Introducing John Corvino – YouTube Sensation

Several of us were talking after last night’s PFLAG meeting in Manassas about the internet, and the resources and information available to parents there.  I mentioned that I believe some of the best stuff on the net are the videos by John Corvino.  No one else in the group was familiar with his work; and I realized I needed to fix that.

I am a  big fan of reason.  Call me crazy, but I firmly believe that relationships are strengthened and results are achieved when human being can talk calmly, rationally, and with conviction; without resorting to name calling, prejudice, and intimidation.  That’s why I LOVE John Cornvino.  If you’ve seen his videos, I bet you’re a fan too.  If you don’t know who he is, you will soon.

I think Dan Savage is one of the most recognizable and vocal advocates for the LGBT community and for equality.  His “It Gets Better” campaign alone made Dan Savage a household name.  I like Dan.  I listen to his podcasts weekly, and I admire and respect his work.  In many, many ways, Dan says what needs to be said, and shines a spotlight on bigotry and hyprocracy.   In fact, I often times find myself cheering when he gets on his soap box and puts the likes of the Family Research Council in its place.  But many people are put off by Dan’s ‘in your face’ style.  Dan says what he feels and means what he says, and doesn’t apologize for his language or his bluntness.

Corvino is the calmer voice of LGBT education and advocacy.  Dr. John Corvino is Chair of the Philosophy Department at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan.  He is the recipient of numerous awards, including a 2012 Distinguished Professor of the Year Award from the Presidents’ Council of the State Universities of Michigan and a 2004 Spirit of Detroit Award from the Detroit City Council for his work on behalf of LGBT rights.  Until 2011, his column “The Gay Moralist” appeared weekly at; he has also contributed to The Advocate, the LA Times, the Independent Gay Forum, the Huffington Post, The New Republic and the New York Times.  No less committed to the fight for equality and fairness, Corvino’s style is less confrontational, devoid of name-calling, and presented in a straight-forward manner that’s easy to listen to.

Here’s a sample:

OK, so maybe not a  “sensation”.  But I bet you can see why I would recommend John’s YouTube channel as a resource.

Corvino has published two books, “Debating Same-Sex Marriage” (co-authored with Maggie Gallagher), and “What’s Wrong with Homosexuality?”  In conjunction with those books, John has taped a series of YouTube presentations to talk about the arguments made by the anti-equality crowd.  From a PLFAG standpoint, it’s those anti-equality arguments that are heard by families, friends, neighbors and co-workers that we need to be able to rationally respond to when encounter them.  We need to be able to say to a struggling parent, “here’s how to respond to those statements.”  Cornvino’s videos are excellent educational tools.

You can find John’s videos here:

Watch a few and see what I mean.  Then most importantly, share these videos as a way to further engage your family and friends in discussion.  Use them as tools in your tool chest, or weapons in your arsenal.  People tell me all the time, “I don’t know what to say.”  Well then, here’s what you can say.  Use the points John makes to form your responses.  Or, if you like, simply share the links and let him say it for you.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and reactions.  Share a comment below, and tell us what you think.

Larry Rockwell
PFLAG-Metro DC Chapter

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Happy Harvey Milk Day

“It takes no compromising to give people their rights. It takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no survey to remove repressions.” Harvey Milk, born on this date in 1930.

Harvey_Milk_webKnown as the Mayor of Castro Street, Harvey Milk finally succeeded in becoming California’s first (and the nation’s fourth) openly gay non-incumbent candidate to win a political office for two reasons: he refused to hide who he was; and he made it his mission to build alliances with groups that other gay activists thought were impossible to reach. So to those who knew Harvey well weren’t surprised when his 1977 as San Francisco City Supervisor that he was good terms with conservative supervisor Dan White. White, a former cop, was supported by the city’s police union whose leaders were angry over city policies which they considered to be soft on crime and homosexuals. The local media ate it up as the two made joint appearances on local talk shows where they both talked warmly of each other. Harvey began to privately telling friends that he thought White was “educatable,” and that the two might actually be able to work together.

Milk’s short political career changed the face of LGBT politics. Milk served almost 11 months in office and was responsible for passing a stringent gay rights ordinance for the city.  During the 1978 campaign against the Briggs Amendment which would have required the firing of gay teachers and any school employee who supported gay rights, Milk insisted on aggressively confronting the anti-gay campaign by raising the visibility of the gay community. The campaign against the Briggs Amendment was also a campaign against the closet. He told a crowd during San Franscisco’s Gay Pride that year:

    “On this anniversary of Stonewall, I ask my gay sisters and brothers to make the commitment to fight. We will not win our rights by staying quietly in our closets… We are coming out to fight the lies, the myths, the distortions. We are coming out to tell the truths about gays, for I am tired of the conspiracy of silence, so I’m going to talk about it. And I want you to talk about it. You must come out. Come out to your parents, your relatives.”

