Special Presenter at Spokane PFLAG in September!

For the month of September, our big sister chapter over in Spokane will be discussing the topic of Advocacy in Healthcare as it pertains to the LGBT community. This is a very important topic– I recently attended a meeting of the Houston, TX chapter of PFLAG. As you may know, Houston became the largest city to pass a blanket non-discrimination ordinance, locally known as HERO. The panel of speakers for the first month of fall were four transgender individuals– three trans-women and one trans-man. The man described an incident wherein he had to go to the emergency room to receive care for kidney stones. His outward appearance being male, the healthcare providers were shocked to see internal female reproductive organs on the scan of his abdomen. The physician actually audibly scoffed and refused to treat this man. Somehow, the nurse was able to get him medication to ease his pain, but the fear of ever returning to any doctor’s office remains.

Press Release from Spokane PFLAG:

On Tuesday, September 16, 2014, PFLAG Spokane is pleased to invite the community to a public discussion about how local citizens can educate and advocate in effective ways regarding access to health care for all families and individuals. This facilitated conversation will take place from 7pm to 8:30pm at Bethany Presbyterian Church, 2607 S Ray St.
The evening will start with a short film about the impact of mergers at the National level, a short presentation on the status in Washington State and specific concerns for the LGBT community and their friends and family members. The final part of the evening will involve specific possibilities for activism and advocacy at the local level- making sure that all voices are heard as important health decisions and access to care are being made.

Kathy Reim is the facilitator. She is the former Regional Director for PFLAG in the Pacific Northwest and has a long history as an activist and educator on behalf of the gay community, women, and older people. She also serves on the board for Mount Baker Planned Parenthood and the Pride Foundation.

She lives with her husband, daughter and her daughter’s wife in rural Skagit County.

Check out the details on the Facebook event page here.

spokane pflag september

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LGBTQ+ 101

We’re shaking up the meeting a little bit next month and planning a fun educational session! Get ready to learn a little something. You don’t want to miss it as we explore the myths and stereotypes that have plagued the LGBT community for decades in the form of a game of “Mingle”!

august meeting flyer jpg REDO

For now, here are some resources for you to brush up on our topic:

UCLA – LGBTQ+ Terminology

University of Michigan – Lesbian History: Cultural Issues

Huffington Post – Gay Men Stereotypes That Need To Be Challenged

ACLU – Article on Transgender Discrimination

Nine Anti-Trans Slurs to Avoid

“WOMEN in English” – artist, Carol Rossetti

Carol Rossetti is a graphic artist from Brazil who has begun sharing her empowering illustrations on Facebook. Since uploading them to an album on the popular social media site, Rossetti has received gratification and praise from people around the world. Here are some of her beautiful images that are particularly relevant to PFLAG:

image credit: Carol Rossetti

image credit: Carol Rossetti Designs

image credit: Carol Rossetti

image credit: Carol Rossetti Designs

image credit: Carol Rossetti

image credit: Carol Rossetti Designs

I think these and the rest of Rossetti’s portfolio are absolutely gorgeous and seriously liberating.

Safe In My Hands (new Allstate campaign)

We’re all familiar with the personal property insurance company, Allstate and the deep-voiced African American spokesperson, Dennis Haysbert. Well, Allstate has a new campaign in honor of Pride Month.

Singer/songwriter, Eli Leib, has offered his talents to provide the music for the new commercial. Watch it here:

It’s very sweet. You can download the song for free here.

In addition to providing services tailored specifically to the needs of LGBT domestic partnerships, they are running some hashtag activism, much like our own Straight For Equality photo drive (more on that here). Go here and upload a photo of you and your loved one #outholdinghands.

“Being visible should never leave you feeling vulnerable… everyone deserves to be in good hands.”

PRIDE and Fathers

What a crazy amazing weekend!!

pride 2014 logo 2-1 jpegPFLAG Coeur d’Alene had the honor of marching in the 23rd annual Pride Parade with Spokane PFLAG, and it was a wonderful, colorful day full of laughter, hugs, love and community. While some amateur WBC wannabees paced in their square, sequestered off with yellow caution tape, right at the entrance to the park, throngs of people blocked them with both their bodies and their cheers as floats of proud groups walked past. They waved their message of hate, and we waved our messages of love and family, and we were the vast majority. Even though the clouds loomed threateningly above, nothing could rain on this parade!

WE ARE FAMILY!!

WE ARE FAMILY!! (photo credit: Juli Stratton)

 

PFLAG showed up strong with nearly two dozen marchers– parents, friends, advocates, couples, familiar faces, newcomers, children, a dog and even some supporters from the Unitarian Universalist Church of North Idaho. There is nothing like the feeling of belonging to something great, something meaningful. The parade route covered several blocks of downtown Spokane and there was not a space on the sidewalk where no one stood watching. The best was when a marcher would recognize someone from the crowd and they would run up to hug them, grateful for being surrounded by support and joy. A cacophony of “I love you!” and “We are family!!” and “Out and proud!!” drowned out the hateful amplified voices as we turned the corner to end the parade and enter the Rainbow Festival.

