Welcome to LoudounTimes.com
Loudoun Times-Mirror

Sterling home to Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender support group

Metro DC PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), is starting a gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth and parent support group to meet in Sterling.

The group is holding a kickoff event on Sunday, Jan. 23 from 4-6 p.m. at Unitarian Universalists, located at 22135 Davis Dr. in Sterling.

“This is an urgent need in our area, and it’s exciting that it is finally getting off of the ground,” Lori A. Stevens, who is on the Metro DC PFLAG board of directors, said.

The group plans to meet on the fourth Sunday of every month. The group will offer different services.

“For the youth group, it will be an open forum,” Stevens said. “They will have a safe place to create a support system.  Facilitators will be trained to lead discussions with them about challenges they’re facing at home, at school, in the community, etc.”

Additionally, a parent support group will meet concurrently that will allow parents to share ideas and learn from others.

“Straight allies are encouraged to attend as well,” Stevens said. “It is a support group, and ally support is just as important as family support. We are a Loudoun County group, but we keep our doors are open to teens outside of the county as well.”

Stevens told the Times-Mirror that she expects some level of controversy that usually accompanies similar groups.

“This is the first group of its kind in Loudoun County, and this is a hot button issue for some.”


I don’t get it. You have neo-cons on here that claim to love freedom, the constitution, etc. Yet when a non-profit group is established to help kids and families deal with a serious issue, all of a suddent the hypocrisy emerges. This is America folks. Land of the free. And that includes everyone. Get over it, or move.

@who’sintolerant?:  you are.

@John Q.:  your fictional humor is hysterical!  Thanks for bringing a lighter note to this thread.  I really liked the “dim witted touch” - EXCELLENT!!

I encourage everyone to be tolerant. Coming out of the closet was so scary for me. I was a 19 year old boy from Alabama. I grew up in a family of all boys. We were always pressured into playing sports. Even though I never enjoyed them. I always felt I was a little different, and last year I realized I really was. I had my first encounter with another man. I always wondered what it would be like, and one night I had a sleepover with one of my friends and one thing led to another. I continued to have a relationship with this person. I always felt guilty about it. After a few months though, I began to realize it was just the way I am.

My family always made comments about gay people, I guess that’s what made it so tough to come out.

Finally I decide to though. I took my whole family in, told them everything that was happening, and that was it. My family was shocked , but also understanding. My best advice to people coming out is to just get it over with. Waiting to tell makes your life a living hell. You will feel much better when you get everything out in the open. I amy be fat, short, bald, and dim-witted but I have my dignity. I came out of the closet and was then cured of my disease.

@who’s intolerant:

Big surprise—- a conservative republican incapable of using proper grammar.

Dearest Intolerant,

You’re right. I should have said “people who express hatred,” instead of “haters.” Thank you for reminding me that I should focus on the behavior and not the person engaging in it.

Perhaps you have neglected to read the earlier comments. Or maybe you are unable to recognize hatred when you see it. There might be an app for that, but I doubt it. Probably one simply needs a conscience.

Here’s the deal: You cannot reasonably expect to express the idea that entire categories of people are undeserving of the same rights, dignity and safety that you enjoy without being criticized. If you claim that your expression of this idea should not be subject to criticism because it is a “belief,” you will be corrected - and rightly so. If you further claim that your belief that entire categories of people are inferior to you and should not trouble you with evidence of our existence is a “moral” one, you will be not only criticized, but likely ridiculed as well. Sorry about that.

Disagreement is not intolerance. Asking for basic respect is not intolerance.

The arguments against giving everyone the same rights as everyone else keep getting repeated: the arguments against emancipation; the arguments against women’s sufferage; the arguments against integration; the arguments against equal marriage…they are all the same.

“It’s always been this way and it should always be this way, because the way I read my Bible, this is the way God intended the world to be”

Well, those of us on the side of equality and human dignity can find just as many passages in the Bible for our side, and history shows that eventually, equality wins.

Dear heart, do you believe that left-handed people are immoral, and “go against the laws of nature”? Some people used to.

