Welcome to PFLAG Westminster - Carroll County, Maryland

PFLAG Westminster – Carroll County, Maryland Chapter

Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays - Moving Equality Forward
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Thank you Lori and Bob Hollander for beautifully expressing of what many of us who are parents are feeling at this time.

Hollander Family

Think you know what it’s like to be the parent of an LGBTQ kid? Think again.

I finally cried this morning. My friend Cathy reached out to ask how my husband, Bob, and I were doing after the horrific Orlando shooting. None of my other friends called.

I know they care. They just don’t understand what it’s like to be the parent of a gay child … and we have two gay kids.

Saturday we marched in the DC Pride Parade — proud parents of 2 gay kids. Marching with PFLAG has become a ritual for us. We march to send a message of love, to our son and daughter. To parents who love their kids but might be too shy to shout it out. To parents still struggling to accept their children and especially to the LGBTQ community of young people.

We want them to know they are loved, even if their parents or religion reject them.

We awoke Sunday to the tragic and devastating news that there had been 49 children killed and 53 injured during a terror attack in an Orlando gay nightclub.

We were horrified thinking about what the kids experienced inside the club, and traumatized by hearing the parents on the news, uncertain about the fate of their children.

What affected me most was the mom who received texts from her son, Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, trapped inside the club.

ABC News

He then went silent. He was among the 49 who didn’t make it.

I can hardly stand to read this again.

That could be my son. That IS my son. That’s what parents of straight kids don’t get.

Here’s what I want parents of straight kids (and others) to understand: Our gay kids are innocent. They were born this way. They did nothing to deserve being disliked, hated or bullied — yet so often they are. No matter how high their self-esteem, they often feel hurt.

As parents, it KILLS us that we can’t protect them from the world.

Our own kids first came out before the Supreme Court upheld Marriage Equality. Like lightening, it hit me that they wouldn’t be able to get married. I felt outraged.

What do you mean I can’t dance at my children’s wedding? Being gay doesn’t mean you don’t fall in love and want to marry.

The message our kids heard from those against Marriage Equality:

You are different from your peers because of who you are. You are not good enough. You are a second-class citizen. You are unlikable. Photographers and bakers are sickened by the fact that you are who you are. You’re disgusting, a demon trying to ruin our traditional society and destroy families.

We fought hard for two years alongside Equality Maryland to attain the right for our kids to marry. We and our kids even testified before the Maryland legislature.

Many people who testified against the bill actually described gay people as “pedophiles, child abusers, lower than animals, and sexual predators.”

I was outraged. Those are my children you are talking about! And they are sitting right here. I still shake with rage when I think about it.

Last time I looked, the predators were a GOP House Speaker, a Penn State Football Coach and some Catholic priests.

Our son, more than our daughter, has been ridiculed, called derogatory names, had a friend who was severely beaten … for just being gay. The threat of violence, for just being who he is, is often on his mind.

Our kids can’t show any expression of love or affection to a partner in public, without fear of being ridiculed or worse yet violently attacked.

My kids can’t walk down the street with a partner holding hands on a date. Or give a hug or a kiss. Their public display of affection might make someone uncomfortable. They have to hide their affection. I’m furious!

Our son explained to us that one of the few safe spaces for their community is a gay club. It’s a place where they can fully be themselves. They can dance, they can touch, they can express affection without any judgment, without any fear, without feeling something is wrong with them.

Now even THAT has been violated.

Every time they meet someone new, our kids fear being judged. When a new co-worker, boss or doctor asks if they’re dating anyone, they have to lie or come out all over again. The fear of judgment and rejection is chronic.

Our children can be fired from a job or denied housing because they are gay. Sexual orientation and gender identity has not been added as a protected class, as are race, religion, color, sex, and national origin.

We can’t protect them from this. And my government won’t. What country do I live in?!

When we march at Pride, you can’t imagine how many young people approach us and say, “Thank you for loving your kids.” I don’t even know how to respond to this.

Thank you for loving your kids? I tell them they are our kids, and we love them!

When others talk about gay people, they are talking about our children.

It’s been quite a journey, one I wouldn’t change for anything in the world. Our two gay kids have brought more depth, meaning, love, understanding, compassion, warmth, joy and richness to our lives than I ever could have imagined.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Share this article with everyone you know. Post it on Facebook and social media.
  • Contact PFLAG or Straight for Equality and ask how to help.
  • Learn more about the LGBTQ community.
  • Speak up when you hear offensive jokes, language or comments.
  • March with us and PFLAG in a Pride Parade as an ally. 
  • Contact your Local and State representatives to: 
    • Support legislation that adds sexual orientation and gender identity as a protected class. 
    • Speak up against legislation that discriminates against the LGBTQ community.

