PFLAG Columbia-Howard County is an all-volunteer organization lead by its Steering Committee:
Matt Thorn, Chapter Chair
Matthew is a leading fundraising and nonprofit management professional. He has worked with the homeless, arts, education, developmentally disabled and LGBT communities. He has worked with numerous local, state and federal candidates raising funds for their election campaigns. Matt has lectured and provided advisement for companies, candidates and nonprofits on business practices, management, board development and sponsorships. Matt is a graduate of the The Catholic University of American in Washington, DC with his Bachelor’s in International Relations. Matt sits on a variety of Boards of state and national organizations and volunteers his time to a variety of progressive and social change nonprofits and advocacy groups. He can be contacted at 202.200.0153 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pat English, Membership Coordinator; Former Chapter Chair (2009 – 2011)
An active member of PFLAG and the Steering Committee since December 2000, Pat English has long served as our membership coordinator. She and her family participated in this chapter’s outstanding documentary video, “Under Pressure,” about the journey toward acceptance of our children. Pat served as chapter chair between January 2009 and December 2011.
Susan Garner, Recording Secretary
Sue was a school psychologist with the Howard County Public School System for 38 years before retiring in 2012. She continues her involvement in training HCPSS staff and university graduate students on “Creating a Safe School Environment for LGBTQ Students.” She served as sponsor for the Gay-Straight Alliance at Glenelg High School. She joined the Steering Committee in 2010. Her work was instrumental in achieving the recent first-ever mandatory training for all school psychologists in the Howard County School system and getting a GLSEN safe schools kit into every student services office in the system. Sue speaks and trains on the challenges facing our LGBT students and what the school system can do to support them.
Judy Gaver, Parent Forum Facilitator
Judy has been an active member of PFLAG since 2001, after learning that her oldest son was gay. For Judy, it came as surprise, but she immediately sought out PFLAG and soon found all the educational resources she needed, along with support and sharing with other parents of LGBTQ children. Judy now facilitates the Parents’ Forum, which meets monthly for parents and caregivers of LGBTQ children of all ages. She feels it is important to be able to offer to others the support, comfort, caring and understanding she received during the early days of her journey to awareness and acceptance. Judy is a Carroll County resident and by day, works for the Circuit Court as a Caseworker for the Community Service Program. She has been a panel member for many PFLAG presentations to various companies and organizations and can be reached at email@example.com or 410.848.5705.
Heath Goisovich, Co-Chair Advocacy; Events Coordinator
A member of PFLAG since 2001, Heath organizes our advocacy work at the county level and also handles various social events that we host. Most recently Heath helped pass a Gender Identity law in Howard County and has worked with the Howard County School Board on the issue of LGBT bullying. During the day he works as a recruiter and office manager for a local small business and in the evening attends UMUC, where he is working on his master’s degree in Environmental and Waste Management. He also attends Howard County Community College where he is learning to speak Spanish. Heath serves on the Policy Advisory Board of Gender Rights Maryland. Heath can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 443.977.9757.
June Horner, Librarian and Co-Treasurer
June Horner is a long-time PFLAG mom who discovered her beloved son way gay back in the 80s, and was horrified about the discovery. She knew three things, though: she knew her son was a good person, she knew he did not choose this, and she knew she needed to get educated. So she researched and found PFLAG and has been active in many chapters ever since. Most recently she help found the newest Maryland chapter, Westminster-Carroll County, in 2011 and she is active in their chapter as well as Columbia-Howard County.
Catherine V. Hyde, Transgender Coordinator
Catherine did not listen to her child when he, at the age of 4, told her that something had gone wrong in her belly and that he was supposed to be a she. She did not understand transgender or gender identity until NPR educated her 11 years later. Today, she speaks and trains on transgender understanding and sensitivity. In her day job, Catherine is director of Online Services for the national nonprofit Enterprise Community Partners. Catherine also serves on the Public Advisory Board of Gender Rights Maryland. Contact her at email@example.com or 410.493.3443.
Eric Masten, Safe Schools Coordinator
Prior to joining the Steering Committee in 2011, Eric spent four years working as the federal lobbyist for the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network advocating on safe schools and other LGBT policy issues. He has extensive experience on policy advocacy, training, and GSA/student club support. Within Maryland Eric has been an active volunteer with Equality Maryland on advocating for LGBT rights. Currently, he works as Policy & Program Coordinator for Generations United on education and other issues, and supporting the work of the National Center on Grandfamilies. He lives with his partner of ten years and their two cats in Odenton, and enjoys spending time with friends and exploring Maryland.
Perryn Morris, Rainbow Youth & Allies Co-Facilitator
Perryn is a former Rainbow Youth member who attended as a kid while his mom was active in PFLAG as a parent. Today Perryn is paying it forward with our Rainbow Youth Group, offering adult supervision to this social gathering of 12-22 year old lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth and their friends and allies.
Crystal Ogar, Rainbow Youth & Allies Co-Facilitator
Crystal too is a former Rainbow Youth member who is paying it forward with our Rainbow Youth Group, offering adult supervision to this social gathering of 12-22 year old lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth and their friends and allies.
Hunter Thompson, Transgender Coordinator
When Hunter was born, there was little to no understanding of transgender adults, much less children. So Hunter did not come to an understanding of himself until adulthood, after marrying and bearing three children. Since transitioning, Hunter has a full understanding of the special challenges adults have as the recast themselves in their true identity and navigate the challenges of society with a new name and gender marker. As such, Hunter offers a wealth of support and understanding for transgender adults in the area. Hunter presents on panels discussing the special challenges of trans people and transitioning in adulthood.