Former Obama-era LGBTI liaison announced as new PFLAG chief

Brian Bond

The former LGBTI liaison to the US government is to become the new executive director of the LGBTI equality network PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) National.

Brian Bond, who was the first White House LGBTI liaison under US President Barak Obama, will begin the role on 1 February.

‘I know what it is to be the scared kid growing up in a rural community feeling different and alone, struggling with accepting who I was and living in fear because I knew I was different,’ Bond said in a statement.

‘As the Executive Director of PFLAG National—arm in arm with the hundreds of thousands of exceptional people who are the backbone of PFLAG—it is my goal to intensify all our efforts serving our diverse families and communities.’

‘For communities of color, we can make this stronger through continued cultural inclusion work and expanded outreach, listening, and tools. We can build on PFLAG’s long and noteworthy trans-inclusive history to expand our programs for transgender and gender-expansive youth and their families,’ Bond added.

‘There is no question we also will find the best way forward for faith-based and more conservative families torn between loving their kids and loving their faith.’

‘I know Brian is the leader PFLAG needs’

PFLAG is a network which unites LGBTI people with their families, friends, and allies.

PFLAG National provides support for more than 200,000 members of the organization, spread across 400 charters in the US.

Kathy Goodwin, the board president of PFLAG, expressed her delight at Bond’s appointment.

‘He has a proven record of success unifying people across communities, building strong alliances and partnerships and working in challenging environments and moments to effect change,’ Godwin said.

‘His personal story — as a young gay man raised in rural America — will resonate with so many people, including our supporters and members. I know Brian is the leader PFLAG needs to continue our work, and greatly expand our reach.’

Valerie Jarrette, a former senior advisor to President Obama, also praised Bond and his appointment.

‘Brian’s skill set, collaborative leadership style, creative thought process, and ability to build bridges across diverse communities and life experiences will serve PFLAG well,’ she said.

A lifetime of service to the LGBTI community

Bond has been involved in politics and LGBTI activism for much of his adult life.

A native of rural Missouri, Bond is a former executive director of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, and has also worked as an advocate for HIV education after learning he was HIV-positive in his early-thirties.

As deputy director of the White House Office of Public Liaison, Bond consulted on LGBTI issues from 2009 to 2011.

This was followed by stints in both the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic National Convention.

PFLAG has gone nearly a year without an executive director. The previous executive director, Jaime Grant, left the position in March 2018 after only six months on the job.

Grant’s departure puzzled many LGBTI rights activists, as no official reason was given for his sudden resignation.

Author: Calum Stuart

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