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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Read this touching  account of a Mother’s First experience of marching in a Capital Pride Parade.

Rock Star Mom           June 2013

My head is still spinning from being in my first Capital Pride Parade.  My friends at PFLAG had told me it would be amazing, but some things have to be experienced to be understood.  How do you explain?   Let me try.

The other parents at PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) were already waiting at the parade assembly kick off location.  We tried to find a bit of shade and sip water while we waited to be called.  Those of us that had not arrived with pre-made signs were asked to help carry the association banner.  There I was, right up front.   I felt honored.

Preoccupied with the heat, sun, and thirst, I watched the participants ahead of us as they joined in the parade.  Then it was our turn.  Here we go.  Hold the sign, smile, wave.

What hit me first was the size of the crowds gathered along the parade route.  The spectators packed and overflowed the sidewalks into the street, in a seemingly never ending stretch to infinity. One and one-half miles of humanity.   Young and old, all shapes and sizes, ethnicities, boys and girls. Everyone is someone’s son, someone’s daughter.

The roar of the crowd was deafening and unexpected.  I felt like a rock star.  Cheering, shouting, yelling, and even chanting:  PFLAG! PFLAG! PFLAG!  Cheering- – for us.  Us?  We’re an odd assortment of mostly middle-aged parents carrying our homemade signs.  We represent the love that should be there but often isn’t.  You can tell by the tears in the crowd.  Crying? Yes.  Young and old.  Boys, girls, men, women.


The tears ripped my heart as a mom.  I wanted to run to each of them and embrace them, tell them I loved them, and that everything would be okay.  I wanted to take each one home, cook their favorite dinner, bake them cookies, and ask them about their day.

Through the deafening roar, I sometimes thought I could hear someone call out “Mom! Mom!”   How could anyone hear one voice in this crowd?  Was I imagining it? I started to look for the one face that I wanted to see – could I find it in this massive throng?  I scanned the faces and saw sweet, lovely young people, and focused on them.

There was a water stop mid-way through the parade that was a welcome relief.  As I reached for a cup of cool water, I was grabbed in a hefty, sweaty embrace.  Startled, I looked up.  “I love you, Mom” my son said.  “I love you, too, Sweetie,” I replied, kissing him quickly on the cheek, before he disappeared into the crowd again.

Suddenly recharged, we continued onward.  I’ve decided, though, that next year I won’t be carrying the banner.  I want to be in charge of hugs.


Patricia Chao

PFLAG Howard County MD


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