You are free to believe anything you like, however contrary to reality it is. You are not free to not be corrected when you state your beliefs as fact, and you are certainly not free to cause harm to children or others in the name of your beliefs.

so if you simply just don’t agree that homosexuality is moral then your an evil hate monger who needs to just wake up and see the light- Really?  Why is it when you “alternative lifestyle folks” find someone who doesn’t agree with your position then you turn on the HATE MACHINE- Usually calling names etc. YOU are the ones without tolerance. Stop attacking others who have different moral beliefs then you have. Many people are just like me- we don’t believe what your doing is moral and go against the laws of nature but we leave you alone to do what you want- NOW LEAVE US ALONE AS WELL!!!! Oh, and by the way, stop trying to push your agenda on our kids at school.

Oh - and to Earl: Yes. But more like left-handed people.

This brave young woman can run circles around the few sad, silly haters posting here. They are the disappearing past, this is the future. Watch and learn:

Penny, thank you so much for your kind words. The comments attacking me by name seem to have been removed, so I guess that kind of thing won’t be tolerated.

What I know about David Weintraub is that he is funny, very smart, a web-whiz (he designed my website),  politically astute,  in a long-term relationship of over 25 years to the same equally smart, funny and astute partner, father to heterosexual married man who happens to be a successful attorney and soon to be judge who loves both his parents very much.  He volunteers in a cross section of Loudoun County venues, is important to InterFaith Bridges, is a member of St. James UCC in Lovettsville (where my husband and I met him and Jonathan); an advocate for animals and the dispossessed of all species; a man who laughs at himself and the world around him.  He is someone I would be proud to have in my family no matter what his sexual identity.

As a hospice and hospital chaplain, I know what suffering looks like.  I was chaplain to the family of Matthew Shepard while that young man lay dying after the attack on his life in Laramie, Wyoming.  My husband, Steve Johnson,  also ordained,  ministered to that community and is a character in the play “The Laramie Project.”  We have seen its story told in places as far away as Dublin and as close as Frederick, Maryland.  Its message is simple:  It is fear of the other that drives horrific violence, from the Old Testament, through the Crusades, the Holocaust, the Rape of Nanking, the Killing Fields, Stalinist Russia and now the Taliban.

Some of you hate-mongers no doubt call yourselves Christian.  As an ordained member of a Christian Church,  I believe that emulating Jesus means showing compassion for all God’s children.  It is fear and ignorance of the weak, the retarded, the “unknown” that drove the Nazis to self destruction.  Today, Judaism still thrives and the Holocaust is a bad horror story denied by Mel Gibson (now there is a role model for you!) and his father.

Pay attention to your own glass walls before you throw stones at others.  If you examine yourself, you will be too busy to worry about what is going on in more households than you know about.  When it is your child that hangs, shoots or drowns him/herself because death is better than daily torments by others who think they are “right” and “better” then perhaps you will know; you will feel and maybe, just maybe you will understand.

Rev. Penelope A. Thoms, M.Div., M.A. Board Certified Chaplain

Gee, if there really is a “John Q. Crittedon,” or alternatively, “Crittenden,” I am very sorry he has been told such things - especially if he is gay. That’s a terrible way to treat someone, and my prayer for him is that he will come to realize he was lied to by this misguided “pastor” and go on to have a good life. My suspicion, though, is that he either doesn’t exist at all, or is being (badly) spoofed by someone else in the 11:27 comment below.

At any rate, the event last night was fantastic, with great turnout and enthusiasm, and I couldn’t be happier that Loudoun families are going to have this resource. The fact that someone would post such nonsense to this forum once again demonstrates the need. Kudos to Lori Stevens for recognizing it and making this happen!

Mr. Crittendon, I am sorry that you have a pastor who preaches hate. Christ said, “I have but one commandment for you, love one another.”

Most homicides of gay persons are by gay-bashers. Your pastor’s attitude is one of the reasons why we need organizations like Loudoun Out Loud.

I am pleased to have been able to attend the terrific kickoff.

According to my pastor gayness is a mental disorder.He says you’d have to be crazy to do something which you know is forbidden in the Bible, and then like the adulteress, “wipe your mouth and say you have not sinned”. Denial of the sinfulness of homosexuality is part of the insanity of it all.

Homosexuality comes from unhappiness within the family and leads to further unhappiness when embraced. It’s like a facial defect (such as a cleft palate) which could be corrected with plastic surgery.

