“Children have so few places to go that are safe. A teacher, or a counselor, or a pastor, should be a safe place where they can share their feelings.” – Karen Casperson

What Does The Bible Say?

Our Chapter Secretary, Levi, sat down with one of our other Board Members, Karen Casperson, who is also a retired Lutheran Pastor. The Bible is a point of contention for many people within the LGBTQ+ community and puts many of those within the community at odds with friends, family members, and communities in which they grew up in. 

In the video, Levi asks Karen about some specific Bible verses that are often used to condemn members of the LGBTQ+ community and Karen lends her perspective and her extensive knowledge and experience to answer those questions. He also gets a little personal about some of the things he’s experienced as it relates to passages from the Bible and asks Karen for her insight on some of those thought processes.

A very enlightening video as Karen provides insight to some of the passages commonly used to cast judgment against those in the LGBTQ+ community.

PFLAG Turns 50!


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.







A Fair Chance





A Mother Marches








PFLAG is Born

50 Years of Leading with Love

April 29, 1972: “A Fair Chance”

Morty Manford helped found the Gay Activists Alliance, becoming becoming its president. It was in that role that Morty and others led a variety of protests, including one in 1972 at the 50th annual Inner Circle dinner, an event at the Hilton Hotel attended by reporters, which included dinner, celebration—and the performance of anti-LGBTQ+ skits and satire.

At the event, Morty and others participated in a “zap,” a form of direct activism popularized by the GAA. The zap was intended to gain attention for a city gay-rights law that the GAA wanted passed. The GAA distributed leaflets and seized the stage in an attempt to highlight the law, which the mainstream media was all but ignoring. When the GAA was ejected, a fight broke out. Michael Maye, president of New York City’s Uniformed Firefighters Assn., vehemently opposed the law. At the dinner, he beat Morty, with witnesses stating that they saw Maye throw Morty down an escalator, kicking and stomping him. Maye was acquitted of the assault; the law finally passed years later.

This April 15, 1972 event garnered some of the equality movement’s best media coverage and drew attention to anti-LGBTQ+ violence. It also inspired Morty’s mother, Jeanne. “I was furious,” Jeanne recalled to historian Eric Marcus. “I’m not the type of person who belonged to organizations. I never tried to do anything. But I wasn’t going to let anybody walk over Morty.”

Jeanne put pen to paper and wrote a letter, entitled “A Fair Chance” to the New York Post expressing her outrage at the incident; no parent had ever written such a letter before that was published in a major newspaper.”

The letter created a sensation.



June 25, 1972: A Mother Marches

Not long after her letter was published, Morty asked Jeanne to march with him at the Christopher Street Liberation Day March, which would take place a few months later on June 25, 1972. She agreed, as long as she could carry a sign that explained why she was there and marching.

Historian Eric Marcus says, “Looking back on her work as an activist, Jeanne didn’t think of herself as a radical or revolutionary. But others did.”

In an interview with Marcus, Morty said, “There was a calendar that somebody published, which I picked up over on St. Mark’s Place that next year. For each month it had a picture marking some occasion. For example…there was a picture of Martin Luther King, Jr., during this birthday month. And for June, guess who the calendar girl was?” Jeanne said, in the same interview, “Before Morty turned to June, I said, ‘This is not a true revolutionary calendar unless there is something about the gay march—about gays—for the month of June.’ And then when I turned the page, there was my picture. The irony, of course, is that I considered myself such a traditional person. I didn’t even cross the street against the light.”

But cross the street she did, many streets, in fact, as the march moved through Manhattan. Morty knew that her presence caused a stir—and inspired others to ask her for support, or ask her to support their own parents.



March 11, 1973: PFLAG is born


Morty urged Jeanne (and his father Jules, who was very much a part of the PFLAG story) to hold a meeting; without Morty’s encouragement it likely would never have happened. And Morty knew, as a smart activist, that Jeanne and Jules HAD to be the ones to start the group; it could not be Morty because it needed parents and families – ALLIES – to meet other people, potential allies, where they are and bring them along. Without Jeanne and Jules, PFLAG could never have happened.

