Out On The Lakeshore Statement Regarding Family Central and Focus on the Family:
We at Out On The Lakeshore celebrate that the City of Holland continues to grow into an increasingly vibrant and inclusive community, acknowledging and valuing the diversity of people who live, work, and play here. As a sign of that growth and by a nearly unanimous vote, in August of 2020 City Council adopted one of the most comprehensive non-discrimination ordinances in the State of Michigan, an action that was also publicly supported by over seventy local faith leaders.
Hope College recently abolished its long-standing and discriminatory sexuality policy, one that had painfully divided that campus community for years. Out On The Lakeshore’s annual Pride celebration has grown to a huge community celebration, receiving widespread sponsorship, support, and participation. Rainbows are visible in many downtown businesses and in organizations up and down the Lakeshore and this summer in Holland, June was named “PRIDE Month” by Mayoral declaration. LGBTQ+ people and their families are grateful that this community has become a safer, more welcoming place to be!
And so we at OOTL are disappointed to learn that Focus on the Family is opening a Family Central store in downtown Holland, one of only two such stores in the entire country.
Focus on the Family has a long history of not only opposing LGBTQ+ rights and inclusion but also promoting and funding harmful practices such as conversion therapy. They have published and spread false information about LGBTQ+ people and issues. Focus on the Family is against same-sex marriage and adoption by LGBTQ+ parents, and promotes the discredited assumption that same-sex attraction is “preventable” and “treatable.”
As a response to the opening of Family Central, Out On The Lakeshore encourages you to support local bookstores that promote diversity, inclusion, and mental health. Reader’s World and the Bluestocking Bookshop are just two of the many active supporters of Holland’s vitality, diversity, equity, and inclusion.
To be clear, Out On The Lakeshore is not opposed to faith-based organizations. Our longest and some of our strongest supporters are local LGBTQ+ affirming churches and religious leaders for whom Holland is home. Out On The Lakeshore recognizes that faith, LGBTQ+ sexuality, and gender identity are not in-compatible and that in combination, are actually life-giving for many.
All LGBTQ+ people, their families, and allies are encouraged to visit outonthelakeshore.org, stop in during Out On The Lakeshore’s Community Center open hours on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, or contact us via phone or email for any resources or support needed.