Gay rights activists complain that society’s refusal to accept them as they are and to okay their sexual activities, is the only thing that stops them from being happy. But this is a foolish falsehood. Within the “gay community”, the murder rate is high, The murder rate is 15 times higher among homosexuals than heterosexuals. [1] and even in “gay enclaves” like Provincetown, Massachusetts where there is no societal disapproval at all the rates for depression, suicide, Since homosexuals have greater numbers of partners and breakups, compared with heterosexuals, and since longterm gay male relationships are rarely monagamous, it is hardly surprising if suicide attempts are proportionally greater. [2] drug abuse, etc. are much higher than normal.

Homosexuality is not a normal way of being. It was not created or intended by God. It is a sin and a mental illness.

Actually, no: Compare and contrast http://www.equalityloudoun.org/?p=907

Yes, he is. It’s probably because he listens to all of his constituents about what is happening to them and their kids - like about how rapidly the abuse of “synthetic marijuana” is growing and how all the kids seem to know about it, but parents don’t, or are very poorly informed. I personally knew very little about this and was skeptical that it was really a problem before attending Herring’s forum on it. It’s bad news, and I’m glad I understand it now.

Those who feel so threatened by PFLAG support groups might consider the possibility that they don’t know as much as they think they do without actually hearing other people’s stories. You can be the expert on you and your experience. I will be the expert on mine.

Mark Herring is attending this event.

Angry, hostile and cynical, check. Thank you for demonstrating so effectively exactly why Loudoun families need PFLAG.

Teagee Baby…

  A transgender woman? really? When did you have your first child? Was it a C-section or beaker?

  Do you often go for laser hair removal over your lip and back? What about that lovely voice? Does it remind me of Betty White or Barry White?

  The point is, you can wrap the outside all you want in clothes and make-up, cut and paste body parts but you are not and never were a woman.

  I’m sure you are an awesome person, but you are a man by design and should not be heterophobic.

  Ta Ta…

Ok… see you there!  :)


Hell awaits you. AIDS is all your fault.

Republican… Hi there!  :)

I’m a transgender woman, living in Loudoun County.  It’s quite possible that you and I have crossed paths, and you didn’t even have a clue.  I’d love to meet you!!  Want to meet up for coffee?  I think you should come!!  Perhaps you’d learn a little bit.  I look forward what will clearly be a meaningful exchange of views, devoid of any ad hominem attacks.

It’s amazing to me that you refer to members of these groups as “angry, hostile, and cynical.”  Do you read your own posts?  I see only one angry, hostile, and cynical poster here.

Just sayin’.

As Gandhi once said, “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they attack you, then you win.”

What we see here is the lashing out characteristic of people who are angry and afraid because they are losing their privilege. They have been backed into an increasingly small corner. They feel more and more marginalized every day, and angry because the kinds of things they are saying about gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people are no longer mainstream, or even socially acceptable. They have to say these things anonymously because they know they will be ridiculed and ostracized.

The last refuge for those who hate and fear difference - whether it’s other religions, other orientations, or something else - is the hope that young people can be bullied into silence. If people are too afraid to be open and honest about themselves, if they can be kept invisible, then the kind of ignorance on display here (e.g. the “lifestyle” comment) can be maintained.

“Ignorance” means simply a lack of information. I don’t use it here as a pejorative. When gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people tell the truth about themselves, the ignorance that allows cruelty, rejection and dehumanization collapses. PFLAG was started by parents who loved their children, and heard them, and came to understand the truth. They knew that they needed to find a way to share that truth with others who were being silenced and misinformed, and even encouraged to reject or abuse their own children.

I think we need to have compassion for these fearful people. I understand the compulsion to make fun of them and bait them with “you must be latent” kind of barbs, but the truth is that many people who behave this way are facing situations in which a child or other loved one might be gay, and they are in denial. They need support, and a safe space to figure out for themselves what is true. That’s what this parent support group is for.

WARNING: If you want to keep your kids in a safe, wholesome environment, steer clear from this event. LTM should not be promoting such rubbish.

@DavidW… Ignorance is misunderstanding it’s an Exit and not an Entry. Put down the glue before you put an eye out.

Unitarians are crazy ass church folk who’s spiritual guidance comes from fortune cookies.

What a great public service they gotz going - grab whoever doesn’t wanna face a challenge and group up.

Kinda reminds me of that Miller turkey.

Funny that if it’s normal/natural there’s no education needed in life. So it’s not a matter of “educating” others. It may be they already know about you.

Love and acceptance are not the same thing, and I’m not loving you if we pretend the majority population agrees and accepts this lifestyle.

