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PFLAG Westminster – Carroll County, Maryland Chapter

Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays - Moving Equality Forward
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Valentine’s Dance in Westminster Highlights Progress

Written by  Steve Charing

Photo by Steve Charing

Photo by Steve Charing

Those attending the PFLAG-Westminster/Carroll County Valentine’s dance on a frigid February 15 felt a warm sense of accomplishment while enjoying the music, decorations, refreshments, and prizes. For the second year in a row, the chapter was successful in requesting the public school system in Westminster to display fliers from the event throughout the middle and high schools in the city.

While this may not be viewed by some as a significant breakthrough, consider that Carroll County is among the more socially conservative jurisdictions in Maryland. For instance, the state upheld same-sex marriage in a referendum in 2012 by a 52-48 percent margin; Carroll County voters opposed it by 56 to 44 percent

The flier provided information about the dance and advertises that both LGBTQ and straight allies are invited to attend. At PFLAG’s request, Carey Gaddis, supervisor of community and media relations in the Carroll County Public Schools system, asked the schools in an email to allow the flier to be displayed.

“The e-mail was sent to principals in middle and high schools and was very nice and supportive and basically directed the schools to allow these fliers to be left for distribution,” Joy Fisher, the chapter’s new president, told Baltimore OUTloud.

“I think this is going to be a good year with the school board. There seems to be many allies in the group. This will be a slow and steady movement, but it is definitely a positive movement and it feels like we finally may have some folks who really hear us and understand the importance and need to support our LGBT children in the school system,” Fisher says.

The event was co-sponsored by the Westminster PFLAG chapter, the Rainbow Book Club and St. Paul’s United Church of Christ.


YOU’RE INVITED !!!

PFLAGValentine's Flier2015 Westminster – Carroll County invites you to our annual Valentine’s Dance on Sunday Feb 15, 2015 5pm-9pm

at St. Paul’s United Church of Christ, 17 W. Green St., Westminster, MD 21157

Door prizes! Dancing! Snacks!

Everyone is welcome. All ages welcome.

 

Hope to see you there!

Baltimore, Baseball and Gay Love—’Queen Henry’ Touches all the Bases

Linda Fausnet , author of recently published novel ‘Queen Henry’  will be  guest speaker at PFLAG Community Meeting on Sunday, January 18 at 5 p.m at St. Paul’s United Church of Christ (Corner of Bond & Green Sts. in Westminster)

QUEEN HENRYLinda is a stalwart LGBT ally who resides in Westminster

Her novel, Queen Henry, tells the fictional story of a homophobic baseball player for the Baltimore Orioles who takes a drug for asthma treatment that mysteriously leads him to be gay.
It provides the hero with an opportunity to see how it is to be gay where he finds love but must endure homophobia.

Click here to read  review of Queen Henry in Baltimore OUTloud  !

All proceeds from the book go to the Harvey Milk Foundation.

Ms. Fausnet is a lifetime Orioles fan, owns a publishing company Wannabe Pride and is married with two children.

About PFLAG Westminster-Carroll County:

PFLAG promotes the health and well being of gay, lesbian, and bisexual persons, their families and friends through:
Support – to cope with an adverse society
Education – to enlighten an ill-informed public
Advocacy – to end discrimination and to secure equal civil rights

Everyone is Welcome and Encouraged to Attend !

Sunday!!!  Come join PFLAG and we have a holiday meeting to give and receive support during this busy time of year.

PFLAG Westminster-Carroll County will be hosting  it’s annual Holiday Potluck Dinner on Sunday November 16 at 5 PM in the Fellowship Hall at St. Paul’s UCC (corner of Bond & Green Streets)
Guests are asked to bring a dish to share. The chapter will supply drinks and paper products.

New Wave Singers2

We are especially excited to once again be welcoming the New Wave Singers of Baltimore .  Their performance  will take place at 5:30 p.m.

Also, at this time of year, we would like to do a glove, hat and mittens drive for those who are in need. If you would be so kind, please bring a item that will help keep someone warm this winter.

