Guest post by Amity P. Buxton, PhD. Founder, Straight Spouse Network. Emeritus Board Member, Family Equality Council.
Back in the 90’s, I attended my first Family Week in Provincetown and had so much fun. Everyone was open and sharing, interesting and interested. Whether walking on the beach, playing in the water, shopping along the main street, exploring art galleries, or stopping for a drink or ice cream cone along the beach, every family was having a good time. By everyone, I mean the two moms with their son building his first sandcastle on the beach, the two dads walking and holding their children’s hands as they explored the shops on Commercial Street, and the clusters of parents and kids doing a variety of things together or separately everywhere I looked.
I first attended Family Week to give a workshop for LGBT parents who had been or were still in a heterosexual marriage. At the time, the organization was called the Gay and Lesbian Parents Coalition International, but more than parents were there. Kids of LGBT parents were there, too, some with their parents and some as part of their own organization. Family Week, indeed, meant time and space for all family members to be together for a single purpose: celebrating families, from toddlers to former straight spouses, to single parents, to couples to everything in between.
As a Family Equality Council Board Member for over six years, it was especially rewarding to participate in Family Week. Each summer, I saw the results of our planning and integrating new ideas into the week of programs. Just as Family Equality Council has evolved as an organization to meet the needs of the LGBT community, so has Family Week. Now, the event has an assortment of both social and informational programming—parent cafes on important issues, affinity gatherings like our interfaith mixer and trans* parents gathering, and youth adventures in dance, athletics, photography, and the environment. And, as always, signature events that have been around for years are still there, like my favorites: the welcome brunch, family unity and pride parade, bonfire, farewell picnic, and family dance.
I can’t wait to go back this year to catch up with old friends and meet new ones, soak up the Cape Cod sun that I’ve treasured since childhood, and, if anyone’s interested, share what I’ve learned about successful co-parenting with straight spouses formerly married to LBGT parents. Most of all, I’ll be going to experience the wonderful and heartwarming camaraderie of Family Week.