  I don’t believe Gays are evil and should ever be villified, but it’s not the culture responsible for suicide attempts. I believe it’s the conflict in the person’s condition. And only pretending men in dresses and test tube babies make a real family are only making a lie feel a little more believable - just a bit longer.

But deep down everyone knows it’s not real, including the those in that community.

  I have a chronic condition that could kill me if I ignore certain food choices. If I decide to pretend my health is normal and eat anything I am attracted to, it will be a fast road downhill.

  No one said life was fair.

  I applaud the support for pall eople in our community. No one should feel less than or ridiculed. But deal with the real issues that might have created this like broken homes, sex abuse, and other life changing things. Of course not everyone has the same story, but I would support the gay community more if it stopped trying to force beliefs instead of admitting some of the obvious things many see.

  God loves you more than you will ever know. But lying about your life to yourself and trying get the world to come along will never work. It only leads to more emptiness with even more rejection.

  For those that think Loudoun is about to go pink, think again. There is another movement all it’s own in motion…

R/I, you poor thing. Don’t worry hon, it gets better.

As I said before, we are all whole and healthy the way we were created. People are going to protect their children from the effects of ignorance - and what looks a lot like hate. Young people are going to stand up for themselves and each other.

I think those are human values, not partisan ones, but if you want to think otherwise I wish you luck with that.

SPECIAL NOTE: If you want to experience the heart and soul of the Democratic party in Loudoun, attend this event of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender activists.

WARNING: If you want to avoid a bunch of Democrat sociopaths who advocate for and carry out abnormal and unhealthy things to themselves and eachother in private, stay away from this event.


Do you find it painful trying to disguise and suppress your homosexuality?  Many people that are vehemently against same-sex marriages, or homosexuality in general, have a lot of suppressed homosexual tendencies.

Enjoy beating your pets/kids in order to project your strong feelings of latent homosexuality unto anyone but yourself.

You’re gay, and everyone knows it.


Dear “Republican,”

You should proofread your comments for unintended irony.

Dear Readers,
1.) I am sorry if my words hurt anyone
2.) Thank you for letting me speak
3.) I meant no disrespect, I think these people are very lucky to have a support group and accepting famly. My intent was to share my pain and forced rehabilitation so that others may see how we are all alike and should not judge.

I have to admit that I don’t have a sunny story like a support group or accepting family.  I remember a few different things when I was a boy,  one was when I found I was fascinated by my older brother’s jock strap that he wore for high school football.  I was thrilled and excited to see it, feel it, and I secretly tried it on, and dreamed of the day when I could have my own.  Another thing was that I would look at the Sear’s catalogue and peruse the well-thumbed pages of the men’s underwear section… just staring silently at the pictures, or any photos of men in brief swim trunks.  Those are my earliest memories of sexuality, and then finding out soon after that it was’nt OK to ask other boys if they wanted to look at the pictures too.  In fact I was beaten savagely and called sweet-tits all throughout high school. This caused me to bury my feelings in mass quanaties of food, before I knew it I was 400 lbs. Being straight and am member of over eaters ananomus I can tell you that every day is a battle. I wish everone luck and offer support.

Mark Herring and Stevens Miller support the lesbian and bisexual agenda, which includes the legalization of two women married to eachother and the cultural normalization of cross-dressing and homosexual marriage.

No one is out to bash anyone, but this type of behavior, and the political cover which Herring and Miller provide it, is outside the normal mainstream in Loudoun county.

Many people who are part of this subculture are angry, hostile and cynical.

LTM is providing a platform for a freakshow.

@ David - That was a very well written and respectful response.  Thank you for clearing up what I was trying to say.

I wasn

@Crittenden - I’m happy for you that you made a choice, but I believe this forum of comments was a very inappropriate place to post your story.  This support group is for those who cannot deny who they are for the rest of their lives.  This group is to support them in making the choice to be who they are, not who others want them to be.  Your story makes me sad and I hope, for your sake and your future, that you made the right decision for yourself.

We are excited to have PFLAG in Loudoun County (and I’m not gay).  It is needed for people like you who are confused about where they stand in life.  This is a place where they can be open with others and seek help in figuring out what will make them happy, and not to persuade anyone to become gay.  But more importantly it is a place where parents can come when their child tells them they’re gay.  They can learn to understand what this means for their child, for them as a family, and how they can be supportive.

