PFLAG acts to create a society that is healthy and respectful of human diversity.
We promote the health and well-being of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, as well as their families and friends.
Who We Are50 Years of Leading with Love
For fifty years, PFLAG has been where LGBTQ+ people, families, and allies have come together in pursuit of justice and affirmation—and always leading with love. What began as a letter led to a march, which launched a meeting and birthed a movement of millions. Since our earliest days, PFLAG has been the connector for LGBTQ+ people with community, parents with resources, and allies with tools, bolstering the LGBTQ+ movement with strength, power, and love.
Safe and Welcoming Schools
PFLAG supports federal, state and local laws and advocates for legislation, regulations and school district policies which mandate policies and practices that protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) students from bullying, including cyber bullying, harassment, and discrimination. In the absence of such laws, PFLAG strongly advises public and private school administrators to implement comprehensive, inclusive policies and practices to end bullying, harassment, and discrimination and create a healthy, safe and welcoming learning environment for all students.
PFLAG defines a family as two or more people with shared goals, values and commitment to each other and who when possible call the same dwelling home, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression and no matter its point of origin, whether by birth, adoption, fostering or chosen. PFLAG believes family support and acceptance are critical to the health and wellbeing of people who are LGBTQ. The number of same-sex couples who reported in the 2010 Census that they are raising children under the age of 18 is 646,464, and experts believe that the number increases annually and would increase if federal and state nondiscrimination laws for adoption and fostering were in effect both for prospective LGBTQ parents and for LGBTQ youth eligible for permanent homes. PFLAG supports the right of straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer individuals and couples to be parents, regardless of their marital status, through biological relationships and adoptive or foster relationships. PFLAG supports ensuring that LGBTQ families receive fair and equal consideration without discrimination when or whether considering or choosing birth, adoption or foster care settings.
PFLAG supports freedom to marry for couples, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, throughout the United States and the world. Marriage as a social institution confers rights and protections, both legal and practical. Among those federal and states rights are tax, inheritance and estate planning benefits; employment, disability and other public assistance; medical, death, family and housing benefits. The definition of marriage controls over 1,000 federal laws in which marital status is addressed. On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled on marriage equality. Justice Kennedy, in Obergefell, et al vs. Hodges, Director, Ohio Department of Health, et al, delivered the 26-page opinion, which states in part:
“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.
The judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is reversed. It is so ordered.”
PFLAG supports equal employment practices and employee benefits for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people. PFLAG supports federal, state and local employment laws that protect persons in public and private workplaces from discrimination based on their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. If workplace benefits are provided to opposite-sex married couples, these benefits should apply to same-sex married couples. Workplace benefits should include basic medical coverage, dependent care, retirement, and medically necessary care of LGBTQ individuals to protect all families’ financial and medical well-being. In 2015 and 2016, the EEOC ruled that gender identity and gender expression and sexual orientation, respectively, are protected in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 included in the definition of sex and sex stereotyping. In advance of passing comprehensive legal protections for LGBTQ employees and their families such as The Equality Act, PFLAG calls upon all employers to implement such measures proactively.
Howard County Library System’s Inequity Within report presents data and shows local history of racial inequity and its ongoing impact on education, health, housing, and criminal justice in Howard County and the state of Maryland.
This report provides an overview of racial equity across education, healthcare, housing, economic, and legal systems within Howard County, Maryland. As one of the wealthiest, healthiest and most diverse communities in the state and the US, the perception or belief that racial inequity does not exist here can be a hinderance to advancing issues of equity within the county.
This report demonstrates that even in a county where the majority of residents appear to be thriving, there are communities and subgroups that do not fully reap the benefits of residing here.
Click HERE to access the report!
Howard County LGBTQIA+ Commission Updates
In October 2022 the County Executive and the County Council voted to establish the LGBTQIA+ Commission to continue the much needed work of equity, inclusion, communication, understanding, and respect for all gender and sexual identities. The purpose of this Commission is to advance policy and systemic change for all persons who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgender, Queer, Non-binary, and who identify in other capacities along the LGBTQIA+ Spectrum. The Commission is made up of 17 voting members
The LGBTQIA+ Commission will meet on the 2nd Thursday bi-monthly at 6:30 p.m. at 9820 Patuxent Woods Dr., Columbia, MD 21046.