 

We look forward to seeing everyone on Sunday!!

If you have questions, call us at 410-861-0488 or email us at info@pflagwcc.org,

PFLAG community meetings are free and we welcome everyone

Transgender Day of Remembrance

    PLEASE

    JOIN  with PFLAG

    ST. PAUL’S UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST

    CEDARHURST UNITARIAN UNIVERSALISTS

 

 

 

 For a brief service of music, readings, and candle lighting

This is an opportunity our community to come together and mark the passing of transgender and gender-variant individuals – or those perceived to be transgender – who have been murdered because of hatred. Refreshments will be served.

NOVEMBER 20th

7:00 P.M.

St. Paul’s United Church of Christ

17 Bond Street

Westminster, Maryland 21157

 

 

minister@cedarhurstuu.org socialjustice@cedarhurstu.org

The chapter will be presenting a free special documentary film,

Pride: The Westminster PFLAG Story

by Jennifer Bock,  a McDaniel College graduate.

DSCN2152The film discusses how the chapter provides support to LGBTQ individuals and family members.    It specifically shares the  personal story of Carroll County resident Naomi Keppler .
Both Bock and Keppler will appear on a panel following the film.

In addition, a representative from the FreeState Legal Project, a Baltimore-based non-profit that provides legal services to low income LGBTQ individuals, will be on hand to answer questions.

Light refreshments will be served.
All are welcome and encouraged to attend.

PFLAG promotes the health and well being of gay, lesbian, bisexual ,transgender & gender nonconforming people and their families and friends through:

Support – to cope with an adverse society

Education – to enlighten an ill-informed public

Advocacy – to end discrimination and to secure equal civil rights

PFLAG provides opportunity for dialogue about sexual orientation & gender identity and acts to create a society that is healthy and respectful of human diversity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Families, allies gather in safe haven for LGBT community

Carroll County’s PFLAG chapter gathers Sunday for food, fellowship

Published in Carroll County Times, Monday August 18, 2014PFLAG

2014-08 PFLAG BBQ 1

 

June Horner, left, Jennifer Bock, center, and Krista Regester share a laugh as Sunday’s Westminster-Carroll County PFLAG Annual BBQ wraps up at St. Paul’s United Church of Christ in Westminster August 17, 2014. (DYLAN SLAGLESTAFF PHOTO, Baltimore Sun Media Group / August 17, 2014)

By Heather Cobun, Times Staff Writer

11:28 p.m. EDT, August 17, 2014

June Horner was attending Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) meetings for more than six months before she got the courage to ask her son if he was gay.

It was 1984, and when she began suspecting her son was homosexual, Horner said she didn’t know who to turn to for advice.

“I didn’t know what to do,” she said. “I couldn’t think who to ask.”

She worried that if she asked her son, she would lose him. She worried that if she asked friends, they would judge. She worried that if she asked her minister, he would tell her that her son was doing something evil.

“I did know that my son was a wonderful son,” she said. “That he was kind and moral and scrupulously honest.”

Horner said she found out about what she termed a “gay bookstore,” got the phone number for someone with a PFLAG chapter in Silver Spring and attended a meeting.

“That was better than a psychiatrist,” she said. “It was my salvation.”

PFLAG officially formed in 1982 in California as a community of “safe havens” for parents with gay and lesbian children, according to the national organization’s website.

Sunday, members of the Carroll County PFLAG chapter gathered at St. Paul’s United Church of Christ in Westminster for their annual potluck barbecue to socialize with each other and discuss upcoming events.

Westminster resident Sarah Middleton said she attended her first PFLAG meeting in November.

“As soon as I came out of the closet, I realized I should probably have this inclusive environment,” she said.

Middleton brought her mother, Brenda Middleton, to the barbecue Sunday. It was her first PFLAG event.

“She loves it,” Brenda Middleton said. “Whatever makes her happy makes me happy.”

Before her daughter came out, Brenda Middleton said she did not know there was a PFLAG chapter in Westminster, even though she had lived in the community her entire life.