I will say this in the nicest way possible…...bring your story to the church because this is not the place for it.  Again, congratulations on your journey, but this is not what PFLAG is about.

Food for thought:  “The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimated 3 that “as many as 30% of completed youth suicides each year” are performed by gays and lesbians. Unfortunately, many information sources have quoted the 30% as if it is an absolute figure. The Department indicates that it is 30% or fewer. If we assume that the 30% figure is valid and that it is constant across the age range of 15 to 24 years, then approximately 1,488 suicides per year are committed by homosexual youth. If we assume that gays comprise 5% of the total number of youth, then the 1,488 suicides represent an excess of 1240 suicides related to their sexual orientation.”

I’m looking forward to attending this event!

Nice Job Lori!
Keep Moving Fwd

People can and do change their sexual orientation. I’ve done it, and I’ve helped others do the same.It’s been now almost 6 years now that I first sought help to get over my homosexuality. The very first site I found was the International Healing foundation at the time (beginning of 2004). Your message gave me hope, strength and motivation to reach the goal I wanted for my life: having a wife and family… The more I read on the subject and got informed about this wonderful message, the more my feeling of discouragement went away.

I eventually reached a point when this became a deep conviction and made the choice to actually never give up. I ordered most of the resources available at IHF at the time; books, your conference on video, CD’s… and I participated in a session of teleconferencing class with you by the end of 2005… I want to deeply thank you today for your work. I watched the different videos where you appeared on TV shows. I admire you, you know, because you expose yourself, and speak with a very calm attitude, and speak with assertiveness without being aggressive. You show respect to others.

Today, I want to tell you that for the first time of my life, I have a serious girlfriend… a girl that I’m in love with, who knows about my past and that I feel is the one… This moment, I dreamed of it since my teen years, and it finally came… and I want to deeply thank you for having shown me that homosexuality can be a choice and can be healed. By my deep understanding of my condition, I grew a lot in the past years, especially the past two years and I can say I feel more confident in my manhood. My relationship with my father is better than ever. He has been very willing to help me in the process and kept saying he loved me. We have a very special relationship right now, a harmonious one. I’m still young (23) but I’m so happy to have addressed this issue in my youth. You changed a life, and I will be eternally grateful for that.

Great!! Wish I had had this support group as a youth…Would love to help or be supportive in any way I can…With my partner of 20 years….

Wow!  It’s about time!  Thanks Lori for pushing this, it is (and has been) needed for families in our county.  I took my parents to the group in Reston when my sibling came out of the closet.  It really helped them open their eyes and attempt to understand my siblings situation.  This is such a wonderful thing to have here in the conservative county of Loudoun.  So many families and friends can take advantage of this group.  I highly recommend this group and hope the Loudoun group will be successful!

Tina, when the article came out some 6 hrs before you posted, it led with “Loudoun County and Metro DC PFLAG…”  I guess the editor changed it. Thanks Barbara for the insight. Who’d have thought, the UU’s being Universal in their language :).

for the record, what i’m reading online says this is a PFLAG group, which happens to be supporting loudoun county. nowhere in the article i’m seeing does it mention loudoun county starting the group or endorsing it in any way. not sure what the misinterpretation is

Good for them, that seems to be the common phraseology in UU endeavors—“Loudoun County” is used inclusively to mean an event or group is occuring there, and it seems to uniformly go out in statements and press releases that way.

It is imprecise in the implication that the county government is involved in some way, but I think it is a matter of inclusive and universal language rather than any attempt to mislead.

we’re so happy to hear that PFLAG is offering youth and parent support here in loudoun county. it’s very welcomed

I believe that Eugene was invited; repentance is always possible, even for him.

Seriously, this is wonderful news. Families in Loudoun have needed this support for a long time. Bravo, Lori.

Eugene, will I see you there?

What does it mean by “Loudoun County” starting this group? Does that the County government is involved, and using tax payer funds? If not, that opening line is misleading, could be written a better way to note that this is happening IN Loudoun County…but not sponsored or endorsed by the County (aka Govt.).

Good. Now, that Spaghetti Monster fellow, he gets drug into the mud every now and again, perhaps his kind needs a support group ...

Post a comment

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.

Comments express only the views of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of this website or any associated person or entity. Any user who believes a message is objectionable can contact us at ltmeditor@loudountimes.com.

More News

The Loudoun Times-Mirror

is an interactive, digital replica
of the printed newspaper.
Click here for all e-editions.