PFLAG Policy Statements
When an issue that affects our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender loved ones comes to the forefront of our society's consciousness, the Board of Directors of PFLAG often has or develops a Policy Statement on that topic.
PFLAG seeks a just world in which all people receive understanding and equal acceptance and protection. PFLAG has and will continue to work to change or establish national and state legislation and policies to establish equality and to end discrimination against LGBTQ and other marginalized communities.
As bills, resolutions or ordinances are planned or introduced in Congress, states or municipalities, PFLAG will continue to work with legislative or executive branches of government to advocate for those that will help to end discrimination in all of its forms as a strong path toward equality for all. PFLAG is determined to end abusive or harmful policies, practices and legislation. (Adopted by the PFLAG Board of Directors on March 16, 2017. Previous iterations of this were titled Legalized Discrimination and were adopted by the PFLAG Board of Directors on September 7, 1992. Revised January 15, 2001. Revised July 24, 2011. Revised March 18, 2017.)
Faith Community Relationships
PFLAG National and PFLAG chapters are non-sectarian, non-denominational, and not affiliated with any particular religious institution. Although PFLAG chapter meetings may be held in buildings owned by religious communities, PFLAG chapters are not programs of - nor do they promote the religious beliefs of - those organizations.
- The different religious traditions are practiced in our communities;
- The importance of the free expression of religious beliefs, but also the freedom from such beliefs;
- That being a person of faith and an LGBTQ person – or the family member of an LGBTQ person – need not be exclusive of one another;
- That many people of all faiths openly and lovingly embrace the LGBTQ community;
- That intolerance of LGBTQ people and their families is not a just expression of religious faith.
PFLAG defines a family as two or more people with shared goals, values and commitment to each other and who when possible call the same dwelling home, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression and no matter its point of origin, whether by birth, adoption, fostering or chosen. PFLAG believes family support and acceptance are critical to the health and wellbeing of people who are LGBTQ. The number of same-sex couples who reported in the 2010 Census that they are raising children under the age of 18 is 646,464, and experts believe that the number increases annually and would increase if federal and state nondiscrimination laws for adoption and fostering were in effect both for prospective LGBTQ parents and for LGBTQ youth eligible for permanent homes.
PFLAG supports the right of straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer individuals and couples to be parents, regardless of their marital status, through biological relationships and adoptive or foster relationships. PFLAG supports ensuring that LGBTQ families receive fair and equal consideration without discrimination when or whether considering or choosing birth, adoption or foster care settings.
(Formerly Family Values and Family Creation. Adopted February 12, 1995. Revised July 17, 2000. Revised November 4, 2011. Revised April 1, 2012. Revised March 18, 2017.)
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people experience disproportionately high rates of violence, assault and murder based on their actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
Since the 2016 election, violence and hate crimes have been on the rise in the United States. Reports of violence and allegations of hate crimes have risen dramatically for immigrant, refugee, African-American, Jewish, Latinx, LGBTQ and Muslim communities.* At particular risk for violence are those who embody more than one, intersecting, marginalized identity, and among the LGBTQ population, highest risk and reports are experienced by transgender women of color and queer Muslims of color.
PFLAG is fiercely dedicated to our strategic priority of building, maintaining and expanding safe communities. We are committed to keeping all members of the LGBTQ community safe and to reduce rates of violence against LGBTQ people, and those that exist across the intersections of marginalized and at-risk communities. PFLAG strongly believes it is our moral obligation to continue to fight injustice and policies rooted in racism, homophobia, transphobia and xenophobia, and condemn hateful rhetoric, hate crimes, and hate threats against all people.
PFLAG supports and works to enact federal, state and local laws that are inclusive and that protect LGBTQ persons and other marginalized communities from hate crimes and strongly embraces the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2010, the first federal law to explicitly include LGBTQ people.
PFLAG works to create safe communities that can narrow the gap between residents and law enforcement; to build cultural humility; and to emphasize community education, prevention and assistance to prevent, address and report violence. PFLAG works to ensure that the criminal justice system delivers fair and swift justice for those who are the targets of hate crimes.
*Southern Poverty Law Center
(Adopted July 23, 2001. Revised April 1, 2012. Revised July 21, 2016. Revised March 18, 2017. )
HIV and STD Prevention
PFLAG believes self-acceptance, and family and community support are key protective factors when it comes to the health and well being of all people.* PFLAG also believes in the value of education, including information on the prevention of HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) and STDs (sexually transmitted disease). PFLAG concurs with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)** regarding HIV/STD prevention. These guidelines recognize the need for medically accurate information to educate people about how to protect themselves and their partners against HIV and STDs.
With education comes knowledge, and with knowledge comes the ability to engage in sexual relationships in a manner that is healthy and safe, and in keeping with one’s right to self-determination.