Milk wound up voting against White’s proposal to bar a psychiatric treatment center from opening in White’s district. White retaliated by voting against Milk’s gay rights bill (it passed anyway), and for the next several months, White would not speak to Milk or his aides. Other supervisors noticed that White stopped spending as much time at his office in City Hall, and he was sullen during the weekly board meetings. White abruptly resigned on November 10, 1978. When he had a change of heart a few days later, Mayor George Moscone refused to commit to re-appointing him to the board. On November 27, 1978, White snuck into City Hall and confronted Moscone in his office, and shot him twice in the abdomen, then twice more in the head. He then walked down the hall to Milk’s office. After arguing with Milk, White shot him three times in the chest, once in the back and twice in the head.

In 2009, President Barack Obama awarded Harvey Milk with a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian medal.

Today would be Milk’s 83rd birthday, and in observance of Harvey Milk Day, there are several events taking place this week throughout the country.  In Washinton, the White House will honor ten “LGBT state and local elected and appointed officials who have demonstrated a strong commitment to both equality and public service” as “Harvey Milk Champions of Change.”

In California, Harvey Milk Day is recognized by the state’s government as a day of special significance for public schools.  The day was established by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in following the success of the award-winning feature film Milk retracing Milk’s life.

If you’re unfamiliar with the life and work of Harvey Milk, we urge you to take some time and get to know this remarkable man.  Why?  Because much of what he said and predictions he made back in 1978 are coming to fruition today.  Which is what makes this ironic quote from Milk so powerful:  “If a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door.”


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Today in PFLAG History

April 29, 1972:

morty manford“I Am Proud Of My Gay Son”:   Frustration had been growing in New York City’s gay community over the lack of news coverage of the gay rights movement since the Stonewall rebellion nearly three years before. When journalists and politicians gathered for the Fiftieth Annual Inner Circle dinner and comedy roast at the New York Hilton, members of the Gay Activists Alliance saw a perfect opportunity for a protest. But when they entered the ballroom during the intermission to distribute leaflets and briefly take the stage, they were thrown out. A fight ensued in the hallway, where, according to several city officials who witnessed the melee, Michael Maye, president of the city’s Uniformed Firefighters Association, threw twenty-one year old Morty Manford down an escalator, then kicked and stomped him. (Despite the numerous witnesses, Maye was later acquitted of the assault.)

Manford’s parents were outraged by the attack, and in April 29, Jeanne Manford’s letter appeared in the New York Post announcing her unquestioned support for her son:

A Fair Chance

I would like to commend The Post for its coverage last week of the tragic incident that took place at the Inner Circle dinner, when hoodlums who work for our city were allowed to beat up the young men of the Gay Activists Alliance and walk away while our police stood by watching. It might be that these “men” have themselves some deep rooted sexual problems or they would not have become so enraged as to commit violence in beatings.

I am proud of my son, Morty Manford, and the hard work he has been doing in urging homosexuals to accept their feelings and not let the bigots and sick people take advantage of them in the ways they have done in the past and are continuing to do.

I hope that your honest and forthright coverage of the incident has made many of the gays who have been fearful gain courage to come out and join the bandwagon. They are working for a fair chance at employment and dignity and to become a vocal and respected minority. It is a fight for recognition such as all minority groups must wage and needs support from outsiders as well as participants in the movements.

Jeanne Manford

manford 2Two months later, Jeanne would walk alongside her son during the New York City Gay Pride Parade, carrying a hand-lettered sign that read, “Parents of Gays United in Support of Our Children.” She later recalled that as they walked along the parade route spectators cheered and “young people were hugging me, kissing me, screaming, asking if I would talk to their parents. Very few of them were out to their parents for fear of rejection.” That when Jeanne and her husband, Jules, got the idea of starting a local support group for parents of gays and lesbians. That support group grew to become the internationally-renowned Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), with 350 chapters more than 200,000 members in the U.S. Jeane Manford passed away last January at the age of 92.

(Source:  the LGBT blog Box Turtle Bulletin)

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Introducing PFLAG in Prince William County

Join Us for the Kick-off Celebration May 4th

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Our chapter is thrilled to announce that a new PFLAG group is forming to provide support, education and advocacy services to families in Prince William County.  And we’re inviting YOU to join us for the kick-off celebration on Saturday, May 4th.

 PFLAG Prince William Kick-Off Celebration
Saturday, May 4th
3:00 – 5:00pm
Bull Run Unitarian Universalist Church
9350 Main Street, Manassas, VA

Parents, family members, friends, members of the LGBT community, straight allies, supportive local businessmen and women, students, teachers, counselors and local dignitaries will come together to launch our new group.  A short presentation as a few special remarks will be made, and refreshments will be served.

One of the unique aspects of Metro DC PFLAG is that we have organized groups throughout our territory.  Being able to provide parents, friends and families in our region with a range of choices and options for attending a group helps ensure we can reach as many who need our services as possible. 

Prior to the start of this new group, residents of Prince William County would have to travel to one of our PFLAG groups in either Loudoun, Arlington or Fairfax counties.  We’re thrilled that with the addition of the Prince William group, we’ll soon have a PFLAG meeting available in every county in our northern Virginia territory.

