All posts by We Are Straight Allies

We Are Straight Allies seeks to educate, engage and “call to action” the business, faith-based, military, government, nonprofit, educational, arts and private sectors as we move towards passage of comprehensive polices that protect our LGBT community against discrimination in the State of Florida. Our strategic educational and advocacy efforts are targeted towards city and faith based leaders, as well as everyday citizens, to ensure greater equity for the LGBT community in employment, housing and public accommodation. The campaign is designed to reaffirm those who currently support fundamental human rights for all citizens and to further engage those who are ambivalent, previously voted against comprehensive protections, or who are uninformed about the real challenges that face members of our LGBT community.

I’m coming out….

I’m coming out….
as a Straight Ally….
in support of LGBT equality.
and the Jacksonville Human Rights Ordinance.
in support of my brother.
in support of my sister.
in support of my mother.
in support of my father.
in support of my friends.
in support of my colleague.
in support of my employees.
in support of my community.
in support of non-discrimination.
in support of everyone’s right to marry.
in support of basic Human Rights.
in support of the pursuit of happiness.
in support of LOVE.
This is my lifelong journey…..
I’m coming out because there is nothing more important than our humanity.
Team pic collage

Ally Profile: Pat Geraghty

“I believe that engaged employees are a key ingredient for a business to be successful. Internal diversity within the workforce helps businesses better understand who they serve and allows the focus to be on the work and not on definitions that limit inclusion.” – Pat Geraghty

Patrick “Pat” Geraghty is chairman of the board of directors and chief executive officer (CEO) of Florida Blue, the state’s largest health plan serving more than 7 million people in Florida and providing Medicare payment services to beneficiaries across 15 other states.   He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Colgate University and has participated in executive education programs at Harvard University School of Public Health and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He has three children; Sean, Briege and Kiera.

Throughout his career, Geraghty has been active in community and professional organizations. He is a board member for a diverse group of organizations, including the National Institute of Health Care Management (NIHCM), Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, Prime Therapeutics and the Oliver Wyman Innovation Center Advisory Board. He is a member of United Way’s Tocqueville Society and, in 2011, was appointed to the Florida Council of 100.  He received the Humanitarian of the Year Award from Kappa Alpha Psi for Florida Blue, the American Values Award for his outstanding leadership and commitment to the community from the North Florida Council Boy Scouts of America, The Jefferson Award for Public Service for BCBSMN, the 2012 Game Changer Award from Politic365 for Florida Blue and the Gold Standard from the CEOs Roundtable in support of the American Cancer Society with BCBSMN and Florida Blue.

Geraghty has been featured in Florida Trend magazine and interviewed on Bloomberg TV’s Street Smart program and the Nightly Business Report which airs nationally on PBS. Additionally, he has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Florida Times Union, Miami Herald, Tampa Tribune, Tampa Bay Times and Orlando Sentinel, among other publications.

Pat has seen discrimination in many forms throughout his life, amongst family members and in the workplace.  He learned about discrimination early on when his grandfather, an Irish immigrant. was denied employment.  “When we discriminate against others in our everyday lives, people pay a price.” he explains.  “Discrimination in any form is wrong.”  As Chairman and CEO, Pat wants employees to fully experience the opportunities they have available, both at work and home.

Pat is proud to be a Straight Ally, working to build a more inclusive, more fair, community for everyone to live in.  “Florida Blue stands for inclusiveness and for passing the Florida Competitive Workforce Act.  We will also be supportive in the efforts to work on the changes in Jacksonville’s Human Rights Ordinance.”

Pat Geraghty_FP_Print_new logo


PRESS: Straight Allies featured on Equality Florida Blog

We’d like to thank our partners at Equality Florida for mentioning our campaign recently on their blog:

They have been on location in Jacksonville, for the past several weeks now, working with the Human Rights Campaign and the Jacksonville Committee for Equality to pass a fully-inclusive Human Rights Ordinance (HRO), an anti-discrimination policy based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. We Are Straight Allies will be here to help fully support their efforts!

“To pass this HRO, we will all need to work together” – Jess Osborn, Statewide Outreach Coordinator, Equality Florida

ACTION ALERT: Sign the Straight Ally Pledge

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We need your help – sign the Straight Ally Pledge TODAY!  Tell our City Council you support a comprehensive Human Rights Ordinance in Jacksonville, FL that bans discrimination against sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace or at school.

Ally Profile: The Hamiltons

Pastor Victoria_new

Pastor Vicki Hamilton and her husband, William, are both 2002 TEEM graduates from Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkley, California. She was ordained in April 2002.  They were called to St. John’s in January 2000 while membership was on the decline.  The congregation has changed dramatically and has become ethnically diverse.  They shepherd a community, proud to be a congregation striving to love and respect one another.

Pastor Vicki has served within the church, and the Jacksonville community, for many years. Her service includes: member of the taskforce for the formation of the ELCA race, ethnicity and culture social statement, planning committee member for the new women’s organization, two-term executive board member for Women of the ELCA, and church-wide board member of the African American Lutheran Association (AALA).  She has served as small group leader at region 9 Bishop School, Assistant to the Bishop for the African American Strategy, synod’s leadership task force, outreach committee, anti-racism team and candidacy committee. She has also served ecumenically as keynote speaker with Church Women United, the Via De Christo movement, Beat the Odds (a community program helping and encouraging young teen parents to finish school) and has conducted numerous workshops on self-esteem and empowerment.

William and Vicki wrote this beautiful letter to the Jacksonville community, urging the importance of why we all need to join the LGBT community and pledge our support for the passage of a comprehensive Human Rights Ordinance.


We are the Hamilton’s, William and Victoria. We have been married for 44 years.  Our family consists of three adult children and five grandchildren. We have worked hard at raising them to be compassionate and caring people. We try our best to set examples for them, and others, by holding integrity and care for God’s creations above all else.

For twenty years as a military family, we sacrificed long separations to insure that Americans could be treated fairly and just. That personal safety and the ability to live your life in freedom were paramount. That Justice in being able for all to work and make a sustainable livelihood matters to my family.

After retirement my family continued to fight the causes of injustices. We exchanged our military uniform for a new one. We where chosen to put on the collar and yoke of ordained ministry. Still called, equipped and sent to help fight for those same protections to insure no one is living on the margins of our society.

We could not in good conscience stand by while there is the slightest possibility that one of our LGBT Sisters and Brothers can face discrimination in jobs and housing. No matter what your belief system says, this is a Human Rights Issue. Everyone has the right to make a sustainable living and not stand in fear of loosing their job for who they are or perceived to be in their sexual orientation. Qualifications should be the determining factor.

A quote from The Rev. Martin Luther (1483-1546):  “There comes a time when one must take a position that is not safe nor political nor popular but he must take it because his conscience tells him it is right”.**

We are out of the closet on this issue, won’t you join us?

Rev’s William and Victoria Hamilton, Pastors

St. John’s Lutheran Church, ELCA

** Editor’s Note: While we most often associate this quote with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in his speech, Delivered at the National Cathedral, Washington, D.C., on 31 March 1968his writings and teachings were often influenced by those of his name sake, thus the Hamiltons choose to give rightful credit to the originator of the thought.