By Dawn Wolfe Gutterman
ANN ARBOR – After helping give birth to several lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender family events around the country, the national organization Family Pride Coalition has midwifed a local group, Rainbow Families Great Lakes, to carry on the tradition of offering supportive space to LGBT-headed families.
Last summer, Rainbow Families worked with Children Of Lesbians And Gays Everywhere to host Family Week Saugatuck, an annual event that is attended by “about fifty families,” according to Event Coordinator and Program Development Coordinator Johanna Mabry, an Ann Arbor psychotherapist and mother of two children with her partner of ten years. The 2005 Family Week featured events ranging from fun social activities to workshops designed to help children in LGBT-headed families network with each other and learn strategies to increase acceptance of diverse families in their respective communities.
“2005 was the first time that Saugatuck week was completely run by local volunteer families from Saugatuck, South East Michigan, Chicago, Indiana, and other Midwest cities,” Mabry said.
Now, this group of volunteers is seeking help from the larger LGBT family. On Saturday, Oct. 29, Rainbow Families Great Lakes will present Family F.U.N. (Families Uniting Now) Day to raise funds for the 2006 Family Week Saugatuck.
The fundraiser will begin with a brunch at autBAR, followed by games, a huge silent auction and a family dance with a D.J.
Over $7,500 worth of products and services have been donated to the auction, according to Mabry.
“I’m amazed at the outpouring of support for the Family F.U.N. Day. There have been many local corporations, businesses and individuals who have donated items and money to support this event,” she said. Bidding for auction items will begin at 25 percent of their retail value.
A portion of the event proceeds will be donated to an LGBT-family supportive organization working on behalf of Hurricane Katrina survivors, Mabry said.
Mabry stressed the importance of supporting the LGBT family movement.
“Children of LGBT families and the LGBT family movement, which includes supporting gay marriage, needs the single and coupled LGBT people in our community to come out to these events to show their support both emotionally and financially,” she said.
Mabry’s invitation isn’t limited to the LGBT community.
“We want to call out to the heterosexual community, to families and individuals with progressive values, as we fight for the rights of all families in the state,” she said. “No matter how diverse or accepting you think your city is, that doesn’t mean we need to stay inside our own houses. We need to come out and show our support.”