“Chiriquí Rainbow Community” for LGBT and Friends/Family Group and Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast

Blog by Terry Richmeier

 

This past year, in January of 2014, Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast hosted an Open House so that we could let the Boquete Community and neighbors know who we are and that we are here to be a part of the community and the “spirit” of Boquete! Ever since that day, the people of Boquete have welcomed us with open arms and made us feel right at home!

                We also found that there are several people who are living in the Province of Chiriquí that are LGBT folks who really want to be part of an affirming community. Also, there have been many LGBT travelers to the Boquete and the Chiriquí region in general. This need spawned the idea of establishing a group that would be dedicated to creating an affirming community of ALL the people living in the Chiriquí region regardless of their affectional preferences. Chiriqui Rainbow Community was formed in March 2014 as a group that welcomes all individuals who believe in diversity and inclusion.lgbt1

With our newly created community came many challenges. Initially some people were hesitant to attend the meetings and outings for fear of being “found out”. Their concerns fast disappeared once they learned that the group had individuals of all different affectional preferences and that people were very accepting and that they didn’t need to share anything personal if they did not want to. Friends and family members of LGBT folks began to attend our monthly meetings as well. We initially had some struggles with combining Spanish speaking Panamanians and English speaking Ex-pats. We took on this challenge by making sure we have interpreters in each of our meetings who know both languages. We thought that we would have people pushing back against LGBT people, however, this issue has never presented itself.

                Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast wanted to make sure that LGBT visitors who are coming to stay in our region of Panama for a short while or are considering making Chiriqui their home, those LGBT people would have a community when they arrived. Our group took on that challenge and we have several LGBT people on the list who would welcome the opportunity to meet with you at a coffee shop, or have lunch with you and talk to you about Boquete or Panama in general. We have a contact list that we can set up some time for you to talk with local LGBT people and families.lgbt2

                Since March we have participated in many activities such as: community meetings; swimming pool parties, guest speakers on subjects such as AIDS and depiction of gays in the media, and even a lawyer who talked spousal and partnership rights in Panama. We have created a Boquete.ning.com page a Facebook page under Chiriquí Rainbow Community and hope that you will “like” and “follow” us on both of these pages.

                Soon in 2015 the “Chiriqui Rainbow Community” group is planning on donating a big town clock for the Boquete Central Park. We will be participating in community services, taking a trip together for the Pride Parade in Panama City, organize more pool parties, and a botanical Cloud Forest tour and bon fire. We are encouraging and supporting Panamanians who are closeted or feel unsupported to join our group and establish mutual support and friendship.

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The Chiriquí Rainbow Community is well established and is always welcoming new local members and even people who are just visiting. If you are planning a trip to Boquete, Panama, or the Chiriquí Region, please contact us so we can invite you to the next meeting or have you meet gay or lesbian local people. At Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast, we offer a discount rate if you inform us prior to booking that you found us through “Purple Roofs”. See the web-link: www.purpleroofs.com http://purpleroofs.com/centralamerica/panama.html . Please plan your stay with us and we will be happy to assist in setting up tours and excursions. Remember to time your visit so you can attend one of our monthly Chiriqui Rainbow Community meeting or a fun outing! Remember, you don’t have to be LGBT to attend these meetings and outings or to stay at Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast. We respect and welcome people from all walks of life and look forward to meeting you!

 

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