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PFLAG National Lauds Appointments of Catherine Lhamon and Debo Adegbile to U.S. Commission on Civil Rights

December 15, 2016

WASHINGTON, DC—PFLAG National—the nation’s largest organization uniting families, allies, and people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ)—today lauded President Obama for appointing Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine E. Lhamon and attorney Debo Adegbile to six-year terms on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

“Both Assistant Secretary Lhamon and Mr. Adegbile have proven they will unwaveringly work for the fairness and dignity of all people, especially those who are pushed to society’s margins,” said Elizabeth Kohm, PFLAG National’s Interim Executive Director. “In her current role, Assistant Secretary Lhamon worked to ensure that transgender youth would not have to choose between getting an education and their personal safety. Mr. Adegbile has been a longtime champion for equality, both in and outside of the courtroom. With bias-motivated violence on the rise, and a long way to go to achieve PFLAG’s values of liberty and justice for all, we look forward to our continued work with the USCCR, including its two new commissioners.”

As Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Civil Rights, Catherine Lhamon has been one of this Administration’s key leaders in advancing civil rights, offering up groundbreaking work on how colleges respond to sexual assault and how schools treat transgender students.

As a partner at WilmerHale–a longtime corporate partner of PFLAG National–and before that at the NAACP, Debo Adegbile has pursued a range of civil rights issues, including employment and housing discrimination and criminal justice. He also argued before the Supreme Court multiple times, including his defense of the Voting Rights Act in 2008.

The bipartisan, independent USCCR is composed of eight Commissioners: four appointed by the President and four by Congress. They hold public briefings, issue press releases, conduct hearings and publish studies on a range of civil rights issues. Most recently, they issued a statement on the rise of hate crimes in the United States, and notably released a statement in support of the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights’ protection of transgender students.

PFLAG engages in advocacy on a wide range of issues of importance to the LGBTQ community. To learn more, visit pflag.org/wherewestand.

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 more than 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.org.


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