Friday, November 4, 2011

Jill Biden Opens PFLAG National Convention

Doctor Jill Biden stressed the importance of family acceptance in a speech she delivered at the opening of the Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) National Convention in Alexandria, Va., on Friday, Nov. 4.

“Acceptance by those you love is the greatest acceptance of all,” she said, citing the mother who conceived PFLAG in 1972 after she marched with her gay son in the New York City Pride parade. “As a teacher and a mom, I know what Jeanne Manford knew—that there is a direct connection between acceptance and positive, healthy outcomes in every important area of life, including education, mental health, and physical health.”

Biden specifically referenced the spate of LGBT teenager suicides that have made headlines across the country since Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi jumped off New York City’s George Washington Bridge in Oct. 2010. She also cited the anti-bullying workshops that the White House and the Department of Education have hosted, the addition of sexual orientation and gender identity and expression to the federal hate crimes law and the repeal of 'don't ask, don't tell' as demonstrative examples of the Obama administration's ongoing commitment to LGBT Americans.

“This progress is important, but there is still more to do,” said Biden. “At this critical time for education in our country, we need to ensure that our schools are producing the next generation of American leaders and heroes. We must insure that our classrooms are safer for all students to learn, grow, and thrive.”

She spoke about anti-LGBT bullying in the classroom at a Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network event in New York City in June 2009.

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