ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - A new effort is underway to brand Orlando as a welcoming destination for gay families.
An event attracting hundreds of gay families to Orlando this week gets underway Wednesday.
Outfest is expected to draw 1,000 gay families to Orlando. That is far fewer than the tens of thousands Gay Days attracts, but Outfest organizers said the number of gay families is growing rapidly in Florida.
While Gay Days attracts thousands of gay singles and couples to Orlando the first week of June each year, the first week of July is now meant to cater to gay families.
"It's an exposure and shows our families are just like everyone else," said Outfest participant Michelle Binkewicz.
Binkewicz plans to bring her wife and 5-year-child to the theme parks this week.
"(My daughter) has only been to Disney World once. (She's) excited to go this week. She is totally into the princesses like any other 5-year-old and super excited," said Binkewicz.
Organizers said that they hope that when people see gay families all wearing red they will become more accepting of issues like gay marriage.
"LGBT families are no different than anyone else, only difference is you have two same
-sex partners," said Mikael Audebert, director of Converge Orlando. "Outside of that, education issues are the same, kids still want to come to Disney and Universal. "
While Disney World has never officially put its name behind Gay Days, Disney is sponsoring Family Outfest.
Participants are encouraged to visit the Animal Kingdom on Wednesday, EPCOT on Thursday
, and the Magic Kingdom on Friday.
Saturday there will be a festival at Lake Ivanhoe in Orlando, followed by fireworks.