Janice Langbehn and Charlene Strong Set to Meet President Obama

June 22, 2010

Janice Langbehn and her children

Two of the LGBT movement's most courageous women are set to meet President Barack Obama later today at a White House reception that will celebrate LGBT Pride Month. Janice Langbehn and Charlene Strong were both denied access to their dying partners in two gut wrenching scenarios that led them to push for significant protections. GLAAD has worked closely  with Langbehn and Strong for many years providing media training and elevating their stories in national media outlets. After President Obama signed a memorandum adding protections for same-sex couples in matters of hospital visitation, GLAAD garnered significant media coverage for Janice Langbehn who president Obama personally called, and Charlene Strong, in outlets including The Washington Post, The New York Times and CBS News. Both women credit GLAAD with giving them a voice and elevating their stories to educate millions of American about the concrete harms facing same-sex couples who lack marriage protections, and prompt actions like President Obama’s memorandum.

Charlene Strong

The feature length documentary, "For My Wife" outlines Charlene Strong's compelling journey.  She is currently taking the film across the country for a series of screenings. More info here from a recent Strong press release: Charlene's testimony was instrumental in the passage of Washington state’s historic domestic partnership legislation and her subsequent campaigning for the affirmation of those rights with Referendum 71 was the first time LGBT partnership rights were upheld by popular vote in the United States.  Strong was appointed to the Washington State Human Rights Commission and is a nationally recognized speaker and advocate for LGBT civil rights in the U.S.  She serves as the spokesperson for Equal Rights Washington’s (ERW) Education Fund. “Our lives are valuable and deserve a voice and full inclusion in the discussion of full equality,” Strong says. “My goal is to be that voice -- a voice that reaches out to say that this is the real story, the real pain and the real collateral damage of discrimination.” GLAAD applauds Charlene Strong and Janice Langbehn for their immense bravery in facing tragedy and using their experiences to fight for equal protections for same-sex couples.