Gay parents in the 2000’s

Katie's Column

September 21, 2020

Growing up, having lesbian moms was never a thing that kids around me understood. It’s difficult looking back on that now because our generation especially has become more accepting and understanding of people in the LGBT+ community. 

When I was a kid before the start of kindergarten having lesbian moms really wasn’t a weird thing for me. My parents would get my brother and I all the kids books in which the characters had two moms, a total of only two books back then. For the longest time I honestly didn’t think of it or realize that our family was different than everyone else’s. Instead of a dad I had a mom and a mum and that was how it had always been. 

When we moved to where we live now in 2008, when I was about four years old, we moved into a very conservative area. I remember my moms telling me of all the “Yes on 8” signs in our neighbor’s yards, advocating for a ban on gay marriage, which passed. That was a nice welcome to the neighborhood for my family. I don’t remember a lot of homophobic things that people said to us before mid-elementary school, but my parents have told me some stories.

 Our first Halloween in Riverside we were just going to walk past the house across the street from us, as they had acted weird around my moms before, and instead of letting my brother and I walk past,  the man who lived there was in his yard and said, “Well I guess anything flies in your house,” laughing with his wife while motioning to my moms. That man would for many years yell at his wife or his kids my age to go back in the house whenever we walked by or said “hello” to them on our way to school. 

We started elementary school and at that point kids didn’t even know gay people were a thing. When I would mention my moms they would be confused and tell me that our family was “impossible.” Try explaining to a kid what a donor dad is when they still are at the age when they think that once you get married, a baby starts growing immediately, surprise – you can’t really explain that. A few kids in our classes would come up to my brother and I taunting us and saying “where’s your dad?” or “hey loser why don’t you have a dad?” which was about as mean as you could get in first grade. 

The school listed my Mum as “step-mom” on all school forms which is not at all who she is but they had no option somehow on their forms to say mother twice. She has always been my mum since I was born and she adopted me, which she did so she and my mom (who gave birth to me) have the same custody over me. 

When California legalized gay marriage in 2013, I was about to go into fifth grade. My moms started planning the wedding for November and everything seemed wonderful. We had the ceremony in our backyard with 20 of my parents’ friends. The following day we had a party with more people, which included some of my friends. I found out at the party, that some parents tried to hide the fact that this party was because my moms got married and instead told my friends that it was just a little pool party for no reason at all. 

But because now gay relationships were actually seen as valid and were on national news for one of the first times I remember, that meant that the kids at my school both knew what being gay was and their parents began telling them that it was sinful and an act of the devil. There was a pastor at a local church whose kid went to my elementary school who tried to talk to my astronomer professor Mum about how gay people were the devil (in addition to how science in general and the Big Bang theory were not real); she refused to engage for obvious reasons. 

In middle school the kids “found out” my parents were gay, as a lot of them hadn’t known me forever like the elementary school kids. They made sure to talk about it constantly and tell me what the Bible said and how my family was horrible. Two kids from that school harassed me, and would use friends’ social media accounts and phone numbers after I would block them, by messaging and calling me saying that my moms had a mental disorder and every other homophobic insult in the book.

These kids were one of the main reasons why I went to North instead of King, to get out of the more conservative areas of Orangecrest. The people here are so much more accepting and less likely to judge others than the kids I grew up with. 

But especially now that I am going to college in less than a year it’s daunting to wonder what people wherever I go to college will think about my family. What if my roommate is homophobic? I’m most likely going out of state for college so how different are people’s beliefs on the east coast? When looking at colleges to apply to I often look up election results from that area so at least I get a sense of what that area’s stance on LGBT+ rights. 

Looking back, it’s so weird to me that as a kid nothing felt different or weird about my family until other kids, influenced by their parents, started to tell me. Now we have started to make progress into becoming a more welcoming and inclusive world. I have started to see kid shows and movies with members of the LGBT+ community and now on some forms it says “Parent or Guardian #1 and #2” instead of father and mother. A gay character in a kids show shouldn’t bring up controversy, it should be normalized. No kid should have to be told that their family is different or unnatural. We still have so far to go when it comes to inclusion but in these last couple of years we have made progress towards being more accepting of different kinds of families and people.

With the recent passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg and the possibility of the court becoming a conservative majority in the near future, my family and so many others are scared for the future. Back in 2004 when then Mayor Gavin Newsom of San Fransisco had legalized same-sex marriage, my moms had an appointment at City Hall to be married. However a conservative judge stopped the San Francisco marriages and ordered that all same-sex marriage licenses created during this time would become null and void in Lockyer v. City and County of San Francisco. Their wedding wasn’t allowed to occur until 2013 when the United States Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in the entire country. The thought of another ban on gay marriage happening nationwide frightens me. We can’t go backwards, not with all of the progress we have made recently.

11 Comments

11 Responses to “Gay parents in the 2000’s”

  1. Katrina on September 22nd, 2020 9:31 am

    This article is beautiful katie! Your family has always been so loving to mine I’m so glad To have there friendship.

  2. William Gombita on September 22nd, 2020 10:02 am

    Great article. Good job Katie

  3. Shannon on September 22nd, 2020 12:00 pm

    Great job Katie! This is a wonderful article and a testament to your beautiful family. You have great moms, who have done a fantastic job showing you what having two loving parents is all about.

  4. Janice on September 22nd, 2020 12:44 pm

    An amazing article … Your Mom and Mum must be so proud.

  5. Karen Naugle on September 22nd, 2020 1:55 pm

    I have never met you, Katie, but your mom grew up in my hometown. I am very proud of you and your article.

  6. J. johnson on September 22nd, 2020 3:03 pm

    Life is full of unfair challenges usually brought on by blatant ignorance. Great way to rise above them and lead by examples Mom & Mum. Great article Katie, where ever you go to college they will be lucky to have you. A voice that won’t be silenced. Do great things and set the world on fire.

  7. Linda Fossi on September 22nd, 2020 4:21 pm

    Wonderful article Katie. I’m so sorry you had to go through some of those things. You know you have wonderful parents and that is a very fortunate thing. After all – look how great you and David turned out!!

  8. Betsy Zimmerman on September 22nd, 2020 4:56 pm

    Very well written, Katie! Your family must be so proud of you. You have a wonderful, loving family and that’s a beautiful thing. I am one of your mom’s high school classmates from Ligonier.

  9. Kathleen Knight on September 22nd, 2020 9:26 pm

    Katie I have always thought you were a wonderful young lady. I enjoyed your story and am amazed at the negativity you and your family have endured. You will be a standard bearer for the new generation to come. I wish you well.

  10. Katie Waterland on September 23rd, 2020 8:47 am

    Thank you for writing this, Katie. I so appreciate your story. I’m so sorry for what your family had to experience! Your family is amazing!

  11. Alice on September 23rd, 2020 11:44 am

    Great Article Katie. I for one have always admired your parents. They are so kind and lovely people. I saw you and David grow up to be very successful. So they did everything right in raising two beautiful children no matter what other people think.

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