National LGBT Cancer Project Letter to American Cancer Society

John R. Seffrin, PhD
Chief Executive Officer
American Cancer Society

Dear Dr. Seffrin:

I write to you today with the hope of getting a greater understanding about why The American Cancer Society’s Pinellas County branch canceled an LGBT-focused Relay For Life that was scheduled for March 21, 2010.  As described by the event’s organizer, Bobby Poth, American Cancer Society officials “ were worried about how the general public would react to an LGBT-targeted event [and] allowed personal beliefs to play a role in that fear, etc.”

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender cancer survivors, their friends, family and care givers, deserve complete and unfettered support by all of us, including the American Cancer Society. Homophobia is vile and life threatening, particularly to those who are vulnerable because of ongoing health care treatment.   Out With Cancer – The LGBT Cancer Project is our country’s first and leading LGBT cancer survivor support and advocacy national nonprofit organization.  We know that prejudice hurts LGBT cancer survivors, diminishing access to appropriate health care, elevating psycho-social stressors and reducing research into LGBT health care disparities.  To see our country’s largest cancer survivor nonprofit, the American Cancer Society give in to homophobia, is harmful to all of us.

I look forward to your reply on this issue.  Thank you for your consideration.

Darryl Mitteldorf, LCSW
Executive Director
Out With Cancer – The LGBT Cancer Project

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