LIHU‘E — While Kaua‘i is known for its sandy beaches, unparalleled beauty and aloha spirit, members of Parents, Families, & Friends of Lesbians and Gays and Lambda Aloha are creating another reason for people to visit Kaua‘i.
The two organizations are co-sponsoring Kaua‘i Pride 2011, the largest gay pride celebration on Kaua‘i.
The three-day event runs from June 10 to June 12 at Kaua‘i Beach Resort in Lihu‘e.
Throughout the weekend both organizations will host family-friendly activities including an outdoor movie night, a bonfire on the beach, a dance party and potluck featuring games and activities for children.
The first Kaua‘i Pride celebration was held in 1993 as a one-day affair. This year marks the first time the event spans an entire weekend.
“For me, I think this year with the passing of civil unions, the LGBT community is more energized,” said David Perry, a member of Lambda Aloha and PFLAG. “It brings everyone together, including the youth and families.”
The Kaua‘i chapter of PFLAG was founded three years ago to provide support to members of the LGBT community, their friends and family while providing education to end discrimination. Lambda Aloha was founded 18 years ago to provide social interaction within the LGBT community and support advocacy.
Perry added that the event is designed to raise awareness of inclusiveness within the Kaua‘i community.
“The (LGBT) community is starting to feel better in terms of being more visible,” said Renae Hamilton, executive director at the YWCA and radio host of the KKCR show Free 2 Be.
The Kaua‘i Pride celebration isn’t exclusive to the LGBT community. Friends, family members and visitors are welcome to the event whether they are gay, straight or questioning.
In the midst of the weekend’s festivities, Michael Golojuch will be sharing a proclamation Sunday from Governor Neil Abercrombie declaring June as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex and Questioning Pride month.
Department of Education Superintendent Bill Arakaki and D.O.E. Mokihana Supervisor Deb Ulman will also be honored Sunday for their dedication providing a safe learning environment for all of Kaua‘i’s students.
While gay marriage and civil unions are hot-button issues across the country, Perry and Hamilton said that neither one of them witnessed opposition to Kaua‘i Pride.
“Most families have someone who is gay, and you love them because they are your family,” Perry said.
The Gay Straight Alliance of Kapa‘a High School will be at the event selling T-shirts that say “Straight Up Against Hate” in addition to bracelets and necklaces. Members of the student organization will be hosting children’s activities during Sunday’s picnic.
To those who are facing harassment and discrimination, Perry and Hamilton both recommend finding a support system.
People can access PFLAG and Lambda Aloha online or through Facebook, where everything stays confidential.
“I think for kids, too, so much depends on their family’s reaction,” Hamilton said. “It helps to know that you are not alone. They can have support that they can rely on.”
Perry added he hopes this event creates a better sense of awareness and inclusiveness in the whole community and Hamilton wishes to foster a safe and secure environment for everyone to live in.
Hamilton hosts a radio show, Free 2 Be, on KKCR. The show is focused on LGBT issues and issues that impact everyone, and airs the fourth Monday every month from 5 to 6 p.m.
Visit www.LambdaAloha.com or www.free2be.com for more information. Call the Kaua‘i Beach Resort for a special group at 245-1955.
Schedule of events
Friday, June 10:
6 p.m.: A poolside Dive-In Movie, “Priscilla Queen of the Desert,” followed by a campfire on the beach with hot dogs and s’mores.
Saturday, June 11:
5-9 p.m.: Shopping in the lobby with local vendors and a silent action.
7 p.m. to midnight: A rainbow dance party in the ballroom. Be sure to wear white. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for students in advance or $25 at the door. Tickets can be purchased at YWCA in Lihu‘e, Talk Story in Hanapepe and Mahina Kai in Anahola.
Sunday, June 12:
11 a.m.: Family Fun Day Picnic at Marine Camp Beach south of the hotel.
Noon: Potluck lunch.
2 p.m.: Department of Education Superintendent Bill Arakaki and Mokihana Supervisor Deb Ulman will be honored. Proclamations from Governor Neil Abercrombie and county council will be presented, followed by games, volleyball, Zumba and other family-friendly activities.
• Andrea Frainier, lifestyle writer, can be reached at 245-3681, ext. 257 or afrainier@ thegardenisland.com.