Monday, June 30, 2008

An Open Letter to Family Equality Council

I am posting the following for public discourse because:

1. I know others are in a similar position and frustrated, and I figure it doesn't hurt to communicate to one another what it is we are doing to resolve the matter so that we can share our needs with the Family Equality Council with some unity.

2. I would love it if anyone with more information or details in regard to any of the items mentioned in this letter would come share them in the comments section here so we can start to collect all information floating around out there...just in case the council is unable to respond in time.

Dear Family Equality Council,

My family and I have recently moved to Massachusetts. Last week, I heard about Family Week in Provincetown. I am interested. However, as I am not yet “in the know,” I am finding it more than a little frustrating to get more information.

I need to do some basic planning in order to attend, and I can’t wait until the last minute for most of the planning. For example, I will be taking some time off work to attend. I don’t have a full week I can take off, but I can get one or two days at least. I need to figure out which day(s) will be most fun for the particular members of my family. And I need to make this decision in time to arrange for time off. I also need to do some financial preparation for this event. I will need time to "save my pennies," so to speak.

From some conversations online with other folks in similar positions, it seems I am not alone. So while I would love a response with pertinent information via email, what I would appreciate even more (and ultimately I think it will save you from having to answer too many repeat questions from different people via email and phone), is if you posted the following on your website:

  • Under “frequently asked questions” you post the question: “What is family week?” The answer you provide is a little helpful, but I am still unclear. Is it a conference? A festival? A structured collection of inter-related but independent events?

  • Could you please post a preliminary schedule of the events with a brief one-three sentence description of each? I understand that details may still be under development, but even something tentative that could be grown as the details become more firm would be extremely helpful in asking for days off from work, for example, or gaining my children's investment in the event as another example. Again, please post any information you have available, even if you will need to add more information later or need to reserve the right to change any information.

  • Could you provide information about whether the registration fee applies to those attending only part of the week (say, one-three days), and if so, whether it is prorated?

  • In the schedule of events, could you list any cost associated with the event, and note whether this is a fee charged only to those who are unregistered or to everyone (a cost on top of the registration)?

  • For those who are not able to come for the registration period, could you specify whether or not we have a specific location where we will need to go to pay fees or check in when we arrive. For example, if my family is arriving on Tuesday, do we go straight to the first event we plan to attend, or should we go to a main location first?

  • Could you provide more details about the registration cost? Does the registration cover all members of the family? Is it a suggested donation or a required fee? Is there a sliding scale or scholarship program? If I make a donation in addition to my registration fee, can I specify that it be used as a “scholarship” for someone who can’t afford the fee?
Thanks for your help. I am on your email list to receive updates as they become available, but I am anxious to make sure my family’s participation is not precluded due to a delay in necessary details.

And finally, thank you so very, very much for your work on behalf of our families and for this event which sounds so lovely and must be so much work!



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