The first meeting of what is now known as PFLAG took place on March 11, 1973 at the Metropolitan-Duane Methodist Church in Greenwich Village (now the Church of the Village). Approximately 20 people attended including Jeanne, Morty, and Jules Manford, Dick and Amy Ashworth and their sons Tucker and Everard, and Bob and Elaine Benov.

The site of the first meeting is now marked with a plaque, placed by PFLAG National in partnership with our friends at the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (Village Preservation).



To continue reading the rest of PFLAG history, please visit this post by PFLAG National!


PFLAG Woodstock Makes an Appearance at Grace Episcopal for a Transgender Day of Remembrance Event.



PFLAG Woodstock was invited to attend and set up an informational table at an event hosted by Grace Episcopal Church in The Plains, VA. The event began with a film called “Voices of Witness: Out of the Box” and then followed by a forum led by Transgender and Non-Binary voices.

Our own PFLAG Chapter Secretary, Levi, was asked to participate in the forum and lend his voice as a transgender man to the event. He was joined by Kai Pollock who also lended their voice as a non-binary person.

The forum was facilitated by Drew Ensz who asked questions as they pertained to the church and where these individuals felt that they fell on the spectrum of religion and the church. Both participants were able to give some background on their lives that spoke to where they are at in their lives. After the facilitator finished with the pre-determined questions, questions were opened to the attendees who were able to ask questions about what family life looked like as an adult transgender/non-binary person among other things.

Turnout far exceeded everyone’s expectations with many people from the community coming to learn more about the transgender and non-binary experience. Many people left wanting to know how they can be better Allies to the LGBTQ+ community. The forum and the film helped open up the reality that many transgender and non-binary people face in the Church.


If you’d like to view the film that was shown at the event, it is called “Voices of Witness: Out of the Box” (clickable link) and is searchable on YouTube.


You can view the recorded version of the forum below:


Front Page News on the NV Daily!

We are so excited for our chapter’s story to be featured on the front page of the Northern Virginia Daily!



Click here to read the Northern Virginia Daily article!




I have learned a lot as a straight female 64-year-old with no gay children what it’s like to be part of this community.

Susie wilburn – pflag president







We are a chapter where we can distill some of those myths. [There are] statements being made on the religious side of it that these people are doomed to hell; it’s an abomination. Because we are such a Christian community, that seems to be the bigger message that’s getting out. [But] these are human beings just like everyone else … just like any heterosexual.

Susie wilburn – pflag president




We can’t be religious, we can’t be political; our tagline is that we advocate, we support and we educate,” Wilburn said. “We are a helping chapter.

Susie wilburn – pflag president

Woodstock chapter of PFLAG offering support to LGBTQ community

Woodstock has a new chapter of PFLAG and is welcoming anyone interested in being an ally or learning about the LGBTQ community.

PFLAG is a nonprofit organization that advocates for, educates about and supports members of the LGBTQ community.

The local chapter started in May, said organizer Susie Wilburn.

“What happened is we were feeling like the [local] community was at an uprise against the LGBTQ community,” she said.

Hearing about challenges students were having in the public school system and community incidents that she didn’t feel area town council members were positively addressing, Wilburn said she was inspired to do something.

“Kids are bullied in school; they’re harassed,” she said.

It speaks to the level of unacceptance around the community, she said.

“I have learned a lot as a straight female 64-year-old with no gay children what it’s like to be part of this community,” Wilburn said.

“We are a chapter where we can distill some of those myths. [There are] statements being made on the religious side of it that these people are doomed to hell; it’s an abomination. Because we are such a Christian community, that seems to be the bigger message that’s getting out. [But] these are human beings just like everyone else … just like any heterosexual.”

In many cases, she said, being part of the LGBTQ community isn’t about sex or physical attraction.

“Within this community, many say that sex is not a deciding factor at all,” she said.