PFLAG acknowledges that HIV and STDs are preventable infections that disproportionally affect segments of the LGBTQ community. Expanded prevention and treatment strategies are essential to curtailing the rise of new HIV and STD infections.
A responsible HIV/STD prevention motto is: "Educate, test, treat, and repeat." Everyone needs complete and unbiased information about:
- Modes of transmission,
- Risk factors,
- Prevention methods,
- Where and how frequently to be tested, and
- Treatment options that are available.
PFLAG further affirms that healthcare providers who discriminate, based on a person's sexual orientation or gender identity, can negatively impact the health and well-being of persons seeking prevention, treatment, or care.
*Family Acceptance Project (familyproject.sfsu.edu)
**Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (cdc.gov)
(Adopted December 9, 2017.)
Inclusive Sexuality Education
PFLAG believes that all people who are LGBTQ should be valued by society and by themselves. PFLAG works to educate people on issues important to the community and advocates for inclusive policies, which includes sexuality education.
PFLAG recognizes that many sexuality education efforts make assumptions about the target audience's gender identity or sexual orientation. Assuming someone's gender identity or sexual orientation based on how they look, assuming that all individuals experience sexual attraction, assuming that asexuality is the same as celibacy or abstinence, assuming that all young people are only attracted to the "opposite" gender, or teaching there are only two genders, may make youth of different identities, genders or orientations not feel included.
PFLAG believes inclusive sexuality education can foster more positive sexual health outcomes and promote the development of sexually healthy adults. Inclusive sexuality education includes information about gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, emotional relationships and responsibilities, along with skills building to help young people make informed decisions regarding their sexual health.
PFLAG supports the following inclusive sexuality education tenets:
- Education programs should respect the young person's right to complete, evidence-based, and medically accurate information.
- Sexual development is a normal part of human development.
- Inclusive sexuality education should be provided through a student's grade levels with information appropriate to the student's development and cultural background.
- Education should include information about sexual development, sexual and reproductive health, interpersonal relationships, sexual violence prevention, body image, gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation.
PFLAG welcomes persons with intersex medical conditions (also known as Differences of Sex Development, DSD, or atypical, “non-standard” sex development) and their families as fully participating members. A variety of conditions that lead to atypical development of physical sex characteristics are collectively referred to as intersex conditions, according to the American Psychological Association, adding that these conditions can involve the external genitalia, internal reproductive organs, sex chromosomes or sex-related hormones. PFLAG members should be informed about and inclusive of the needs of persons with these conditions, as they are with any other medical condition.
PFLAG recognizes the need for informed consent when individuals with intersex medical conditions undergo medical treatment such as, but not limited to, genitoplasty and sterilization. PFLAG acknowledges that these treatments may be the result of societal pressures and are oftentimes, neither necessary nor urgent. PFLAG condemns the practice of genital mutilation on children and infants and encourages individuals to seek information about both the short- and long-term ramifications of such surgeries.
PFLAG supports efforts to end the secrecy and the medically unnecessary genital surgery experienced by some persons with intersex conditions. PFLAG welcomes the efforts of medical organizations, support groups, and others, working toward this end. PFLAG urges the entire health care community to establish and adopt a patient-centered treatment protocol under which patients and families are treated with the utmost sensitivity.
(Adopted September 27, 2002. Revised 2009. Revised July 22, 2012. Revised July 8, 2017.)
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Individuals as a Protected Class
Under U.S. federal law, a protected class is a group of people with a characteristic in common who are for that reason in need of federal protection from discrimination. Current federal protected classes include race, color, religion or creed, national origin or ancestry, sex, age, physical or intellectual disability, veteran status, genetic information and citizenship.
PFLAG believes that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals should be protected from discrimination or harassment under all federal, state and local laws throughout the United States as a protected class. Federal, state and local governments should insert "sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression" along with other protected classes in applicable anti-discrimination laws and repeal current laws that discriminate against LGBT persons.
(Formerly Boy Scouts of America and Inclusion in Legislation. Adopted October 26, 2012. Adopted March 18, 2017.)
PFLAG National believes that families and society benefit when all individuals are free to marry whom they love and are able to legalize their relationships through marriage. PFLAG supports freedom to marry for couples, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, throughout the United States and the world. Marriage as a social institution confers rights and protections, both legal and practical. Among those federal and states rights are tax, inheritance and estate planning benefits; employment, disability and other public assistance; medical, death, family and housing benefits. The definition of marriage controls over 1,000 federal laws in which marital status is addressed.
On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled on marriage equality. Justice Kennedy, in Obergefell, et al vs. Hodges, Director, Ohio Department of Health, et al, delivered the 26-page opinion, which states in part:
"No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization's oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.
The judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is reversed. It is so ordered."
