In a spirited address at the PFLAG national convention in Arlington, Virginia, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden celebrated the organization’s remarkable 50-year legacy of fostering acceptance and battling for equal rights. Her speech not only highlighted the significance of PFLAG’s work but also underscored the unwavering support that the Biden-Harris administration continues to provide to the LGBTQ+ community during a time of heightened animosity.
A Time of Challenges
Dr. Biden’s speech came at a critical moment when far-right factions have intensified their efforts to vilify the LGBTQ+ community, with transgender individuals often being the primary targets of hostility. Brian Bond, PFLAG Executive Director, introduced Dr. Biden and praised President Biden as a true champion and ally to the LGBTQ+ community, emphasizing the administration’s commitment to the cause.
Remembering Jeanne Manford’s Courage
During her address, Dr. Biden paid tribute to PFLAG’s founder, Jeanne Manford, a trailblazer who spoke out in support of LGBTQ+ rights when such advocacy was unheard of. Manford’s journey began in 1972 when her gay activist son, Morty, was brutally attacked during a political gathering in New York City. She publicly condemned the police inaction and, alongside Morty, participated in the New York Pride March, holding a sign that read “Parents of Gays Unite in Support for Our Children.” This act marked the inception of a supportive network for parents of LGBTQ+ people.
Support Amidst Legislative Challenges
The Biden-Harris administration’s support for the LGBTQ+ community comes at a crucial juncture as over 500 bills have been proposed nationwide to curtail the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals, including attacks on healthcare, education, and LGBTQ+ books. Dr. Biden passionately declared, “In America, my friends, we do not ban books!” highlighting the alarming uptick in book bans targeting LGBTQ+ content.
Continuing the Legacy
Dr. Jill Biden celebrated PFLAG’s enduring impact and urged attendees to summon Jeanne Manford’s courage. She emphasized that small acts of love can change the world and expressed gratitude to those making lasting change and leading with love. The first lady concluded by stating that at the core of PFLAG is family, and family is love, echoing the message of unwavering support for the LGBTQ+ community.
In these challenging times, Dr. Jill Biden’s address at the PFLAG national convention serves as a reminder of the importance of acceptance, advocacy, and the enduring legacy of those who have fought for LGBTQ+ rights.