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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PFLAG  is a national non-profit organization made up of parents, families, friends, and allies uniting with people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ). PFLAG is committed to advancing equality through its mission of support, education and advocacy. PFLAG  has more than 350 chapters and 200,000 members and supporters crossing multiple generations of American families in major urban centers, small cities, and rural areas in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.  This vast grassroots network is cultivated, resourced and supported by the PFLAG National Office (located in Washington, D.C.), the national Board of Directors the Regional Directors Council, and our many advisory councils and boards.PFLAG is a nonprofit organization not affiliated with any political or religious organization.  PFLAG has an excellent national website where you can find out more about the national organization and it’s resources.

PFLAG meetings here in Westminster are free and open to  everyone.

We provide a safe and confidential space for everyone. You are invited if you are  gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning.  You are especially welcome if you are an Ally.  Our PFLAG family is made up of all ages, sexual orientations, and gender identities.  We don’t just celebrate diversity in our chapter…we are diversity!

New parents are welcomed to meet separately w/another parent for a confidential discussion,  if so desired. Our parents share  active Parent Forum together with the Columbia – Howard County chapter.  Parents’ Forum is exclusively for Parents and Caregivers of GLBT children of any age &  meets regularly on the 3rd Monday of each month.  For more information, contact Judy Gaver – judygaver@hotmail.com, 410-848-5705  or June Horner – junehorner@gmail.com, 410-795-2418.

St. Paul's United Church of Christ, 17 Bond (at Green), Westminster, MD

St. Paul’s United Church of Christ, 17 Bond (at Green), Westminster, MD

Regular monthly Meetings are held on the third Sunday of each month (with the exception of June) at St. Paul’s United Church of Christ, 17 Bond (at Green Street), Westminster, MD.  See what PFLAG meetings are like.

For additional information please contact us at 410-861-0488 or email info@pflagwcc.org.

PFLAG Mission Statement

To promote the health and well-being of gay, lesbian, bisexual ,transgendered queer and sexual/gender expansive 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

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

Our Chapter Mission Statement

The mission of PFLAG Westminster-Carroll County is to welcome all people, gay, straight, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning and their families, friends, and allies. Together, we support each other, educate the broader community, and advocate for equality.

Frequently Asked Questions about PFLAG

Do I have to make an appointment or let someone know that I am coming?

No. You can simply attend the meeting at St. Paul’s United Church of Christ here in Westminster. If you wish, you are welcome to contact our helpline at 410-861-0488 and leave a message and someone will respond to your inquiry.

Who can come to a meeting?

Anyone and everyone, including friends, come for different reasons. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, “queer” or questioning persons (LGBTQ) and their family members may first come to a PFLAG meeting because they are dealing with personal issues and need support, resources or a listening ear. Sometimes LGBTQ persons and family members attend to support other parents adjusting to the news that their child is LGBTQ. Transgender persons or their family members may have somewhat different issues, but whoever needs support and greater understanding about gender identity or expression and sexual orientation is welcome. Straight persons who consider themselves allies and care about fairness for LGBTQ’s are warmly welcomed.

There is a support for spouses of LGBTQ persons whose needs are often different through contacts on the National PFLAG website. They need help with personal issues that have permanently changed their family life.

Straight persons come to meetings because they simply want to help the LGBTQ rights movement or they want to help a friend who is LGBTQ or they are curious about how to handle LGBTQ issues that face today’s society. Some people attend PFLAG just to learn how to stand up for the rights of LGBTQ persons or just because they are curious about doing more to support LGBTQ persons. There are many different types of people who come and all are welcome. You always have a home in PFLAG. You can count on it.

Who attends these meetings?

People come from various backgrounds, occupations, and different age groups.

Many, but not all, have gone through similar experiences of struggling about being LGBTQ or a parent or family member of an LGBTQ loved one. Some 48% of our chapter members are LGBTQ and 52% are family or friends. Although people may first come to PFLAG to share personal stories, most of our members say that the educational programming is what brings them back to meetings. Others come to PFLAG to become activists to work for equality, safety and fairness for LGBTQ persons.

