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PFLAG to Honor Broadway Icons Audra McDonald and Will Swenson

Saturday Mar 24, 2012
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WASHINGTON, D.C. - PFLAG National will honor Broadway stars Audra McDonald (THE GERSHWINS’ PORGY AND BESS, PRIVATE PRACTICE) and Will Swenson (PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT, HAIR) with the 2012 Straight for Equality in Entertainment Award, to be presented at the Fourth Annual Straight for Equality Awards Gala on Monday, April 2nd at the Marriott Marquis Times Square.

Straight for Equality-a national outreach and education project created by PFLAG National-invites, educates, and engages straight allies to advocate for and support gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) people.

Both members of the couple, who became engaged on New Year’s Eve 2012, are long-time outspoken straight allies. Ms. McDonald, a four-time Tony-Award and two-time Grammy-Award winner, has long been a strong voice in the cause for marriage equality for GLBT people.

Days before the groundbreaking decision to legalize same-sex marriage in New York, McDonald joined pro-marriage-equality marchers and lobbied New York state senators at New York’s state capital building in Albany and, in July 2011, she sang at New York City Hall employee John Feinblatt and Commissioner for Consumer Affairs Jonathan Mintz’s wedding reception. Officiated by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the wedding was one of the first same-sex civil marriage ceremonies to be performed in the state of New York.

Tony-Award-nominee Swenson has also been an outspoken advocate for marriage equality, and sits on the advisory board, along with McDonald, of the marriage equality advocacy organization Broadway Impact.

Swenson, who was raised in the Mormon faith, narrated BRING THEM IN FROM THE PLAINS, a 10-minute video prepared by the Foundation for Reconciliation to help raise awareness about the issue of gay suicides in the LDS community. He is set to direct a film adaptation of Carol Lynn Pearson’s play, FACING EAST, which follows a Mormon couple struggling with their faith after their gay son commits takes his own life.

"We couldn’t be more excited to honor Audra and Will," said Jody Huckaby, Executive Director of PFLAG National. "Their work together, and separately, speaks volumes about what it means to be a straight ally, and goes right to the heart of the mission of Straight for Equality. That they are also a loving, straight couple, raising children in the spirit of equality for all, goes a long way in supporting PFLAG’s 40-year mission of support, education, and advocacy by and for parents, families, friends, and allies of GLBT people."

Straight for Equality is a project of PFLAG National. It was launched in 2007 to invite, educate, and engage straight individuals to have the discussions necessary to move equality forward for their gay, lesbian, bi, and transgender friends.

Speaking on behalf of the couple, McDonald said, "Will and I are thrilled and honored to be recognized by PFLAG National."

Founded in 1972 with the simple act of a mother supporting her gay son, PFLAG is the original ally organization. Made up of parents, families, friends, and straight allies uniting with LGBT people, PFLAG is committed to advancing equality through its mission of support, education and advocacy.

Now entering its 40th year, PFLAG has more over 350 chapters and 200,000 supporters crossing multiple generations of American families in major urban centers, small cities and rural areas in all 50 states.

Straight for Equality is a project of PFLAG National. It was launched in 2007 to invite, educate, and engage straight individuals to have the discussions necessary to move equality forward for their gay, lesbian, bi, and transgender friends in simple, nonpolitical ways.

To learn more about the 2012 Straight for Equality Awards Gala, visit www.pflag.org/2012gala

This year’s other Straight for Equality Award recipients are Pastor Jay Bakker (Faith Communities) and KPMG LLP (Workplace).

To find out more about PFLAG National’s programs and services, please visit us at www.pflag.org

Learn more at www.straightforequality.org today.

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