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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Dear PFLAG Members,

You probably already know that Pence, who advocates anti-LGBTconversion “therapy,” is renting a house in Chevy Chase, Maryland, until January 20, and that a number of neighbors are flying rainbow flags in protest of his homophobic statements and policies.  They gave a rainbow flag to the local elementary school, which at first flew it and then, shamefully, removed it.  The principal said that the school sought to be inclusive but that she had decided that it was “too political” for the school to fly the flag– and show publicly to the community that children who might identify as LGBT should feel safe there.  This is the first instance I know of of what may be a wave of new anti-LGBT McCarthyism.

I sent the attached message to the principal.  I would be very grateful if you would circulate it as widely as possible.

Thank you for all the wonderful efforts you have made for so long to help LGBT children and families.  In the LGBT Studies courses that I taught at Hobart and William Smith Colleges from 1992 to 2013 I always made it a point to discuss PFLAG’s contribution to equality for LGBT people.

With gratitude,


Eric Patterson
Prof. Emeritus
American Cultural Studies
Co-founder, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Studies,
Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Geneva, New York 14456

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: “eric patterson”
Date: Dec 10, 2016 2:54 PM
To: <carrie.broquard@dc.gov>

Principal Carrie Broquard, Ph.D.
Lafayette Elementary School
5701 Broad Branch Rd.
N.W. Washington, D.C. 20015

Dr. Broquard:

How very sad it is that you do not have the courage to continue to display the rainbow flag at your school to indicate to the public that it is a safe space for children who may be beginning to realize that they have same-sex feelings or gender difference.  Such children are a minority and are profoundly vulnerable to psychologically damaging homophobic abuse, and they undoubtedly are present in your school.  You have failed in the most public and damaging way possible to show that you will defend their interests and identities.

Displaying the flag also is an important part of teaching children (and all members of a community) who have majority orientations and identities to practice acceptance of diversity, respect for different identities, and inclusion rather than exclusion.  You have failed them as well, by being afraid to stand up against the horrifying homophobic bigotry of Pence and the many other haters of LGBT people that Trump is trying to give power in his cabinet.  Even if you claim to teach acceptance within your school, you now have sent a powerful message to everyone in your community, and everyone in the nation, that your commitment to them is limited by fear, that you are afraid to stand up publicly in your community for LGBT-identifying children against powerful leaders whose goal is to force them to “convert” to heterosexuality and gender “normativity.”

Professional psychological organizations have made it clear that the kind of “conversion therapy” promoted by Pence is a dangerous form of abuse and is highly damaging, especially to vulnerable young people.  Read the critical professional evaluations of this so-called “therapy”– it is a form of torture, whose intent is to eliminate LGBT people as individuals and as a group.  LGBT people are everywhere in our society, and as citizens they deserve equality and respect, as Justice Kennedy recognized in the Obergefell Decision, despite “religious” bigots who would impose their prejudices on our entire society and attempt to destroy LGBT people through “conversion.”  Despite what Pence may say or do, the United States still is a secular democracy, not a fundamentalist theocracy.

There is no law against displaying the rainbow flag at a public school– YET.  I have little doubt that passing such a law is on the agenda of homophobic bigots like Pence, and that your removal of the flag, whether you are aware of it or not, is a first step toward their goal of reducing LGBT people again to silence, invisibility, shame, and fear.  If this country were about to be led by men who advocated the forced conversion of Jews to Christianity, would you refuse to fly a Star of David flag to show that Jewish children were safe at your school?  Or would defending them from anti-Semitic abuse also be “too political”?  Many “good Germans” thought exactly that, and enabled the Nazis in committing the Holocaust.

Drawing such a parallel probably seems unjustifiable to you, but I ask you to reflect on the silent holocaust that goes on every day in this country, in which vast numbers of LGBT-identifying  children and adolescents are harassed, at home and at school, many to the point of suicide.  Read the many sociological analyses of homeless adolescents, and learn what a large proportion are LGBT-identifying and have been driven out of their homes by hostile families, often turning to drugs and prostitution to cope and survive, and often dying horrible premature deaths.  That also is a holocaust.

I pity the vulnerable children in your school and community who may be harrassed, intimidated, shamed, and even physically harmed by others, particularly now that everyone knows that you removed the flag out of fear of Pence and Trump.  That sends a clear, chilling message that LGBT people don’t matter, that your school is NOT a safe space despite what you may claim you teach there, and that you and other educators there will not really protect them.  The message is simple and brutal: Trump and Pence are in power, and we are afraid to publicly defend you.  I hope that the decent people in Chevy Chase who have had the courage to display rainbow flags on homes near the house that Pence is renting until January 20th will speak up even more now that you have failed their children.  Fearful, selfish acts of self-protection by those in positions of responsibility, such as educators, who avoid speaking up in defense of the vulnerable groups who have been targeted and attacked by men like Trump and Pence, is precisely the way repression of human rights begins.  I hope that throughout our country LGBT educators (and real allies, as opposed to cowards like you) can learn about your failure to defend the children in your care, and use this shameful example as a reason to display rainbow flags at as many schools around the country as possible.

When more vulnerable children are insulted, beaten, and driven to suicide by the homophobic bigotry that has been empowered by the Trump/Pence “election”, as they undoubtedly will be, their blood also will be on the hands of cowards like you.


Eric Patterson
Prof. Emeritus
American Cultural Studies
Co-founder, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Studies
Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Geneva, New York 14456



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