The Carroll County chapter took a few tries to get off the ground, but finally coalesced in 2011 after the bullying of gay youth gained national attention, according to steering committee member Judy Gaver. St. Paul’s agreed to host meetings and events for the group.

Gaver’s son came out when he was in college in 2001, and she found a PFLAG meeting in Columbia in Howard County because there was nothing in her hometown of Westminster.

“I struggled in the beginning,” she said. “All I knew was the negative stereotypes. It was easy for me to be around other people who were going through what I did.”

At the time, the AIDS crisis was not as big a concern as it had been in the 1980s in the gay community, Gaver said, but the murder of Matthew Shepard, a young gay man, was on her mind.

“Here was my kid in Carroll County,” she said, adding that she made it her goal to see that her son felt supported.

“It didn’t stop me from loving him,” she said. “I knew that I still loved him. I knew that God still loved him.”

Now, with more than a decade of PFLAG membership, Gaver said that she is seeing a great deal of progress.

“It’s been my salvation,” Gaver said. “I wasn’t always the cool PFLAG mom.”

At her first meeting, Horner said she was relieved to meet not only other parents sharing her experience, but also members of the gay and lesbian community who reminded her of her son.

“They had some pretty sad stories in 1984,” she said.

Horner said things have changed drastically in her 30 years as a PFLAG member, including Maryland becoming one of an increasing number of states to permit same-sex marriage.

“Things have gotten much better,” she said.

Horner and Gaver are both members of the Carroll County PFLAG steering committee and assisted in getting it started.

McDaniel graduate Jennifer Bock wanted to tell the story of Carroll County’s PFLAG chapter, so she made them the subject of her capstone film project for the cinema program.

“If you’re really going to go out there and make a difference through film, you really have to pick something that’s important to someone besides yourself,” she said.

Bock said the challenge in making her 20-minute documentary was finding room for all of the voices involved, including those who oppose homosexuality and same-sex marriage.

“It was hard,” she said. “So many people have so many different, emotional stories.”

PFLAG steering committee member Naomi Keppler was featured in the documentary along with her girlfriend, Krista Regester.

Keppler said she and Regester met with Bock and just talked on camera for hours about the organization and their personal stories.

“It was really Jen’s baby,” she said. “I think she did a good job.”

The film will be screened at the next meeting of Carroll County PFLAG on Sept. 21 at 5 p.m. at St. Paul’s, according to vice president Joy Fisher.

Also in September, the organization will march in Westminster’s Fallfest parade.

“Despite it being Westminster, we do have a great deal of support,” Fisher said.

Reach staff writer Heather Cobun at 410-857-7898 or email heather.cobun@carrollcountytimes.com.

Copyright © 2014, Carroll County Times

 

Please Join PFLAG at our 3rd Sunday Monthly gathering for a FREE screening
of a  touching, highly acclaimed new film entitled ‘Bridegroom’.
Pop Corn and Drinks will be provided.
Opportunity for discussion will follow the film viewing.
ALL ARE WELCOME.
Sunday July 20, 2014 at 5 PM
at St. Paul’s UCC, at the corner of Bond & Green Streets, Westminster, MD 21157

 

  • Bridegroom Documentary“Bridegroom” tells the emotional journey of Shane and Tom, two young men in a loving and committed relationship that was cut tragically short by a misstep off the side of a roof. The story of what happened after this accidental death- of how people without the legal protections of marriage can find themselves completely shut out and ostracized- is poignant, enraging and opens a window onto the issue of marriage equality and human rights like no speech or lecture ever will.    80 Minutes

 

For further information, contact June Horner – junehorner@gmail.com or 410-844-1442

First Fridays @ St. Paul’s, a safe space for lgbtq and allied youth, is celebrating the 4th of July by hosting a picnic and games for the residents of some local shelters. This First Fridays will be from 5-7 so everyone can go to the fireworks.
Photo: First Fridays @ St. Paul's, a safe space for lgbtq and allied youth, is celebrating the 4th of July by hosting a picnic and games for the residents of some local shelters. This First Fridays will be from 5-7 so everyone can go to the fireworks.

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