EQFL Family Values Picnic
Date(s) - 10/15/17
2:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Gulfport Beach Park
Come Out and Celebrate YOUR Family
In today’s world Susie may be being raised by a mom and a dad, but she might also be being raised by two moms, two dads, one mom, one dad, other relatives or by others not related by blood. And of course many people have “families of choice” too. Whatever family means to you, the new Come Out St. Pete Celebration has an event geared toward celebrating them. The Equality Florida Family Values Potluck Picnic is scheduled for Sunday, October 15 from 2-6 pm at Pavillion #7 on Gulfport Beach.
There is playground connected to the Pavillion so kids should have plenty to do, plus plans call for a sandcastle building contest, an old fashioned egg toss and other fun games. In addition, representatives from the popular Circus McGurkis childrens’ art table will be on hand to help children create animal masks noting that all creatures are part of Earth’s family of life. There will be a plywood “tree” where participants can add leaves with notes on them about what family means to them as we build our own “family tree”. Participants are asked to bring their favorite family dish to share. Please be sure to bring serving cutlery. No alcoholic beverages are allowed. While organizers know that for many animals are part of their family Gulfport city ordinances do not allow dogs on the beach.
“For members of the LGBTQ community especially families are often non-traditional in nature,” said Greg Stemm, chairman of the event. “For some too there are strained relationships because some parents and other relatives are not accepting of them, so for many of us our families of choice are just as important as those blood ties. Traditional or non-traditional this is a truly family friendly event where we can be who we are as we come out and celebrate what family means to each of us.” Stemm, who is a resident of Gulfport said having the event in his community was even more appropriate. Residents of this small LGBTQ friendly arts community often refer to themselves as the “Gulfport Family.”
In addition to the planned activities there will be several family friendly organizations with tables and literature so you can learn what resources are available to families of all types. Plans call for event sponsor Equality Florida, Family Resources, the Metro Center, the LGBTQ Resource Center of the Gulfport Library, Moms Demand Action for Common Sense Gun Law Reform, Gulfport Neighbors, Gulfport Merchants Association and others plan to be on hand. The event is also planned as a memorial tribute to Robin Hankins, an early equal rights advocate and staff member of Equality Florida who produced the first Family Values picnic as part of the inaugural St. Pete Pride Celebration in 2003. Hankins died of breast cancer a few years ago.
Come Out St. Pete’s mission is to inspire the LGBTQ+ community to live genuinely and raise awareness of the LGBTQ+ issues and encourage public support from LGBTQ+ allies. Equality is at the forefront of all COSP initiatives and events, specifically in regard to sexual orientation and gender identity.