I remember the first Blogging for LGBT Families Day, Dana (Mombian) wasn't sure about how to approach it and emailed me and we discussed it and I encouraged her to just dive in and do it. Now, 4 years later, it is like this huge event with hundreds of LGBT parents blogging their lives, sponsors and no sign of slowing down. Congrats to Dana for creating something so profound and important for our community.
Our family consists of me, my husband Toney and our daughter Kristin, 6 years old. We were married during the brief window of legal opportunity in California, where we reside. To get a synopsis of our life, check out my blog, I've been blogging our gay family life since Kristin was in diapers.
I think what I want to point out this time, is how Prop 8 changed our little gay family, here in this conservative farming town of about a quarter million. Before Prop 8, it was just the three of us, living day to day, trying to get by and experiencing the shunning that many families can feel in a small-town mentality community where diversity and outsiders are frowned upon. This town had no organized gay community, no bars or other alcohol free meeting places, no LGBT family groups, no diversity center, no gay social events, absolutely nothing whatsoever.
In fact, it was why I turned to blogging originally, to find some other LGBT families, to find a sense of community and to have an online diary that hopefully like minded people would eventually come across.
Then Prop 8 came about. During the months leading up to Prop 8, about 6 LGBT people got together and starting making phone calls from the phone book, just calling everybody and urging them to vote no on Prop 8. That was it, that was this town's organized resistance. Well, Prop 8 passed and suddenly all the gay people in this town, us included, were royally pissed. Thankfully, Toney and I had gotten married during the window of opportunity, but it was a bittersweet moment. Was it to be taken from us? If not, it's still disheartening to know that other members of our community were now shut out. It made us feel like freaks in a zoo, the "special" gays who now fit in neither group. It was just all so wrong.
So Toney and I created a website for those 6 LGBT people and with the website, and the anger from Prop 8, they grew from 6 people to over 300. We are working on becoming a non-profit, we are organizing and we are on schedule to have a diversity center in this town by Thanksgiving. That is going from 6 people to having a center in one year's time. An incredible feat. We have social events, we rally and have protested in front of city hall and the courthouse. Kristin helps us make signs, and best of all, we have community now. We have met the best people in the world, passionate, caring and angry LGBT people. We have met other gay families with kids, so now Kristin finally has families she can relate to. I have been able to sit down with the moms and we discuss raising kids in this environment. A very supportive atmosphere where we can understand and relate to what each other is going through, whether it is ostracization at the school, or by other parents, whatever the reason, a HUGE burden has been lifted from my shoulders and our small, conservative town is now much different for us LGBT parents. We have each other now to turn to. In addition to all the work our equality group is doing to support the community overall, (the diversity center, we've brought PFLAG and local GSAs together to discuss what can be done to help each other, we've created events for LGBT people to socialize at) there are events soon taking place specifically for LGBT families too. We are having our first family pride picnic in June, we are going to create a family support group, family get togethers and our community is getting stronger and more connected. I don't think this ever would have happened without Prop 8.
After any natural disaster, whether it is earthquake, flood or tornado, life will grow back, stronger and better than before. The same thing has happened in the aftermath of Prop 8. We are stronger, we are better and we are 1,000 times more united than before. There is no going back, in the space of less than a year, our community has gone from a lone little seedling to a full grown tree, covered in pink blossoms. This town will never be the same.