Presidential Citizens Medal 2011 – Janice Langbehn


Janice Langbehn:
In 2007, my
partner, Lisa Pond, of 18 years took our children,
we took our children down to Miami to go on a Rosie
O’Donnell cruise, and Lisa collapsed before the
cruise left port and she was taken to Jacksonville Memorial
Hospital where I was told I wouldn’t be allowed to see her
or know about her condition. And even after faxing our
Durable Power of Attorney, Living Wills and
Advance Directives, they still kept the children
and I from her side. And it went on for over 8 hours. And during those 8 hours, she
slipped into a coma and died completely alone. Initially I tried to complain
online to the hospital, which fell on deaf ears. We filed a federal lawsuit
against the hospital. We ended up losing that lawsuit
because Florida is anti-gay, and they did — did not
owe us duty to visit. But 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. It really cements that I know
that the last four years — four and a half years since
she’s died that as I’ve spoken out about what was so wrong
about what happened that day, that it’s being recognized by
the White House just shows that I was in the right to speak out. With the President giving
me the Citizen’s Medal, not the second-class
Citizen’s Medal, I’m hoping that that is another
stamp of approval that we’re getting there towards equality.

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