January 12, 2023 – Agenda | Minutes
March 9, 2023
May 11, 2023
July 13, 2023
September 14, 2023
November 9, 2023
Winter Walk and Talks
Join virtually or in person at the Howard County Conservancy to learn more from researchers and scientists who identify as being part of the LGBTQIA+ community and/or focus their research on topics that have an LGBTQIA+ focus. Queering Science will consist of a 25 minute virtual presentation followed by a 5 minute Q and A. Those participating in the face to face program will still experience the Queering Science program through a virtual visit, but will follow-up with a walk around the Howard County Conservancy grounds to talk about what they learned with their peers. Snacks will be provided. This program is for high school students who are part of or allies to the LGBTQIA+ community. REGISTER HERE.
Saturday, February 11, 2023 @ 10:00am
Jet Jama (they/them/he/she) – Research Associate
Jet is a Research Associate working in Research Outcomes at Sarepta Therapeutics. In Research Outcomes, Jet carries out non-clinical functional outcome measures to evaluate the effectiveness of therapeutic treatments produced at Sarepta.
Jet was born in Somalia and came to the United States at a young age because it was the land of opportunities. Jet has always been fascinated with the natural world and always asked questions. They knew they wanted to focus their studies on science and animal work. Jet earned his bachelors in Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology from The Ohio State University. Jet has learned to be true to themself; even when receiving messages that she could never be gay and successful. Jet is an innovator with many diverse identities, and is on a mission to increase diversity all around by nurturing acceptance wherever they go. He is passionate about advocacy, conservation, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Outside of work, she is training to become a wellness coach with a concentration on breathwork, meditation and dance.
Saturday, March 11, 2023 @ 10:00am
Dr. Jennifer Middleton (she/her) – Isotope Geochemist
Dr. Middleton is an Assistant Research Professor at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University. She uses noble gas analyses and complementary geochemical tracers in the geologic record (e.g.,rock and seafloor sediment samples) to evaluate interactions between the oceans, atmosphere, ice sheets, and solid Earth over a range of past climatic conditions. She also works to increase Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the geosciences (and in STEM in general).
Saturday, April 1, 2023 @10:00am
Eliot Schrefer (he/him) – Author
ELIOT SCHREFER is a New York Times-bestselling author, and has twice been a finalist for the National Book Award. Join Eliot in a conversation about queer behavior in animals based on research Eliot completed for his book, Queer Ducks (And Other Animals): The Natural World of Animal Sexuality. Queer behavior in animals is as diverse and complex—and as natural—as it is in our own species. It doesn’t set us apart from animals—it bonds us even closer to our animal selves. The first 40 students who register (and attend) this Queerying Science program will receive a free copy of the book at the conclusion of the event.
About Queer Ducks – This groundbreaking illustrated nonfiction title from two-time National Book Award finalist and New York Times bestselling author Eliot Schrefer is a well-researched and teen-friendly exploration of the gamut of queer behaviors observed in animals. A quiet revolution has been underway in recent years, with study after study revealing substantial same-sex sexual behavior in animals. Join celebrated author Eliot Schrefer on an exploration of queer behavior in the animal world—from albatrosses to bonobos to clownfish to doodlebugs. In sharp and witty prose—aided by humorous comics from artist Jules Zuckerberg—Schrefer uses science, history, anthropology, and sociology to illustrate the diversity of sexual behavior in the animal world. Interviews with researchers in the field offer additional insights for readers and aspiring scientists.
PFLAG HoCo’s very own Sarah Cuneo participated in a roundtable discussion co-facilitated by State Board of Education Parent Member Lori Morrow and State Superintendent of Schools Mohammed Choudhury where they discussed the development of the State Board and MSDE’s strategic plan and parents and guardians were able to share their input and ideas that will shape the future of education in Maryland. Take a look at a recording of the livestreamed event below!