After the May 4th kick-off, PFLAG Prince William will meet regularly on the 3rd Tuesday of every month, from 7:30 to 9:00pm at the Bull Run Unitarian Church.  For more information about the new PFLAG group in Prince William, contact the group facilitators at  For general information about PFLAG, visit our chapter website at

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How Will YOU Help End The Silence?

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and ally (LGBTQA) students will join together today for GLSEN’s 18th annual National Day of Silence. Metro DC PFLAG is proud to support this annual effort  to call attention to the “silencing” effect of anti-LGBT bullying, bias and discrimination.

dayofsilenceThe National Day of Silence is a day when students across the country vow to take a form of silence to call attention to the silencing effect of anti-LGBT bullying and harassment in schools. According to the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network’s (GLSEN) 2009 National School Climate Survey, nearly 9 out of 10 LGBT students report verbal, sexual or physical harassment at school and more than 30% report missing at least a day of school in the past month out of fear for their personal safety.

The first Day of Silence was organized by students at the University of Virginia in 1996. They were inspired by a class assignment on non-violent protests, and over 150 students participated. In 1997, the Day of Silence went national, with nearly 100 colleges and universities participating. In 2001, GLSEN became the official organizational sponsor for the event, as the event has spread to high schools and junior highs.

The Day of Silence web site has important information and resources for those who are participating, and Lambda Legal has put together a pamphlet detailing a student’s legal rights in connection with your participation in the observance. Anti-gay activists have been very busy putting out tons of misinformation about the observance. You can find out the truth behind the misinformation here.

We stand behind and united with all the students in our area who are participating today.


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Join the Marriage Rallies at the Supreme Court

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PFLAG DC is joining PFLAG National and other chapters from across the country to participate in the United for Marriage Coalition rallies outside of the Supreme Court at 8:30AM EST on March 26th and 27th.  

On those dates, the justices will consider both the Proposition 8 case (Hollingsworth v. Perry, and the repeal of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).  Both of these cases are at the heart of whether our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) loved ones can enjoy the same opportunities as every other American.

PFLAG’s presence and participation as a Coalition member in this historic moment for marriage equality is crucial. Therefore, we invite you to:

  • Join the PFLAG contingent to rally! Wear red (as all participants are asked to do), don your PFLAG pins, bring your PFLAG signs, and meet at 8:15AM EST at the corner of 1st Street SE and NE and East Capitol Street NE.   (You’ll be facing the Supreme Court and the Jefferson Library of Congress, behind you will be The Capitol Visitors Center and The Capitol). 
  • Visit PFLAG National’s offices after the rally!   National headquarters staff invite members and supporters to drop by their office any time after 12PM on both days to enjoy some light snacks and drinks, freshen up, or top off the charge on your cell phones.

It’s not too late to attend in DC, or to organize or join one of the 150 events already promoted in all 50 states.  Click here to get the schedule of events, help with transportation, and more for planning your trip to DC in support of this historic moment.

Won’t be in DC?

That’s okay:  There are many ways for PFLAG members and supporters to take action:

Find a rally or other action going on in your community.  There are more than 100 opportunities to stand up and be vocal, and we know some of you are already participating or planning your own events.  Click here to visit an interactive map with a list of local actions going on in communities across the country.


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Penthouse Cocktail Party to Celebrate 30 Year Anniversary

You are cordially invited to join Metro DC PFLAG to Party at the Penthouse!

Anniversaries are worthy of celebrating, and Metro DC PFLAG has reached a milestone.  2013 marks the chapter’s 30th anniversary, and we intend to celebrate in a BIG way!  In fact, we’re hosting a year-long series of celebrations to commemorate this achievement, honor our successes, and most importantly re-commit ourselves to the work that still lies ahead.

Penthouse Pool ClubThis is a party no one will want to miss.  The Penthouse Pool and Lounge is a membership-only urban resort designed to feel like an urban oasis of relaxation and nourishment.  Located on the roof of Vida Fitness on U Street NW, The Penthouse Pool Club is a membership based resort.  But for this one special night, the club welcomes Metro DC PFLAG members, volunteers, supporters and guests to party and celebrate in style.

In addition to the cash bar, refreshments, appetizers, the evening will also feature a summer fashion show, and a performance by comedian MK Paulsen.

Due to the unique opportunity to visit this exclusive location, as well as our limited capacity, we anticipate that tickets will sell fast.  Be sure to get yours now!   Follow this link to our website for full details and to purchase your event tickets.

Pool Party

Metro DC PFLAG 30th Anniversary Penthouse Cocktail Party
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
6:00 – 9:00 pm
Penthouse Pool Club and Lounge
1612 U Street NW, Washington DC

Tickets & Info at:

Metro DC PFLAG 30th Anniversary Committee Co-Chairs:
Ike Leggett, Montgomery County Executive
Carol Schwartz, Former DC Councilwoman At-Large
Jay Fisette, Vice-Chair – Arlington County Board

Metro DC PFLAG 2013 Business Sponsors:
Penthouse Pool Club
Bottom Line Solutions

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