LGBTQ South Florida

COLAGE, for people with LGBT parents, to convene Sunday at Pride Center in Wilton Manors

The Bloom family at an Equality Florida awards event in 2013: From left, former state Rep. Elaine Bloom, her son David Bloom, his husband Damian McNamara and their sons Dawson and Donovan.
The Bloom family at an Equality Florida awards event in 2013: From left, former state Rep. Elaine Bloom, her son David Bloom, his husband Damian McNamara and their sons Dawson and Donovan. srothaus@miamiherald.com / file

COLAGE, a national organization that “unites people with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer parents into a network of peers,” will present a full-day of family programming Sunday at the Pride Center in Wilton Manors.

“I am excited to announce that the only organization that is run by and for people with LGBTQ parents (COLAGE) is coming to the Pride Center on Oct. 18th,” Dr. Sheri P Ashcraft, a Coral Gables psychologist, writes in an email to the Miami Herald. “COLAGE co-sponsors Family Week in Provincetown.”

COLAGE, Children of Lesbians and Gays Everywhere, began 20 years ago in San Francisco, a spinoff of a small group that evolved at an early Family Equality Council meeting.

“My older son Dawson has attended COLAGE camp at Family Week in Provincetown since he was in third grade when they started it,” said David Bloom of Miami, who with husband Damian McNamara is raising sons, Dawson, now 16, and Donovan, 13.

“COLAGE brings together children with LGBTQ parents and it provides them with a network to empower them to be self-confident leaders in our communities,” Bloom said. “There are hundreds of different types of families out there. ... Children have to learn that these differences can lead to growth. It’s just different type of family. It’s not a plus or a minus. It’s just different.”

Bloom said that when he and McNamara decided to have children, “we expected we’d encounter negativity along the way.”

“But in the 16 years we’ve been parents, we just haven’t. We’ve encountered naivete. People have asked silly questions,” he said. “But in South Florida, it is rare for someone not to know a child with LGBTQ parents.”

Hundreds of families participate in groups like South Florida Family Pride, Ashcraft told the Herald.

“Children have their own identities. What COLAGE does is provides a special and unique place for children and teens of LGBTQ parents, to really articulate their own experience,” said Ashcraft, who with wife Suzana Simoes is raising a boy and a girl, ages 5 and 6. “I’m really involved as a parent in supporting COLAGE’s work. ... Ideally, part of the mission of Sunday is community building amidst the teens and the kids.”

“Empowering LGBTQ Families” will be presented 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday by COLAGE, South Florida Family Pride, and the Pride Center, 2040 N. Dixie Hwy., Wilton Manors.

“Our programming focuses on creative expression, opportunities to connect with others who share similar family structures, as well community building and lots of fun,” according to the registration website.

Programs on Sunday will be available to boys and girls ages 8 to 18 who have one or more LGBTQ parent. Among the events: unveiling a new children’s playground built at the Pride Center and a youth/adult panel discussion at 3 p.m. In addition, there will be programming for adults, including a parent café, afternoon film and panel discussion, said Ashcraft, who is co-presenting the event.

Steve Rothaus: 305-376-3770, @SteveRothaus

If you go

▪ What: ‘Empowering LGBTQ Families

▪ When: 10 a.m to 4:30 p.m. Sunday

▪ Where: The Pride Center at Equality Park, 2040 N. Dixie Hwy., Wilton Manors

▪ Cost: Free. Lunch will be provided. To register, visit http://hrld.us/1PgHnD0

Empowering LGBTQ Families is presented by COLAGE, South Florida Family Pride, and the Pride Center. For more information, email Robin Marquis at robin@colage.org or Richard Alalouf at South Florida Family Pride, Richard@southfloridafamilypride.org.

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