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
Subject: OPEN LETTER TO PRINCIPAL CARRIE BROQUARD RE: REMOVAL OF RAINBOW FLAG AT CHEVY CHASE’S LAFAYETTE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL DUE TO FEAR OF NEIGHBOR, HOMOPHOBIC VP-ELECT PENCE, ADVOCATE OF LGBT CONVERSION “THERAPY” (TORTURE.)
To: <carrie.broquard@dc.gov>
Cc:

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.

Sincerely,

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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This Sunday – December 18th !!!

Come join PFLAG as we have a meeting devoted to giving and receiving gentle support during this busy
and often stressful time of year.

5:00 p.m. at  St. Pauls UCC .. corner of Bond and Green Street, Westminster 21157 Got Questions?  Call or email Judy at 410-848-5705 or judygaver@hotmail.com

Cookies & warm drinks will be provided ……Bring some cookies to share if you like! ….

=

 

 

 

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Please join with PFLAG Westminster-Carroll County’s friends and family as we gather together to enjoy our annual Holiday Concert and Potluck Dinner on Sunday November 20th from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall at St. Paul’s UCC (corner of Bond & Green Streets), Westminster, MD 21157
We hope that you will be able to bring a dish to share. The chapter will supply drinks and paper products.
NEW THIS YEAR:  We are looking forward to entertainment by musician,Georgie Jessup. 

georgie-jessupGeorgie Jessup’s songwriting is influenced by everything from old school country to Memphis R&B, placing her music firmly in the “cosmic” Americana Music genre. Her lyrics reflect her outspoken advocacy for animal rights, Native American issues, transgender rights and environmental sanity. The subject of an award winning documentary film, “Woman in A Man’s Suit,” Georgie also has four, well received, CDs available.

“Georgie sings from the heart, like a rare flower in a wilderness,” says blues diva Candye Kane. “She speaks to us about the deepest issues. Issues that all of us should care about, but so many of us pretend don’t affect us.
”She reminds us that we are all related in our human condition and struggle. And Georgie reinforces that we are all trapped by gender and physical being, and that the brightest life and light we have is our soul.” ..Candye Kane -r&b/blues singer/songwriter,   Sire Records, Rounder Records, Ruf Records
Visit her website to see more about Georgie: http://www.georgiejessup.com

 Georgie sings from the heart, like a rare flower in a wilderness. She speaks to us about the deepest issues. Issues that all of us should care about, but so many of us pretend don’t affect us.

We hope you’ll stay with us after our Thanksgiving Potluck for  a short Transgender Day of Remembrance ceremony at 7:00 p.m.

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trans-flie2-2016

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You’re invited to a Special Free Event.

SONS OF  BALDWIN –  Spoken Word Poetry

When:   Thursday NOV. 3 , 2016   from 7:00-8:30PM
Location: Carroll Community College — in the theater

1601 Washington Rd, Westminster, Maryland 2115

sons-of-baldwin

PRESENTED BY:

The Alliance Club  

Maryland State Education Association

PFLAG Westminster/Carroll County

 

 

 

The Sons of Baldwin is a spoken word group made up of black men who love black men.
They are dedicated to using art to support positive social change.  sons-of-baldwin-2

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The Westminster Fallfest parade kicks off at 7 pm – meeting lineup time is 6:30 pm on Monroe Street by West Middle School.

PFLAG’s position in the parade is #38, directly in front of  St Paul’s United Church of Christ which is # 39.

We are permitted to hand out items, but we may not throw anything. Bring your signs.  Bring your enthusiasm.  Weather forecast is good.  We hope to once again  be able to have a good turnout of PFLAG marchers.  

If you have questions  here are 2 cell phone #s you can call:  
443-244-2477   or  410-599-4610. 

(Please note that the Parade begins at West Middle School, 60 Monroe Street and ends at East Middle School, 121 Longwell Avenue. Be mindful that it is a long walk back to West Middle – suggest you find a “buddy” to carpool with – with one parking at the beginning and another parking at the end!)

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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
 
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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.

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Pride Festival 2016

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

Druid Hill Park in northwest Baltimore
Rain or Shine

Festival

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.

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