PFLAG National To Honor NFL's Ayanbadejo and Kluwe, Author John Irving with Straight for Equality Awards at Fifth Annual Gala

PFLAG National To Honor NFL's Ayanbadejo and Kluwe, Author John Irving with Straight for Equality Awards at Fifth Annual Gala

PFLAG National-the nation's largest grassroots-based non-profit for families, friends, and straight allies of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) people-will honor NFL players Brendon Ayanbadejo of the Superbowl Championship-winning Baltimore Ravens and Chris Kluwe of the Minnesota Vikings (Straight for Equality in Sports), and award-winning author John Irving (Straight for Equality in Literature) at the fifth annual Straight for Equality Awards Gala. Additional honorees will be named in coming weeks. The evening will be hosted by comedian/writer/producer Lizz Winstead, co-creator of THE DAILY SHOW and co-founder of AIR AMERICA radio.

"While the last year has been a turning point in moving equality forward for GLBT people, these three men have been at the forefront of their respective fields for years, paving the way for others to speak out," said PFLAG National Executive Director Jody M. Huckaby. "To have not one but two NFL players speaking out in such an impassioned way-not to mention using the Superbowl as a platform to move this conversation forward-is a major milestone in major league sports in this country. And Mr. Irving has been writing about the lives of GLBT people for years...long before his own son came out to him."

Straight for Equality-a national outreach and education project created by PFLAG National- focuses on the next generation of straight allies joining together with GLBT people in the effort to achieve equality for all. Straight for Equality Awards are presented to individuals who are transforming the way that GLBT people are understood and treated, using their talents and platforms in their respective fields to empower others to become engaged and outspoken allies for GLBT equality.

Of accepting the award, Literature honoree Irving says, "When I wrote THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP (1978), I thought I was done with the subject of intolerance of our sexual differences; I believed that acceptance of sexual minorities was right around the corner, and that sexual intolerance would soon fade away. But with IN ONE PERSON (2012), I was once more making a plea for sexual tolerance; the hero of this novel is a bisexual man-the people he heroizes are two transgender women. How lucky I am to have a gay son. When he was nineteen, my son Everett was the ideal first reader for IN ONE PERSON-someone I love, someone I'm proud of, and someone who's proud of me. And I'm very proud to be receiving a Straight for Equality Award, very honored to be in the company of the other honorees."

Sports honoree Kluwe echoes Irving's sentiments stating, "I'm greatly honored to be accepting the Straight for Equality in Sports Award. But at the same time the feeling is bittersweet, because all I did is what anyone else would do - the right thing. Hopefully one day we will no longer need to have award ceremonies for acting like a human being, because treating each other with empathy and respect will be the accepted norm."

The Fifth Annual Straight for Equality Awards Gala will be held on Thursday, April 4th in New York City at the Marriott Marquis Times Square. Tickets are available by visiting http://www.straightforequality.org/2013gala.

Founded in 1972 with the simple act of a mother publicly supporting her gay son, PFLAG is the original family and straight 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 in its 40th anniversary year, PFLAG has more than 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. To learn more, please visit http://www.pflag.org.