This is Letters issue number three in our 25th Anniversary celebration year for our magazine and for CAMP Rehoboth. The past 25 years have been amazing ones for us here in Delaware: we’ve added LGBT to hate crime legislation; passed, first Civil Unions, and then Marriage Equality; passed employment, housing, and insurance non-discrimination laws; and added protection for our transgender community. Around the country, that is not always the case, as can be seen by the recent proliferation of “religious freedom” laws in conservative states—all of which seems to be coming to a head in Indiana where Governor Mike Pence (R) signed a bill that will allow individuals and corporations to use religious beliefs as a reason for discrimination. The outcry from across the country has been ferocious, and corporations and celebrities are threatening boycotts and cancelling events—Angie’s List is even cancelling a major expansion project. The power of the purse has made Governor Pence rethink his decision, but he will not go so far as to protect LGBT people. We have made a great deal of progress over the last 25 years, but this reminds us that there is still work to be done. Even those of us lucky enough to live in a state like Delaware, must not forget that the most effective form of protest is still when we stand up and speak out loudly against discrimination in whatever form it takes.
In celebration of LGBT Health Week, CAMP Rehoboth recently hosted an LGBT Health weekend at the CAMP Rehoboth Community Center. The brainchild of our Health Services Director Sal Seeley, the weekend was a big success (thanks Sal!). The highlight for me was a Transgendered Service of Remembrance and Awareness. As I said in my welcome at the beginning of that Service, all too often in the history of LGBT rights, we’ve not been successful in including the “T” in our progress. We’ve changed that in Delaware, but there is still a lot of work to be done in the area of transgender rights and acceptance. Murray has more to say about the Service in his CAMPmatters column.
I’m pleased to report that this summer CAMP Rehoboth is producing our first Family Pride CAMP June 26-28. The event will feature a weekend of activities for LGBT families, beginning with a Welcome Party at the CAMP Rehoboth Community Center on Friday, a beach outing and box lunch on Saturday (as well as other activities and an adult dinner that night), and a Farewell BBQ on Sunday. A special thanks to Mark Bromley and David Salie for chairing the CAMP Rehoboth Family Pride CAMP. Details about the event and how to register will be available by late April. Email me for information.
In Rehoboth Beach, April is officially Women’s FEST month! April 9-12 will see the return of hundreds of women to the Rehoboth area to celebrate the 15th CAMP Rehoboth Women’s FEST. With terrific entertainers, workshops, parties, sporting events, dances and more, it’s always one of the high points in the CAMP calendar year. Like all the events we do, much of the work for Women’s FEST is volunteer driven; thank you to the FEST Committee and all the volunteers and sponsors who make Women’s FEST happen. One final note: a recent addition to the FEST entertainment lineup is a revival production of The Vagina Monologues directed by our own Fay Jacobs and starring Jane Bruns, Stacey Fearheiley and Eloise Ullman. Seating is limited so order tickets now!
Heading into the summer season is always a busy time for all of us at CAMP Rehoboth, and very little of what we do as an organization would happen without our many volunteers. On Saturday, April 18 from 5-7 p.m., at our Paradise Island themed Volunteer Appreciation party we will honor all the volunteers who make the work of CAMP Rehoboth possible. Email RSVP.