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2017 Flag Bearer Honoree

August 18, 2017

PFLAG National is thrilled and honored to present Father James Martin, SJ, with its 2017 Flag Bearer Award at the 2017 PFLAG National Convention in Portland, Oregon.


The Flag Bearer Award is given in acknowledgement of the accomplishments of individuals, businesses, and organizations that have made lasting contributions to the safety and/or equality of people who are LGBTQ, their families, and allies. The work must occur outside of the PFLAG structure and demonstrate a significant impact.

“At a time when religion is too often manipulated to become a tool of discrimination and hatred, I am delighted and excited that we will elevate Father Martin’s healing and powerful voice at the 2017 PFLAG National Convention,” said Jean-Marie Navetta, PFLAG National’s Director of Learning and Inclusion.

Father Martin, is a Jesuit priest, editor at large of America magazine, consultor to the Vatican’s Secretariat for Communications, and author of numerous books, including The New York Times bestsellers Jesus: A Pilgrimage and The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything. Father Martin is a frequent commentator in the national and international media, having appeared on all the major networks, and in such diverse outlets as The Colbert Report, Fresh Air, On Being, Fox & Friends, PBS’s NewsHour, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Boston Globe, as well as on the History Channel, BBC, and Vatican Radio. Before entering the Jesuits in 1988, he graduated from the Wharton School of Business.

His most recent book, Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity, has received widespread praise. More importantly, it is a shining example of the power of faith leaders to unite those who have too often been on opposite sides of a conversation and haven’t often seen a path forward to truly seeing each other, achieving unity, and experiencing the blessing of healing. 

Father Martin offered the following message:

“I’m grateful to PFLAG for this recognition, and I hope that the award serves as another reminder that all LGBTQ people are beloved children of God, that God made them who they are, and that they have as much place in our churches as anyone else. One of the most moving parts of ministering to LGBTQ people has been witnessing the extraordinary love that so many parents and families show to their LGBTQ children. Few things reveal God’s unconditional love more than the welcome and acceptance shown by a family member towards a struggling child or sibling. At times, their witness has been astonishing, and all I can do is to stand in awe. It’s been such a privilege to meet, and come to know, some of these parents and families, who have taught me so much about mercy, about love, and about God.”

The PFLAG National Convention will be held in Portland, Oregon, from October 20-22, 2017.




PFLAG is the nation’s largest organization uniting families, allies, and people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer. PFLAG is committed to advancing equality through its mission of support, education, and advocacy, and has nearly 400 chapters and 200,000 supporters crossing multiple generations of American families in major urban centers, small cities, and rural areas in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. To learn more, visit pflag.orglike us on Facebook (/pflag), or follow us on Twitter (@pflag) or Instagram.


PFLAG is an organization of LGBTQ+ people, parents, families, and allies who work together to create an equitable and inclusive world. We are hundreds of thousands of people and hundreds of chapters from coast to coast who are leading with love to support families, educate allies, and advocate for just, equitable, and inclusive legislation and policies. Since our founding in 1973, PFLAG works every day to ensure LGBTQ+ people everywhere are safe, celebrated, empowered and loved. Learn more, find support, donate, and take action at PFLAG.org.

Media Contact

Laura McGinnis (she/her),
Sr. Manager, Press and Public Relations

[email protected]  |  (202) 864-2247

Pieces of Me film poster, with photos of Joslyn DeFreece from current and growing up.

New Short Film "Pieces of Me"

Our newest film "Pieces of Me" is out now in honor of Transgender Day of Visibility!
Written, directed, and produced by Nick Oceano-Armendariz—the film centers on the life of New York-based artist and transgender activist Joslyn DeFreece.

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