Family Equality Council and COLAGE Set For Family Week, 2014

Family Equality Council®, the national organisation which represents the three million parents who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer in the United States and their six million children of all ages, and COLAGE, the only national organisation for and by people with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer parents, are gearing up for Family Week, 2014.

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Family Equality Council
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The event is set for July 26th through August 2nd on iconic Cape Cod in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

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Family Week attracts hundreds of families from across the globe who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer, and their children, extended families, prospective families, and friends. It was started 19 years ago by a small group of gay dads, eager to find and build community with other families like theirs. It began as a very small, backyard-style, gathering – long before the advent of social networking.

“Family Week gives LGBTQ families the chance to create lasting bonds, get more empowered to share stories that will open hearts and minds back in their own communities, and raise their collective voices to create social justice for all families, said Family Equality Council® Executive Director, Gabriel Blau. “It is also designed to bring families and friends together to relax, celebrate one another and renew their commitment to creating a better world for our community of LGBTQ parents and their families.”

As one Family Equality Council affiliated mom put it, “I love to see our children as excited as we are to get together for a fabulous week of fun, celebration, and pride.” And another mom noted, “It’s truly life-changing for the kids to meet other kids with families just like theirs.”

Traditional Family Week favourite activities include the Beach Picnic and Campfire, Family Pride Parade, Multi-Racial Ice Cream Social, Movie Night and Pajama Party, Farewell Dance and much, much more.

“Family Week fosters lifelong friendships and provides a safe space to support empowerment, dialog, and connections for youth in LGBTQ families,” said COLAGE Executive Director, Annie Van Avery. “Whether through discussions of relevant issues for teens, on the ball field, or through an art workshop, we have found over these many years providing youth programming at Family Week, that connecting with peers who share a deep understanding of your child’s experience as well as adult mentors who are also people with LGBTQ parents is a powerful and life changing opportunity.”

From gatherings for those ages 4 and under, to Kidapalooza for ages 3-8, to youth empowerment programs for ages 8-18, Family Week offers daily programming for all children to gain community and have fun with other children with families like theirs. “Our sons, ages 6 and 4, rave about the face painting, the bouncy house and being able to see all of their friends,” an enthusiastic parent remarked. “Weeks in advance, they even pretend they’re driving to Ptown.”

There are also several meet-ups for members of Family Equality’s Outspoken Generation®, a program empowering individuals with LGBTQ parents (those typically ages teen through young adult and older) to build community and to share their stories. The gatherings feature discussion topics ranging from how to share your story – to how to leverage your voice through mixed mediums. Complimentary to this gathering, the COLAGE youth panel culminates the week of exceptional programs, offering an opportunity for the community to hear directly from the voices of young people in LGBTQ families.

“I think it’s important to educate kids about their families and show them that they aren’t alone as kids with queer parents,” said a COLAGE affiliated 12-year-old. “I learned that it’s important to take pride in your family and to stand up for what you believe in.”

In addition, Family Week will be hosting its third annual Grandparents’ Gathering. This is a chance to honour and thank the supportive grandparents of our community, and showcase one of Family Equality Council’s newest programs, Pearls of Wisdom. It’s a time to connect them with one another and offer them opportunities to speak out about their experiences as LGBTQ grandparents or grandparents to children who have LGBTQ parents. Additional workshops throughout the week offer opportunities for grandparents to connect around their experiences.

For more information about Family Week, visit the websites of Family Equality Council®, and COLAGE:

www.familyequality.org/get_involved/events/annual_events/family_week/

www.colage.org/family-week/

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