LGBT family fun day provides medicine for deep wounds

LGBT family fun day provides medicine for deep wounds

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - There's nothing like a day at the pool to create a little fun with the family - any family.

"We have families, we want to have fun," said Molly Kester. "We want to experience the same thing that everybody else does."

Sunday's LGBT Family Fun day was organized by the Gulf Coast Equality Council at Gulf Islands Water Park in Gulfport. Organizers wanted to provide a sense of togetherness and acceptance in the shadow of another rejection from the president.

"We want to give back to the community," said council member John Perkins. "We want to get families involved. We have a lot LGBT families and parents have their children to bring out and just have a fun time."

And, advocates say it's especially important given the current political climate. Most recently, President Donald Trump's tweets rejecting transgender servicemen and women from military service.

"It makes me feel bad that the Commander in Chief has deemed me a second-class citizen unworthy of serving after I basically swore my life for 20 years to protect everybody in this country," said Kester, who served in the Air Force.

Some see it as a bait and switch - a stab in the back - after Trump's promises of support during the campaign.

"We've seen pretty much non-stop since he was put into office that it's the exact opposite of that," said participant Jana Riley. "That he's not only ignoring our basic rights, but taking steps to take those rights away from us."

But, Riley sees this family event as a comfort zone.

"No matter what's going on with the country or the White House - we live in a community that we truly are supported and where we can bring our kids out to a day like this and not have anyone make us feel uncomfortable or unwelcome," she said.

As a psychiatric professional, Scott Rogers sees effects of rejection all the time among young people.

"It horrifies me the aspect that they feel like they're alone, that they feel like they're not part of anything," Rogers said. "And this is one of those major steps in trying to provide an inclusiveness, some community."

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