Thank you for your support.

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Interfaith Vigil for Orlando (2)-1

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There was so much joy, so many happy faces Saturday afternoon & evening at the Capital Pride Celebration. Then, on Sunday Morning, less than 12 hours after, came a parent’s worst fear, a family’s worst fear, an LGBQ person’s worst fear. We can barely wrap our minds around this appalling, absolutely devastating news from Orlando of a massacre killing of 50 people and more than 50 others seriously injured in a gay nightclub. Our hearts bleed for those that senselessly lost their lives, their families and loved ones.
We’ve read the last text messages between one of the victims and his mom and it tore our insides.
Please, draw strength and support from each other. We must care for ourselves as we care for one another. We are family. We are the PFLAG family. We are here to offer ourselves as resources of support during this tragic time when people’s emotions and fears are heightened and may need us more than ever. Hug your loved ones. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.

Candle on Rainbow“As ambassadors of love and hope, PFLAG members will continue to support our extended family of LGBTQ people, families, and allies through these dark, anxious moments and beyond…”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 12, 2016
PFLAG National Statement on Attack in Orlando

WASHINGTON, DC—PFLAG National Executive Director Jody Huckaby today reacted to the unprecedented attack in Orlando, FL:

“As details continue to emerge from Orlando, our collective sadness, anger and grief is overwhelming. Our hearts are with those anxiously awaiting word of the safety of their loved ones, or who are already trying to cope with the unbearable loss of innocent lives. We thank the many first responders who saved, and continue to save lives.

PFLAG knows that the effects of this deliberate shooting spree that targeted an LGBTQ nightclub on Latinx Night will ripple across the country, reviving anxiety and painful emotions for anyone who has experienced hateful actions themselves or against loved ones because of who they are. We concur with President Obama’s message: This unprecedented massacre, this act of terror, this act of hate against people who are LGBTQ, was an attack on the fundamental belief in equality and dignity for all people.

At PFLAG, it tragically reminds us that our work is far from over. As ambassadors of love and hope, PFLAG members will continue to support our extended family of LGBTQ people, families, and allies through these dark, anxious moments and beyond. Let us join in unity to end violence and hatred.”

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Founded in 1972 with the simple act of a mother publicly supporting her gay son, PFLAG is the original family and ally organization. Uniting people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) with families, friends, and allies, PFLAG is committed to advancing equality through its mission of support, education, and advocacy. PFLAG has more than 400 chapters and 200,000 supporters crossing multiple generations of American families in major urban centers, small cities, and rural areas in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. To learn more, visit pflag.org.

Liz Owen
Director of Communications, PFLAG National | lowen@pflag.org | (202) 657-4026
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REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN for the 3rd annual

GENDER CONFERENCE EAST 2016

DATES: Friday Nov 11 – Saturday Nov 12
NEW LOCATION: DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Newark Airport / Newark NJ

Professionals Register HERE for Friday’s Professional Symposium
Families Register HERE for Saturday’s Family and Youth Day

Register now to take advantage of Early Bird Rates!

To learn more about our gathering, please visit www.GenderConferenceEast.org
or email us at info@genderconferenceeast.org!

www.GenderConferenceEast.org

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Carroll County Times Opinion Letters to the Editor
Letter: Trans people want same freedoms as everyone else

There is an important perspective missing from the local discourse on transgender bathroom access: the voices of transgender people, who are most directly impacted by the issue. Carroll County has heard the opinions of opponents and supporters of transgender bathroom access. Most notably, Carroll County has heard from Superintendent Guthrie and Commissioner Rothschild, who both publicly demonstrated that Carroll County is exactly as unwelcoming as the rest of Maryland thinks we are.

Transgender bathroom access is not an abstract political issue. It is a safety and privacy concern for many actual transgender people in Carroll County such as myself who simply want to enjoy the same freedoms guaranteed to all Americans. Through my work as an educator in CCPS and my advocacy with the Westminster-Carroll County chapter of PFLAG, I have met other transgender people living in Carroll County who are also keenly aware of the so-called “opinions” others have about our identities. Some of the trans people I have met are students of Carroll County Public Schools who express their fears about being transgender in our county’s hostile environment. Transgender people throughout America face the reality that we are highly likely to be the victims of assault, harassment and even murder at the hands of hateful, ignorant people. Carroll County citizens — Mr. Guthrie and Mr. Rothschild included — need to realize that there are living and breathing transgender people in Carroll County, including in our schools, who expect and deserve our privacy and equal protection just as much as anyone else.

