we celebrate LGBT Pride Month at a moment of great hope and progress, recognizing that more needs to be done. Support for LGBT equality is growing, led by a generation which understands that, in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” In the past year, for the first time, voters in multiple States affirmed marriage equality for same-sex couples. State and local governments have taken important steps to provide much-needed protections for transgender Americans.

My Administration is a proud partner in the journey toward LGBT equality. We extended hate crimes protections to include attacks based on sexual orientation or gender identity and repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” We lifted the HIV entry ban and ensured hospital visitation rights for LGBT patients. Together, we have investigated and addressed pervasive bullying faced by LGBT students, prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in Federal housing, and extended benefits for same-sex domestic partners. Earlier this year, I signed a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in the implementation of any VAWA-funded program. And because LGBT rights are human rights, my Administration is implementing the first-ever Federal strategy to advance equality for LGBT people around the world.

We have witnessed real and lasting change, but our work is not complete. I continue to support a fully inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act, as well as the Respect for Marriage Act. My Administration continues to implement the Affordable Care Act, which beginning in 2014, prohibits insurers from denying coverage to consumers based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, as well as the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, which addresses the disparate impact of the HIV epidemic among certain LGBT sub-communities. We have a long way to go, but if we continue on this path together, I am confident that one day soon, from coast to coast, all of our young people will look to the future with the same sense of promise and possibility. I am confident because I have seen the talent, passion, and commitment of LGBT advocates and their allies, and I know that when voices are joined in common purpose, they cannot be stopped.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2013 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. I call upon the people of the United States to eliminate prejudice everywhere it exists, and to celebrate the great diversity of the American people.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirty-first day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand thirteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-seventh.

BARACK OBAMA

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