Wilburn decided to form the chapter after seeing a Facebook post by area resident Levi Miller, when he told his coming out story on a group page.

“I commented about challenges in our own county,” she recalled.

After they became Facebook friends and chatted some more through Messenger, she said she looked into starting a local chapter of PFLAG.

Wilburn is president of the chapter. Miller has joined as secretary, and the treasurer is Steve Shaffer.

“We need this in our community,” Wilburn said.

The national organization, which started in 1973 and used to stand for Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, is not aiming to be controversial, she said.

“We can’t be religious, we can’t be political; our tagline is that we advocate, we support and we educate,” Wilburn said. “We are a helping chapter.”

Still, it’s tough to be the only chapter in the region with the next closest in D.C., she said.

“There used to be one in Winchester and that one disbanded several years ago,” Wilburn said. “I’ve had folks reach out to me from as far away as Fauquier County because they have seen similar problems there.”

The website, pflag.org, lists chapters in Charlottesville as well as the areas of Richmond, Blacksburg, Williamsburg, Norfolk and Morgantown, West Virginia.

PFLAG Woodstock has held four support meetings so far, and Wilburn said that her contacts in Fauquier are thinking of starting a chapter too.

The chapter welcomes anyone who wants to learn more, she said.

“I’ve had to learn a lot about why the pronouns are a thing, why the triggering is a thing, why mental health is a thing,” she said. “I’ve traveled that journey to learn what this is really about.”

Since holding a potluck event this summer in W.O. Riley Park in Woodstock that attracted about 55 attendees, the group has been passing out rack cards to libraries and other locations to spread the word.

They’re also holding a once-a-month support group for those who are LGBTQ and struggling with depression.

At their latest meeting, five of 12 attendees were from the transgender community, she said. But they have also welcomed parents and other family members who come to learn how to support a loved one who has come out as gay or trans or nonbinary.

“It was hard for them because they were going through a grieving process,” Wilburn said. She recalled one woman telling her, “I thought I had a daughter and now I have a son.”

Additionally, every time there’s an incident reported on the news of a hate crime or reports of bullying, Wilburn hears from interested residents.

“They’re concerned for their child’s safety,” she said, “… or the school policies.”

Besides offering support, she said the chapter also wants to educate about the LGBTQ community and dispel fear and myths.

“They have the same wants and needs as anybody else,” she said. “It’s not something to fear or to judge.”

For more information about the chapter, email pflagwoodstockva@gmail.com.






PFLAG Woodstock attending a Suicide Awareness rally.

Suicide Awareness Campaign

PFLAG Woodstock Attends Suicide Awareness Rally


On September18, PFLAG Woodstock attended a local rally for Suicide Awareness. Suicide awareness is especially important in the LGBTQ+ community since the LGBTQ+ community experiences disproportionately large amounts of hate and discrimination compared to the general republic- with much of that coming from their own family members. As a result, members of the LGBTQ+ community are 92% more likely to think about suicide and 88% more likely to attempt it as compared to the general U.S. population. Among LGBTQ+ youth, more than 1.8 million LGBTQ+ youth seriously consider suicide each year and at least one attempts suicide every 45 seconds.

Our Chapter Secretary Levi spoke during the event and spoke to his experience having lost a younger brother to suicide as well as his own experience with suicidal ideation during the early period in his transition when he struggled with acceptance.


You can view a portion of the rally in the video below:




Pride Potluck

Just in time for Pride Month, we are ready to introduce ourselves to the community at long last! After recently obtaining our affiliation in May, it did not leave us much planning time for Pride Month events- but we still wanted to make sure we squeezed something in so people can know we are here!

All are welcome- LGBTQ+, friends, family, allies, etc! We are here to provide resources and support to the LGBTQ+ members of our community as well as their families, but we want everyone else to know that we’re just your average community members. We are your neighbors, your friends, your coworkers.

We will be providing drinks and some snacks, but please bring along a covered dish or something to snack on! We will be set up to sign up new members or accept donations.

We hope to see you there!

Levi Miller

Chapter Secretary