Hello and Happy New Year!!!
Fifty years ago, PFLAG was born from an act of love. In 1972, a humble schoolteacher and mother, Jeanne Manford, walked alongside her gay son, activist Morty Manford, in New York’s Christopher Street Liberation Day March, an early precursor to today’s Pride marches. Her homemade sign famously read Parents of Gays: Unite in support of our children. It was a call to action to family and non-family allies to take a stand in support of LGBTQ+ people to ensure their rights, their safety, and affirmation in their families and communities. The first meeting of PFLAG took place nine months later, on March 11, 1973.
Since then, PFLAG has grown from one modest support meeting in New York City to a thriving network of hundreds of chapters and hundreds of thousands of members and supporters nationwide, with more than 325,000 members and supporters. PFLAG’s aim, then and now, is to create a caring, just, and affirming world for LGBTQ+ people and those who love them. That hasn’t changed.
On March 3, 2023 philanthropic partners, celebrities, PFLAG National leaders, chapter members and supporters will gather to celebrate this legacy at the PFLAG 50th Anniversary Gala. The PFLAG 50th Anniversary Gala will celebrate 50 years of leading with love and will feature celebrity honorees, notables, and advocates; workplace DEI champions; and LGBTQ+ people and families whose lives were changed by PFLAG.
I have been a board member of this wonderful organization since 2015 and I sincerely hope that you will consider joining me for what I am sure will be an amazing evening!
Perhaps your firm would like to show its continued commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion – and it’s allyship for the LGBTQ+ community by becoming a sponsor? If so, the PFLAG 50th Anniversary Gala will provide your organization with maximum visibility during the event, in the media, and in our communications to our 325,000 members and supporters in the lead-up to the event. Your partnership will demonstrate your support of an organization who shares your vision of an equitable, inclusive world where every LGBTQ+ person is safe, celebrated, empowered, and loved. You and your distinguished guests will see first-hand the positive impacts of continually supporting a workplace environment of inclusion, and I personally would be thrilled to celebrate this milestone celebration with you!
My sincere thanks for your consideration,
P.S. – Please do not hesitate to share this with anyone in your organization that you believe would be interested in supporting the Gala!
As the calendar flips from December to January and another new year begins, I find myself – like I am sure many of you are – in a very reflective place. Personally speaking, 2022 was quite a year of travel for my wife Mari and I. We traveled to places we had always hoped to visit – but were postponed from going to due to the pandemic. Spain, Greece, Italy, and Croatia each had their own unique sense of place and moments of awe-inspiring magic.
As we explored each place, we never shied away from being visible and being our authentic selves. As two transwomen we have a firm grasp of who we are and as we interacted with locals and travelers of all types we always know, that in one way or another, outreach comes along for the ride. We do not shy away from it, but rather embrace it wholeheartedly. I have long believed that you get back only what you put out into the world, and when you lead with authenticity and positivity that is what the universe gives back to you in return. And that is precisely what happened throughout our time in Europe and on our transatlantic cruise ship crossing back home. It helped to create a sense of community with our fellow cruisers – many of whom happened to be Bears! My hope is that by spending some time with us they felt the same sense of connectedness in our shared humanity that we did.
It was also a year where I was able to help several firms further their inclusion initiatives through my training programs and consulting work and by being given the opportunity to tell the story of my journey to my authentic self to their employees. It demonstrated for me, once again, that our stories possess incredible power to change hearts, minds, and souls.
And speaking of changing hearts and minds, I am ever grateful that my book has continued to reach more individuals than I could ever imagine. It warms my heart to know that many have benefited from its tales of strength, perseverance, and hope. It was never my intent to publish a New York Times bestseller (although that would have been nice!). But rather, it was always about being able to help those that were searching for guidance and support for their own life journeys in whatever measure they needed.
The vagaries of the publishing business being what they are, I find myself at the start of this year in search of a new publisher so that I can ensure my book remains in print and continues to help those that can benefit from it most: transgender and gender diverse individuals of all stripes as well as those managers of people, DEI professionals, and the like. I believe it can continue to touch the lives of many if given the proper platform. In addition, I have much more to share about what I have learned with respect to the roles privilege and vulnerability play in the evolution of cultures in organizations of all sizes and I seek a forum on which to do that.
So, I humbly ask that if any of you reading this can assist me in that endeavor by introducing me to individuals in your network who are in the publishing industry I would be beyond grateful.
Finally, along with reflection comes discernment, and I have discerned plenty in 2022. I have purposely and intentionally devoted a good deal of time to understanding how my voice can continue to contribute to the future of the transgender/gender-diverse inclusion movement. The new year marks my 19th year of doing what I do, and I have arrived at a place where whatever work I take on it is because I want to, rather than because I need to. And that is no small realization for me as I have often struggled with what comes next – and what does that look like.
To be sure, there are plenty of younger voices in today’s movement who bring a much different point of view to the table. I have seriously considered the possibility that perhaps it is time for me to step aside and let them carry us into the future. But if I am honest with myself, I am not quite ready to do that. There is far too much hate, falsehoods, and misinformation being heaped upon my community, and God only knows what waits for us in the new year given the dynamic political landscape in this country. The only way we combat that and shape the narrative to an honest and true place is by using a multitude of voices collectively speaking truth to power. And that is a collective that I have always been proud to lend my voice to, in whatever manner feels right for me.
Be kind to each other and I wish each of you a Happy, Healthy, and Peaceful 2023.
Well, look who showed up on page 79 of GOMagazine’s annual feature of their Pride edition, “Women We Love.” I am beyond thrilled to be included on this list with such an amazing group of women. Especially on this date, when we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Title IX. The work, and the struggle, continue. It indeed takes a village.
I can remember back to one of my first NYC Pride Marches after coming out, grabbing a copy of GO Magazine, and thinking “wouldn’t it be great to be on this list someday?” I love it when things come full circle like that. My heartfelt thanks to everyone at GO Magazine for including me in this incredible collective of voices for change in our world.
Beyond honored to be on the #linkedintopvoices list with such wonderfully important voices for the LGBTQ+ community. Especially, my friends and colleagues in the movement, Celia Sandhya Daniels and Fabrice C Houdart. Collectively, all of you make such a profound difference in the lives of so many and I am grateful to be in your company. Let’s go change the world together!