All transgender people in Carroll County ask for is to be safe and respected. Every single person has a gender identity — an innate sense of which gender you are, whether it be masculine, feminine or nonbinary. If you don’t genuinely understand the concept of gender identity, please educate yourself and join the rest of Maryland, and the rest of the nation, in moving human rights forward in the 21st century. Better yet, directly contact PFLAG Westminster-Carroll County (Parents, Families, and Friends uniting with LGBTQ+ people to move equality forward)! All of us will be happy to help anyone learn more.

At the end of the day, the main point everyone needs to understand is that transgender people in Carroll County want to do the same things in the bathroom that cisgender people want to do: we just want to pee!

Lane Cogdill

New Windsor
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Join us for this open discussion about a topic that is far too often overlooked, even in LGBTQ+ spaces: bisexuality!

Lane and Kay will be leading a presentation with open discussion about bisexuality, including misconceptions, how it relates to other sexual orientations, health issues faced by bisexual people, and more. Lane and Kay will welcome any question that anyone wants to ask, and will be speaking from personal experience as pansexual and bisexual people, as well as from Lane’s professional experience as a sex educator.

Bisexuality 101Please join us with an open mind, and bring your friends!

Sunday May 15, 2016
at 5:00 p.m
Location: St. Paul’s UCC
• 17 Bond Street
• Westminster, Maryland 21157

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This Petition is important for those who care about the quality of our children’s education.
Adequate funding of our Carroll County Schools is critical.

There’s not much time…. Signed Petitions need to be returned by April 18th!

Here’s the link to where you can find information and link to a form you can print sign…
http://carrollvalueseducation.com/petition-to-the-commissioners/

The printed and signed form is preferred. But it can also be submitted online if necessary.

Please ask as many of your Carroll County neighbors and friends as you are able.

Thanks!

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The featured speaker for the PFLAG April 17 Community Meeting will be Mr. Robert Rigby who has been a prime mover and shaker in the Fairfax County, Virginia, public schools and has helped bring about rather significant changes there relative to LGBTQ concerns.  The meeting will focus on reforming school systems at multiple levels and include conversation about what we might do in Carroll County.
The meeting will be held in the Fellowship Hall at St. Paul’s United Church of Christ, 17 Bond Street, Westminster, and will begin at 5:00pm.
All are welcome!  Please join us if you are interested and able.
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***RECONCILING BEING QUEER and HAVING FAITH***

Interfaith ImageLed by Rev. Dr. Marty Kuchma of St. Paul’s United Church of Christ, we will have a discussion about the intersection of faith, gender, and sexuality.
Many queer people struggle with how to reconcile their faith with their gender identity and/or sexual orientation, because society tells us there is no place in faith communities for queer people.
We will discuss the ways different faiths accept queer people in an open, interfaith conversation.
All are welcome.

On Sunday MARCH 20 at 5 p.m.
The Location is our regular PFLAG meeting place:
St. Paul’s United Church of Christ at the corner of Bond and Green Street
in Westminster, MD 21157.
Got  Questions?  Call 410-861-0488…Leave a message. We’ll get back to you.  Or email :  PFLAGwcc@gmail.com
Everyone is Welcome and encouraged to attend.

PFLAG is the extended family of the LGBTQ+ community.
We’re made up of LGBTQ+ individuals, family members, and allies.
Because together, we’re stronger !

Here is a small sampling of  links that can be found on the internet relevant to the subject of LGBTQ+ & Faith:

AFFIRMING CHRISTIAN DENOMINATIONS

gaychurch.orgPublishes a comprehensive Unofficial list of Christian denominations and denominational welcoming church programs around the world .
You can find additional resources on Wikipedia at LGBT-affirming Christian Denominations and Christian Denominational Positions on Homosexuality.

The Pew Research Center also has good information available on their website.

JEWISH:
http://www.jewishlgbtnetwork.com/

http://www.marylandhillel.org/studentlife/student-groups/jewish-lgbt/

JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES:
A Common Bond for ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses:  http://gayxjw.org/

HINDU:
http://www.hrc.org/resources/stances-of-faiths-on-lgbt-issues-hinduism

http://www.hafsite.org/media/pr/haf-policy-brief-hinduism-and-homosexuality?gclid=CjwKEAjw8bO3BRDp0bP_vL-7_lASJACL_d6w1JjCtto_I7pNZksGoj3aHY7ZTgQQ3VKZi3-VwYttzxoCC9Lw_wcB

(See their Directory of GLBT  Organizations)

 

 


 

 

 

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