Last Thursday, Janice Langbehn was honored with the Presidential Citizens Medal at a ceremony held in the White House. Before receiving her medal, Janice was interviewed about the heartbreaking experience that led her down the path of advocacy. The White House has now posted the video of that interview, which you can watch below.
Janice lost her partner, Lisa Pond, in 2007 while they were on vacation with their children in South Florida. Lisa experienced a brain aneurysm and was hospitalized. Despite presenting hospital officials with legal documentation proving that they were a family, neither Janice nor their children were allowed to see Lisa before she died. In response to its anti-gay policies, Janice filed a federal law suit against the hospital. The court ruled against her, but she says, “I have continued on with the message that it’s not a gay right to hold someone’s hand when they die, it’s a human right. And Lisa didn’t deserve to die alone.”
After hearing of Janice’s story, President Obama went on to revise laws for federally funded hospitals around visitation for lesbian and gay couples. Speaking of this policy change and of being honored for her efforts, Janice said, “It really cements that I know that the last four and a half years since [Lisa] died, that as I’ve spoken out about what was so wrong about what happened that day – that I was in the right to speak out.”
GLAAD once again congratulates Janice on receiving this prestigious honor and thanks her for being a strong voice in the movement towards LGBT equality.