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Harassed LGBT Family Become Honored Guests At Family Week!
Gilbert, AZ Family that was focus of harassment, vandalism in their community is celebrated at nation’s largest gathering of LGBT families
Boston, MA – (Aug. 6, 2012) – Family Equality Council, the national organization that connects, supports, and represents the one million parents who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) and their two million children, proudly honored a family who fought back against harassment in their Arizona community at Family Week in Provincetown this past weekend.
The Bermea family was sponsored to attend this year’s Family Week through generous donations during a recent fundraising campaign. During their visit, they were the honored grand marshals of the Family Week parade.
“When we heard their story, we had to get involved,” said Family Equality Council Director of Programs Brent Wright. “We joined the Bermeas in their efforts to make their community safer. But we also wanted to give this family a chance to be part of a community, at least for a week, where they would be loved, accepted, and celebrated – and that’s why we asked the Bermea family to be our guests at Family Week in Provincetown.”
Felix Bermea, his partner Roy Messerschmidt of Gilbert, Arizona and their four children recently endured three months of threatening phone calls, property vandalism and break-ins to their home. Because of their untiring advocacy, the local police department has now committed itself to working closely with the family and others who believe they are the victims of bias crimes.
“After this spring, and everything they’d been through at home, my kids were scared to ride their bikes around the block, scared to sleep in their own rooms,” said Bermea. “To see them at Family Week – running around with other children, laughing, playing. As fathers, we can’t express how important that was for them, and what it meant for us, to realize our children really were going to be okay after all… it was incredible.”
The 17th annual event, held from July 28th to August 4th in Provincetown, MA, attracted more than 600 family members and is considered the largest gathering of LGBT families in the country.