The Frederick LGBTQ Community Center reached out to the deaf community this summer and looked for a liaison to help merge the Frederick LGBTQ community and the deaf community. I gladly volunteered because I felt it was important to get both communities together. Both communities can help each other to thrive in this city by working together and supporting each other. Since both communities are going through the same struggles and that is trying to get the rights and equality that we all deserve.
As the liaison, I felt it was really important to have an article that raises awareness about Frederick LGBTQ Community, what they do, and what Frederick residents can do for their loved ones or friends who are LGBTQ.
Peter Brehm, a board member, of the Frederick LGBTQ Community Center was kind to answer my questions in an e-mail interview.
When was Frederick LGBTQ Community Center founded?
Austin Beach, Cindie Beach, and Brian Walker
What made them decide to establish it?
A recognition that Frederick needs an organization that can support, educate, link, organize, and provide outreach to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) community and its allies
What's your role in the center?
I am on the Board of Directors and serve as Treasurer. I am also active with the Adult Services and Marketing Committees
What is Frederick LGBTQ Community Center's goal with LGBTQ residents, allies, and non-allies?
To become the leading organization for LGBTQ resources and advocacy in central Maryland in addressing the mission outlined above.
Is there a program for the youth who are LGBTQ or an ally?
Yes. The group meets every Wednesday starting at 7:00pm. Interested youth (23 years old and younger) can contact the Frederick Center Youth Services Coordinator Cindie Beach at email@example.com or by using any of the following methods:
The Frederick Center, PO Box 3231, Frederick, MD 21705-3231
How can the people who are non-LGBTQ become an ally for those who are?
Speak out, write politicians, and vote in a way that supports legal and social equality for members of the LGBTQ community. Join the Frederick Center or donate money to support the Frederick Center programs. Contact the Frederick Center for a brochure. Asked to be listed, at no charge, in the Frederick business directory. Send contact information to the Frederick Center using one of the methods outlined. Volunteer for The Frederick Center
What made Frederick LGBTQ Community Center decide to welcome the Deaf community in?
The Frederick Center Board has always been aware that Frederick has a deaf LGBTQ community and considers these members of the LGBTQ community to be an important Frederick Center constituency. Because of the generous donation of time at this year’s Frederick Pride 2013 to interpret the event by Interp-Mezzo, many members of the deaf LGBTQ community attended, and many were able to take advantage of free HIV testing and counseling through the Frederick County Department of Health because one of the counselors was fluent in ASL. The Frederick Center Board is now seeking interested members of the deaf LGBTQ community who want to help form a Frederick Center Committee focused on the needs of the deaf LGBTQ community. Interested people should contact The Frederick Center using one of the methods noted previously.
(I would like to add something, the deaf community is welcome to contact me as well at jharbaugh.LGBTQ@gmail.com)
What do Frederick LGBTQ Community Center hope to do with the Deaf community? Is there a plan?
The Board wants the deaf LGBTQ to determine the needs and priorities. One possible effort would be promotion of free HIV testing by the Frederick County Department of Health, who can provide an interpreter. Making sure that Frederick Pride 2014 is responsive to the interests of the deaf LGBTQ community is also a goal. Workshops, social events, and other activities reflecting deaf LGBTQ community interests are all possibilities.
Now that the Supreme Court has finally allowed same sex marriage and federal benefits, what is next that the country needs to work on related to the LGBTQ issues?
We need to address the serious issue of the bullying of LGBTQ youth. We need to make marriage equality the law in all 50 states and also start work on gaining equal rights for transgender people.
For the teachers who want to raise awareness about LGBTQ issues in the classroom to avoid bullying in school, what should they do? Where to start?
Recognizing the bullying occurs for a variety of reasons other than bullied child’s actual or perceived sexual orientation, the solution starts with the local elected leaders, school board members, principals, staff members, and teachers, who all need to establish a proactive no-tolerance approach with both words and actions as it pertains to bullies and bullying. Contributing to bullying, ignoring bullying, and avoiding discussing or taking action to prevent bullying are not appropriate responses. On this, The Frederick Center is joining the Mental Health Association, Frederick Community College, Frederick County Public Schools and other organizations to plan a conference on the broader issue of bullying and strategies that can be used to minimize and eliminate this from occurring.
Any advice or wisdom for anyone? Anything you want to share?
The Frederick Center fills a gap for the central Maryland LGBTQ community, which has issues and needs that mirror but are distinct from those of Washington, DC, and Baltimore, MD. The Frederick Center just finished a Community Needs Assessment and will continue moving towards addressing the issues and activities surfaced by that research. In parallel, all LGBTQ community members are encouraged to get added to the Frederick Center e-mail list, join Frederick Center as a member, help out as a volunteer, take advantage of the Youth Services and Adult Services activities, and participate in activities such as Pride. With this support comes the ability to expand services to our community, such as to members of the deaf LGBTQ community.
*Note: Both of the Frederick LGBTQ Community and the Deaf community can contact me at jharbaugh.LGBTQ@gmail.com so I can pass on needs and wants to the Board of the Frederick LGBTQ Community Center.
Jennifer Harbaugh writes a regular column for fredericknewspost.com.