Gay families express pride

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Hundreds of families from all over the world will gather in Provincetown for Family Pride’s annual Family Week, a week-long conference and family adventure from July 29-August 5 2006.

For the 11th consecutive year, Family Pride’s Family Week will provide a safe, vibrant and engaging space for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) parents and their children to gather.

Family Pride will recognise two exceptional families that have contributed to the visibility and rights of LGBT families nationwide. The families include the Brooklyn, couple that was instrumental in conceiving of and planning the group of LGBT families that attended the White House Easter Egg Roll and a New Jersey family that made history in that state by being granted the first “parent-parent” birth certificate.

“My family is looking forward to another amazing week in Provincetown,” said Jennifer Chrisler, executive director of Family Pride.

“It has been an extraordinary and challenging year for Family Pride and for our families, who find themselves in the crosshairs of political extremists and at the centre of the marriage equality debate,” Ms Chrisler said, “Family Week gives us an opportunity to gather and draw strength from each other as well as plan for the challenges we face this Fall in elections across the nation.”

Colleen Gillespie and Alisa Surkis were instrumental in the success of Family Pride’s participation in the 2006 White House Easter Egg Roll. The event garnered international and unprecedented media attention for LGBT families and was a historic moment for the LGBT community’s visibility.

“We are thrilled to be recognised for our work on the Easter Egg Roll,” said Colleen Gillespie and Alisa Surkis. “The idea of gathering a large group of LGBT families together at the Egg Roll came to us when we were feeling angry and discouraged with the world, but the idea so excited and inspired us we took on the role of organisers for the first time.”

“The overwhelmingly positive response to our participation in the White House Easter Egg Roll confirmed our belief that one of the most important assets we have is the simple truth of our lives, and that letting people see who are can change hearts and minds,” they concluded.

The Wall-Houk family has been a vanguard for LGBT families in their home state of New Jersey. David Wall-Houk adopted their daughter Liz as a single parent, then met and fell in love with Bob. Wanting the full rights and protections they deserve as a family, David and Bob teamed up with the ACLU to fight for Bob’s rights and won. The family’s persistence resulted in the first ever birth certificate with “parent-parent,” instead of “mother-father,” was issued in the state of New Jersey.

“We are thrilled, delighted, and quite honoured to receive this award-and also quite surprised,” said the Wall-Houk family upon hearing they would be award recipients, “We feel like we’re just being recognised for being who we are, for being proud as a family.”

Family Pride has once again invited COLAGE (Children of Lesbians and Gays Everywhere) to provide programming for youth nine years and older. COLAGE provides a fun, safe and supportive environment where youth with LGBT parents can connect with one another.

COLAGE will organise and facilitate several workshop for 3rd-5th graders, 6th-8th graders, and 9th graders and up, including topics such as: Bullying, Stereotyping, Separation Divorce, Spirituality/Religion, Activism, Media Work, Multiracial Issues, Coming out to others about having LGBT parents.

Family Pride’s Family Week sponsors include IBM, Capital One, Volvo, American Airlines, Growing Generations, Cultural Care Au Pair, Crew Creative, R Family Vacations, Cape Air, Walt Disney World Resorts® and Bay Windows.