A heartfelt thanks to Spokane PFLAG for inviting us to partner with you in this special celebration!! It was certainly a memorable event.

pflag dad

(photo credit: PFLAG National)

And we also need to thank the fathers. All you dads out there who love your children unconditionally, who are raising your children in an adverse society. Those fathers that nurture us, that worry for us and that sit up nights with us while we talk it out. Whether you’re just beginning this crazy journey of child-raising or if you’re a seasoned professional who has been there through the trials and triumphs– WE THANK YOU! If you were there for us, thank you for listening, for understanding, for being patient.

happy father's day

(photo credit: Human Rights Campaign)

 

 

Straight 4 Equality

Straight For Equality is a subset of PFLAG National which focuses specifically on what straight allies who may not necessarily have any other ties to the LGBT community can do. If you’re wondering what you can do to help, maybe give their website a visit. There is an online pledge you can sign to promise to stand up against bullies and to educate others on proper terminology. You can check out the “Ally Spectrum” or get some training. We over at PFLAG Coeur d’Alene are participating in some online activism– putting a face on those who are allies and those who need allies. GAY RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS.

Here is the start:

Christine Juli Mandy MoePatrick

This project will be ongoing throughout June with a focus after July’s meeting, which deals specifically with the ideas of allyship.

The 2014 LGBT Pride Exhibit

As many of you know, the local Human Rights Education Institute has been a champion of supporting equality and using trials of the past to create a well-informed future generation. For the first year, during the month of June, HREI has asked for an installation celebrating the history of Pride and the LGBT movement. A rag tag group of a half dozen local LGBT rights activists embarked on this intrepid journey with less than a month to plan.

In short, the result is pretty phenomenal. Wading through a century (and even a little beyond) of oppression and uprising, the culmination of this project saturates a quarter of the display room. Images, stories, memoirs and marches act as guides through the transition from a closeted, hidden, tormented group into an out and proud army clashing with stereotypes and demanding equality.

There will be a reception for the opening of the exhibit on Friday from 5-7PM.

HREI pride history exhibit flyer jpeg

The Human Rights Education Institute is located at 414 Mullan Rd in Coeur d’Alene.

This exhibit was made possible by the partnership of:

The Coeur d’Alene Center for Gender and Sexual Diversity

PFLAG Coeur d’Alene

The Gender and Sexuality Alliance of North Idaho College

with

The Human Rights Education Institute

and

The Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations

June Fast Approaching

As we roll into National Pride Month, we face new challenges and opportunities. For the PFLAG chapters in both Coeur d’Alene and Spokane, our calendars are chock-full of community events, pride outreach and team-building. Be sure to check out the Google calendar on this website to update your own agenda– I wouldn’t want you to miss anything!

In national news, we lost a star yesterday. Dr. Maya Angelou was a tireless champion for all human rights and her voice, so often the only voice of reason and compassion, will never be forgotten.

maya angelou

In happier news, today, Houston, TX (a very conservative state) passed a city-wide non-discrimination ordinance, protecting the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals.

hrc houston

June is going to be a BIG month for PFLAG! Hope to see you OUT and about!!

Marriage Equality Moves Forward

In the last week, we have seen monumental progress for marriage equality in our country. We have celebrated (and backtracked) in Idaho; we have cheered wholeheartedly for Oregon. And, just today, we welcomed Pennsylvania to the list of states that will officially recognize the marriages of same-sex couples. Congrats to all!

Since the United States Supreme Court struck down a critical section of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in June of last year, Pennsylvania’s Judge Jones makes the eleventh federal judge to nullify a state statute restricting gay marriage as unconstitutional.  In eighteen states, same-sex couples now have the freedom to marry.

(except imagine Pennsylvania is a beautiful dark green)

(except imagine Pennsylvania is a beautiful dark green)

If we keep going at this rate, the other half of the country will be on board by the end of the summer! Only four states have bans that are not currently being challenged in court.

History: Made

Tonight, we received amazing news: an Idaho judge has struck down the 2006 amendment to the state’s constitution banning same-sex marriage. This means that, as early as Friday, clerks will begin issuing marriage licenses to every.damn.couple that walks in the door.

Incredible.

Momentous.

Unbelievable.

Read all about it here or here.

Send Judge Candy Dale a “thank you” card here.

idaho freedom to marryI’m so overwhelmed right now, I can barely form a coherent thought about this. I just want to hug everyone I see and hope balloons will start falling from the sky!!

Idaho, we did it!!!