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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The Eldersburg Library will be holding a FREE event on Sunday, August 7, 2016 at 2:00 PM with author Kim van Alkemade! Kim is the author of the historical fiction novel Orphan #8 (William Morrow August 4, 2015). Her creative nonfiction essays have appeared in literary journals including Alaska Quarterly Review, CutBank, and So To Speak. Book Orphan # 8She spent eight years researching and writing Orphan #8. Many of the characters and events in Orphan #8 were inspired by her family history. Books will be available for purchase and signing. Some of the themes within the book include Jewish Orphanages in the 1930s, medical ethics, and societal views of early 20th century women and lesbianism. Registration is free and open now at this link. See you there!
Carroll County Public Library
library.carr.org|By CCPL IT Dept

Annual  Pot Luck BBQ — August 215:00 pm at St. Paul’s United Church of Christ,  Corner of Bond & Green Sts.,  Westminster, MD 21157

PFLAG Westminster-Carroll County’s August meeting will be our Annual Pot Luck Barbecue!  Everyone is invited!  The more the merrier!!  Rain or shine!
Judy - 2004We are asking our community to join us by bringing something that they would like to BBQ (hot dogs, chicken, hamburgers, veggie burgers, etc.) and also bring a dish to share. PFLAG will be supplying paper products, ketchup, mustard and drinks.

The picnic will take place at St. Paul’s United Church of Christ in the grassy area  outside next to the parking lot.  In case of Rain, we’ll bring our picnic inside.
There will be a grill to cook on. We want everyone to come out and grill their favorites with us and celebrate the end of summer.

We hope  that everyone will also consider bringing  a school supply that we will donate in the name of PFLAG to Shepherd Staff, a non-profit that helps low income families in Carroll County.


Pride Festival 2016

Sunday, July 24, 2016 —  10 AM to 6 PM

Druid Hill Park in northwest Baltimore
Rain or Shine


To view a map of the 2016 Pride Festival, please click here:  Festival Map

PFLAG’s assigned space  is ‘D54’

We hope you’ll stop by at our PFLAG TABLE to say “Hello”!)

The Pride festival is held in beautiful Druid Hill Park. This year’s Baltimore Pride Festival features many regional and local performers, vendors, the Lady Lisa Memorial Drag Stage, a Family Zone, and plenty of fun for the whole community to enjoy. An estimated 5,000 celebrants come out on Sunday for the fun and festivities.

Click here for directions & Parking information :  Getting to Pride

Note that Baltimore City runs a paid parking area next to where the Pride Festival occurs.
Plus on street parking can usually be found without problems.



PFLAG chapters from all around the area will be walking together in the  annual
Baltimore Pride Parade.

We’ve been instructed to try to be lined up and ready to go by 1:30 p.m.  Parade kicks off at 2:00 p.m.
PFLAG line-up position is #4 in Group B.
Look for the PFLAG contingent on the west side of Charles Street near the corner of W.Madison St..  This is near a grassy area on the north side of the Washington Monument.
PFLAG marches behind ‘Baltimore Youth Pride’ and in front of ‘Delegate Mary Washington’.
Click here to see a map of lineup area.

   Bring Signs if you like!  Wear your message shirt, if you like!
Don’t forget to bring water & sunscreen.

The route is certainly not arduous .. just a few blocks long.  The Parade kicks off at the corners of Madison and Cathedral streets in Mount Vernon, and travels north on Charles to Chase Street.

Following the parade, from 4:00 – 10 p.m.,  fun will be had by thousands at the 2016 Baltimore Pride Block Party on Eager Street. The streets of Mount Vernon will be transformed into a “nightclub without walls”!

Block Party

NEW THIS YEAR:  A special Youth Pride will take place on Read Street!!
(Just one block south of  adult Block Party)

Here’s a Map of the area where parade and Block Parties will take place:





Westminster 2011 Fallfest 5



We hope you’ll join us on Saturday July 23rd  as we March in the Parade.
And please stop by to visit our booth at the Pride Festival in Druid Hill Park on Sunday July 24th





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.


Interfaith Vigil for Orlando (2)-1


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…”

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.”


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



REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN for the 3rd annual


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!




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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