Do I need a reason to attend a PFLAG meeting?

No. You do not have to have a pressing crisis or have to be associated with anyone in the gay community. You can simply come. We welcome allies who may not be LGBTQ or have a family member who is, but they believe in social justice and want to act on that value.

What usually takes place at a meeting?

Confidentiality is stressed at PFLAG chapter meetings  Whatever is shared in meetings is expected to be held in strictest confidence. Our meeting programs are open all. We are always available for a breakaway support group should an attendee express a need. Simple refreshments are served. We share announcements of upcoming events, followed by a program which may be a panel, a guest speaker, a film or other means to address a variety of LGBTQ topics. Programs are followed by time for discussion and questions.

I am really not comfortable with large groups. Is there any way I can meet PFLAG members without having to go to meetings?

If you prefer a private meeting with someone who has been through a similar situation, you can contact our PFLAG helpline and request to meet for “coffee and conversation,” someone from PFLAG who can listen to you and offer empathic support. We would be happy to arrange this for you. Also, people have brought their friend or someone else they trust to accompany them to a PFLAG meeting. We welcome anyone who walks through the PFLAG door.

What do people talk about at meetings?

PFLAG members talk about all sorts of topics. Some share the news that their LGBTQ child has told other members of their family of his/her sexuality or gender variance and we all celebrate that courage to be honest about who he/she is. Some members talk about the struggles their spouse or other relatives have with accepting their LGBTQ child. Some members talk about how difficult it is to hear gay jokes. Some members talk about a news story or a political event that was unfavorable to gays and we gather information to educate ourselves about current LGBTQ events.

Does PFLAG have ties to religion?

PFLAG is a non-sectarian organization. There is no connection between PFLAG and any particular faith. However, we realize that religion plays an important role in determining attitudes toward LGBTQ persons. We are also aware that welcoming faith communities play an important role in changing anti-gay attitudes in society and supporting LGBTQs and their families, so we work to improve their knowledge and understanding.

People from different religious backgrounds or none at all come to PFLAG meetings. Some of us are affiliated as individuals with our local congregations and some of us had to struggle with being affiliated with a church or temple that rejects LGBTQs. Some of us have left any faith community and choose to think of ourselves as “spiritual but not religious.” PFLAG makes no judgment about anyone’s personal decision concerning their faith or non-faith beliefs. Even though our chapter meets at St. Paul’s United Church of Christ, we are not affiliated with that or any other church or temple. St. Paul’s is an Open and Affirming Congregation which means they welcome LGBTQ persons into full participation. They have been instrumental in supporting the local Westminster PFLAG chapter.

One myth I have heard about PFLAG meetings is that they consist of mothers who sob about their child being gay. Is this true?

Although we do make sure we take time to support those who are experiencing struggles, we also take time to celebrate our loved ones. Sometimes tears are a first step in the process of moving toward acceptance. There is usually a process for parents and family members similar to Kubler-Ross’s “death and dying” steps. Parents who never anticipated their child could be gay are first shocked and in denial, followed by sadness and blame. They can choose to stay stuck there or move to expand their understanding by learning more about what it means to be gay. Once on that path, they move to acceptance and eventually can even discover pride and move into advocacy. Some parents move immediately into actively working to make our society more accepting.

Another myth is that all PFLAG Moms and Dads march in Pride Parades. Must they?

Marching in the annual Gay Pride Parade is a form of advocacy for our LGBTQ loved ones. We think of marching as an act of unconditional love. That’s why PFLAG gets such love in return. It can be a really gratifying experience because PFLAG always gets the most applause and heartfelt cries of “thank you” from appreciative crowds. But not everyone is ready to be “out” in a public way and that’s all right. Those who march have reached a place of acceptance and pride in being gay or having a gay family member. Marching isn’t just for family members. Anyone is welcome to walk with PFLAG at this favorite annual event, but it is not mandatory. Others prefer to express their activism by lobbying legislators or speaking out to stop harassment at school or discrimination in the work place or community.

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