PFLAG National responds on “Fairness For All” Act

A statement from PFLAG National just released:

We join the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Center for American Progress (CAP), the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), GLAAD, Lambda Legal, the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the NAACP, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the National Black Justice Coalition (BJC), National Fair Housing Alliance, National Partnership for Women and Families, National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA), the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), and the Transgender Law Center to express our strong opposition to the so-called “Fairness For All” Act, as introduced in Congress. If enacted, this bill would undermine civil rights protections for women, people of color, people of faith and create substandard protections for LGBTQ people.

The “Fairness for All” Act is anything but fair, and it certainly does not serve all of us. It is an affront to existing civil rights protections that protect people on the basis of race, sex, and religion and creates new, substandard protections for LGBTQ people with massive loopholes and carve-outs, and upends critical federal programs that serve children in need.

This legislation is deeply dangerous for many reasons, mainly because it would erode protections that already exist for people based on race, sex and religion, rolling back protections that have been on the books for decades. It would expand the number of places and situations in which lawful discrimination could occur.

At the same time, it would introduce new, problematic provisions purportedly seeking to prohibit discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation and gender identity with broad exemptions, essentially licensing discrimination against LGBTQ people and women. Communities of color, who suffer from disproportionately higher rates of discrimination and harassment would be especially vulnerable to harm under these broad exemptions. Our nation’s existing civil rights framework already strikes the right balance when it comes to the government’s interest in protecting religious freedom and advancing nondiscrimination, and it is wrong to put into law a different system of protections for LGBTQ people and their families.

This legislation would create a “double whammy” for anyone at the intersection of multiple marginalized identities: a Black lesbian or Transgender Jewish woman, for example, could see many of her existing rights erased or rolled back, ostensibly to protect her.

The Equality Act was passed through the House of Representatives with bipartisan support, and nearly 70 percent of Americans support comprehensive non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people. The “Fairness for All” Act, on the other hand, was introduced by a small group of lawmakers. This legislation licenses discrimination while eroding the rights of people of faith.

It is wrong, and we strongly oppose it.

Transgender Day of Remembrance

TDR2019 biloxiThis evening, several members of our Board of Directors attended the local Transgender Day of Remembrance ceremony on the beach in Biloxi.  The remembrance was opened by a prayer by our board member Jon Caridad, and our President, Rhiannon along with Molly Kester read the names of victims and spoke to the gathering.

In addition PFLAG National released a powerful policy statement which we are sharing here:

Anti-Transgender Violence and Discrimination Policy

PFLAG was the first national LGBTQ+ organization to mandate the full inclusion of people who are transgender as part of its expressed mission statement, approved by the Board of Directors in 1998.

PFLAG recognizes that in the 20+ years since approving this inclusive mission, discrimination, violence, and harm against transgender and gender-expansive people has greatly increased, with violence against transgender people—in particular Black transgender women—growing to epidemic proportions. PFLAG also recognizes that transgender people of color experience a compounded negative impact from their intersectional identities, including poverty, homelessness, unemployment, and health disparities.

PFLAG commits to advocating with—and supporting—transgender and gender-expansive people; and to working to reduce and remove the root causes of this crisis of violence and injustice, including systemic racism, sexism, discrimination, and harassment. We are also committed to educating others and ourselves about gender identity and gender expression in order to meet unfounded fear with facts.

PFLAG will work to build communities that value transgender and gender-expansive people, and to reduce societal barriers that lead to harm, poverty and, too often, death. PFLAG will deploy its resources to listen to, engage, and bolster diverse transgender communities and the organizations that serve them, lifting up actions to increase opportunities for fair and just employment, housing, healthcare, and access to public services including law enforcement. PFLAG will also continue to educate law enforcement agencies and officers to reduce harm, and end the high rates of mistreatment, incarceration, denial of necessary medications, and physical and sexual assault in jails and prisons that transgender and gender-expansive people—especially Black transgender women—experience. 

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Upcoming events

Gulfport PFLAG is planning to participate in the following upcoming events, come out and visit us at our booth!

Tuesday June 25, 2019- Keesler Air Force LGBTQ Observance (confirmation pending)

Saturday June 29 2019 at 12:00 pm -Biloxi Pride Fest at Point Cadet Splash Pad, 121 Cadet Street, Biloxi, Mississippi

Saturday October 19, 2019 at 11:00 am-Gulf Coast Equality Fest 2019 at Harrah’s Gulf Coast, 280 Beach Blvd, Biloxi, Mississippi

Our next group meeting will be on July 16, 2019 at 6:30 pm at the First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), 4344 Dedeaux Road, Gulfport, Mississippi 39501

Equality Fest

We had a wonderful time at the event.  It was an amazing success.  Many people stopped by our booth.  Some new of PFLAG and were glad to know that we were here on the coast.  Several had never heard of PFLAG and were grateful for the resources and connections we could provide.

PFLAG at Gulf Coast Equality Fest

We had a great time at the Gulf Coast Equality Fest in Gulfport this weekend.  We sold pins and bracelets and our president,  Rhiannon Owens graciously donated some of her artwork prints.

photo by motherbink

We also passed out business cards and flyers.  Everyone we approached and those who came to our booth were very excited and welcoming.  It was a great day!

Photo courtesy of Andrea Cranford