Friday, January 16, 2015

Hi friends,

A week ago today many of us gathered to celebrate the adventurous Brittian Family. Cindy and Susan, we are grateful to you both for so many contributions to our PFLAG Community. There are (and always will be) so many amazing stories to share when it comes to the both of you!  What a great surprise to have out of town PFLAG friends from Baltimore also attend your party!  If you haven’t seen the photos….we will post some on the website.

Since we are in the party mode….let’s keep going and focus on:

Chestertown’s Saturday February 7, “Chester Gras” activities followed by the 4th annual Mardi Gras Dance Party at the Garfield Center for the Arts. Many LGBTQ folks have requested a gay friendly dance!  This is your opportunity!  The  Chester Gras and MGDP events are truly a fun time, welcoming of all ages, stages and inclinations! Costumes are encouraged all day long.  

Our chapter is pleased to subsidize the ticket cost for any Gay Straight Alliance Youth who would like to attend the dance. This is a $10 value for you.  Please call Linda Dutton at 443 480 3138 to reserve your ticket.  We want our youth to network with other youth planning to attend from area schools.  Don't have a ride?  Reach out and we will try to help. Get creative and shock your parents by asking them to go to a dance party with you!  After arriving you both may simply become invisible to one another in the crowd full of costumes.    

We also want to encourage all ages in our chapter to participate in the Chester Gras Activities and Parade that afternoon.  The line up will take place in the Kent County Court House Parking Lot at 12:30 pm. The parade loops around Fountain Park beginning at 1 pm.  Our group will be obvious with our usual rainbow flag as well as some added Mardi Gras flags and umbrellas!
Just show up!  We will give you a mask or boa to wear and some goodies to throw.
Chester Gras is sponsored by Peoples Bank of Kent County and the proceeds from these events benefit the Backpack Program.

Gay Straight Alliance Youth:  We will also have our February 6 First Friday gathering at 5 pm in Chestertown.  Details to follow.

Yes, there is also a chapter meeting next week on Tuesday January 20th at 7 pm at UUCR. The address is 914 Gateway Drive, Chestertown, MD.  This month we will have an open discussion meeting with several new materials to share. Our PFLAG National office has sent us several copies of the new Guide to being a Trans Ally and we have many other new materials donated to our Resource Library by our friends and members.

We also have compiled several resources addressing personal safety and tips for knowing your rights in legal situations.  Remember, 2015 is our year to take better care of one another!  Next month we will be announcing our plans for Safe Space Trainings, coordinated plans among several area Gay Straight Alliances and topics planned for March and April monthly meetings.  

Thursday, January 8, 2015

2015, a year to continue: Be safe, care and work to "fix society" for ALL

2015 PFLAG Chestertown Chapter: Our year to learn to be safe and to care….”Fix Society” MORE.

Hi friends,

We have begun…but we must step up to be MORE caring as well as safe and sensitive.   
We are fortunate to live in beautiful, quiet and rural communities. Yet that rural quiet can lead to isolation, especially if you are young and/or without transportation. We know that we need one another and yet, we are often passive and lonely. Let’s try to “fix  society” as young Leelah Alcorn pleaded before her recent death.  Because of the tragedies and known dangers we share, let’s make 2015 a year of community building…of support groups….of reaching out…..of listening to and helping one another.  Let’s model it and work to make sure that everyone “we” know…also knows how to reach out for a friend or family member…for fun and for facing our fears. 

Tomorrow, January 9, we start with a farewell to a family who has generously shared these personal qualities with our community.  Cindy and Susan Brittain are moving on to new adventures and we will help honor them with an open house from 6-9 pm at Emmanuel Hall, on Cross St, across from Fountain Park in Chestertown. 

Our list of upcoming events and opportunities continues to grow…see the calendar on our new website: PFLAG

Check out the important resources from PFLAG National at  Recent focus on support for Trans Kin has created a wonderful new publication. 

Throughout 2015 we will continue to hold monthly meetings at various locations.  Our blind copy email list continues to grow…and so does your opportunity to talk about what you see happening with LGBT folks of all ages in our community.  Among ourselves and our with friends, family, allies we encourage and want our LGBT community to be fully involved and out as they choose to be…or not!  We keep our email list blind intentionally so the individual choice is always respected.

So mark your calendars for the Third Tuesdays of 2015. Chestertown Chapter leaders meet at 6pm and our membership program begins at 7 pm. June, July and August we will encourage your participation in area PRIDE events as well as local fun such as our membership picnic and marching in the Rock Hall July 4th parade.

We will continue to network with several local and regional community organizations.  Watch for announcements about upcoming fun events at the Garfield Center for the Arts and special First Fridays!  Sign up and plan something for the meet up group: The Rainbow Alliance of Delmarva. Watch for our involvement in new Gay Straight Alliance groups in local schools, programs at Washington College and Chesapeake College. You will see our presence in our local libraries, churches and any organizations you want our help with!  As we, PFLAG Chestertown members and friends, continue to identify ourselves proudly in our various local roles, we create more awareness, more comfort and eventually hope to make “LGBT” an irrelevant label. We can see the day when fairness and equality for all is possible on the Eastern Shore!

Yet in 2015 our work and conversations need to continue. We will talk about:  personal safety, self care and care for others, how to react when stopped by authorities or police, how to strengthen your local support systems, how to speak up when you see or experience injustice.  We all need to feel safe and welcome everywhere in our communities.  ALL of us.