(Adopted January 17, 2000. Revised November 4, 2011. Revised July 8, 2017. Revised October 20, 2017. )
(Amendments offered by the policy committee September 25, 2017.This policy statement was approved by the BOD March 2017 and these amendments are a response from board members who wished to add the benefits of marriage -- as well as a statement of freedom to marry whom you love.)
Opposing So-Called Reparative or Conversion “Therapy”
Reparative or conversion therapy refers to counseling and psychotherapy aimed at eliminating or suppressing same-sex attractions and/or gender nonconforming behaviors.
These “therapies” emerge from the discredited view that same-sex attraction is a mental disorder and that gender nonconforming behaviors can be “corrected” if such behavior are not “encouraged.”*
Such efforts are demonstrably harmful to the mental health of people who undergo this discredited practice, and include increased rates of depression, anxiety and self-harming behaviors. Particularly vulnerable to these negative outcomes are children and adolescents.
Reparative or Conversion “therapies” have been rejected by all major health organizations including the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association and the American Medical Association.
PFLAG encourages those struggling with same-sex attractions and/or gender nonconforming behavior - in themselves or their children - to seek legitimate and qualified mental health providers who can lead them through a process to acceptance and celebration of their sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.
Moreover, PFLAG calls on all professional, educational and religious organizations to work toward changing the cultural biases that perpetuate these futile and damaging practices.
PFLAG supports and works to create laws that ban harmful conversion therapy for youth at all jurisdictional levels.
*The American Psychological Association
(Adopted January 17, 2000. Revised November 4, 2011. Revised March 18, 2017.)
PFLAG believes that all people should be able to access public accommodations, including facilities and services, in a way that respects who they are, protects their safety and ensures that regardless of someone’s gender identity or expression, equal protection under the law is granted, including for transgender and gender expansive people.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines places of public accommodations as businesses that are generally open to the public and that fall into one of 12 categories listed in the ADA, including schools, restaurants, restrooms, locker rooms, libraries, hotels, movie theaters, grocery stores, convention centers, banks, day care facilities, recreation facilities, and others. Public accommodations access includes services as well as facilities. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 defines public accommodations similarly.
(Adopted July 8, 2017.)
Safe and Welcoming Schools
PFLAG supports federal, state and local laws and advocates for legislation, regulations and school district policies which mandate policies and practices that protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) students from bullying, including cyber bullying, harassment, and discrimination. In the absence of such laws, PFLAG strongly advises public and private school administrators to implement comprehensive, inclusive policies and practices to end bullying, harassment, and discrimination and create a healthy, safe and welcoming learning environment for all students.
(Adopted July 23, 2001. Revised April 1, 2012. Revised March 18, 2017.)
Sexual Exploitation of Youth
PFLAG strongly condemns the sexual exploitation of children by any individual, group, or organization, in any form and under any circumstance. PFLAG and its chapters will not participate in any activity, event, or coalition with any organization that sexually exploits minors.
(Adopted February 1997. Revised November 4, 2011.)
Unity and Inclusion
From its founding in 1972 to its work today, PFLAG’s membership of LGBTQ people, families, and allies have united in love, embracing each other and people whose communities are often marginalized, erased or ignored.
PFLAG reaffirms that unity and inclusion and a shared commitment to human dignity of all people are critical to fight discrimination and bigotry in any form so that all families can live free of fear. We commit to fight for fairness inclusive of people’s sex, race, ethnicity, national origin, socioeconomic position, religion, level of mental or physical ability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or any other perceived or actual characteristic.
PFLAG also reaffirms its commitment to this goal which requires us to learn to be the allies that communities need. We commit to better educate ourselves, listen to others, and engage in critical conversations, ensuring that we model the inclusive behavior we wish to see in the world.
We will be more inclusive allies to create space for voices that might not otherwise be heard and amplify personal stories so that the storytellers are visible. We will listen attentively and actively, and speak out with due diligence and clear conviction, across all barriers and borders, to ensure that all people are included, respected, and treated equally.
(Adopted December 2016.)
PFLAG supports equal employment practices and employee benefits for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people. PFLAG supports federal, state and local employment laws that protect persons in public and private workplaces from discrimination based on their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. If workplace benefits are provided to opposite-sex married couples, these benefits should apply to same-sex married couples.
Workplace benefits should include basic medical coverage, dependent care, retirement, and medically necessary care of LGBTQ individuals to protect all families’ financial and medical well-being. In 2015 and 2016, the EEOC ruled that gender identity and gender expression and sexual orientation, respectively, are protected in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 included in the definition of sex and sex stereotyping. In advance of passing comprehensive legal protections for LGBTQ employees and their families such as The Equality Act, PFLAG calls upon all employers to implement such measures proactively.
(Adopted July 23, 2001. Revised May 22, 1994. Revised April 1, 2012. Revised March 18, 2017.) PFLAG National Website