Kelly Brady, who was raised by two moms and a stepmom in California, is one of the five stars of the Style Network's City Girl Diaries. In the episode "Bring Your Mom to Work Day," airing this Sunday at 10 p.m., Kelly's staff gets to meet one of the women who helped raise her.
Be sure to DVR #citygirldiaries on @stylenetwork this Sunday! Check out a Q&A with Kelly below - complete with some adorable photos of her family!
GLAAD: How did you get involved with City Girl Diaries? What can viewers expect from the series/season?
Kelly: The concept was to bring together 5 friends with cool and exciting careers, they were looking to make a real "Sex and the City" and they found our group of friends.
Marianne - the gossip reporter
Leila - the designer
Raina - the on air TV correspondent
Leigh - in house PR for one of the hottest salons in NY the Louis Licari Salon
And me - owner of my own PR firm Brandsway Creative, we rep celebrities, high profile events, restaurants, and lounges. As well as health and beauty brands.
We are truly friends, and we are all working hard to balance our careers and personal life and we help each other reach our goals.
GLAAD: Can you tell us about growing up with your moms?
Kelly: I was born in 1979 and I grew up in San Diego with my two moms.
I was one of the first babies to be donor inseminated. Libby, my mom, began the process in 1978 when it was very new and unheard of. Both of my moms were in the military and back then you could get discharged for being gay. One of my most vivid memories was when they both sat me down and told me how much they loved me and had wanted me. My moms said that they were both my parents, but those beyond our family would not accept our family dynamic. They told me there was absolutely nothing wrong with us, but that I had to keep it a secret because other people would not understand. I must have been four years old at the time. Even though the concept at the time was so incomprehensible, I understood that I had to keep it a secret.
My moms decided to have me together. We devoted Mother's day to my Libby, my biological mother, and we gave Father's day to my other Mom. We called Father's Day "Cyndy's Day" instead.
When I turned five, my moms split up. I was devastated. All I wanted was to bring them back together. Libby "remarried" a woman named Karen. I say "remarried" loosely, as it was not legal back then. That did not prevent them from having a ceremony to honor their marriage. In the meantime, Cyndy and Libby decided to share joint custody of me. I was like any other kid from divorced parents: I would spend every other weekend with Cyndy. When she moved out of California up north to Washington State, I spent my summers, Easters and Thanksgivings with her.
GLAAD: How did anti-gay laws like Don't Ask, Don't Tell impact you growing up? Were you unable to talk about your mom because she was in the military?
Kelly: I was in high school when "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" passed. I remember it like it was yesterday. My mom Libby was furious. She said that the law was a "cop out." by the government. She said it didn't really help us.
GLAAD: How did your friends react when you "came out" to them about your moms?
Kelly: I kept the fact that I had two gay moms a secret all throughout high school. I was a very active teenager, and my moms encouraged me to be involved in everything. I was a cheerleader and I was a member of the high-school theatre group called the Thespians. I was president of the Thespians my senior year and my mom was very involved in my school. She went to all my events and she coached the girls freshman basketball team at the school. I was very protective of my mom. I didn't want my friends or anyone at the school to insult her or believe unfair stereotypes about her.
My mom loved my friends. She wanted all the kids at our house so she always threw me the best birthday parties and Halloween parties. She would bring in ponies, inflatable castles, and a Big Bird impersonator and have my friends come over. For Halloween she would turn our house into a haunted house.
Whenever I had a friend sleepover Karen, my mom's new partner, would sleep in the guest bedroom so that none of my friends would suspect that she was Libby's partner. I think this definitely annoyed my moms at times because almost every weekend I had a friend sleeping over. They went along with it to protect me and to protect Libby's job in the Navy.
It was when I was in college and both of my moms had retired from the military that I "came out" to my friends. We were all out to dinner and I sat them down and told them that I had something very important to confess to them. I had a lump in my throat. I was terrified. But then I just let it out. "I'm sorry I have been lying to you all this time. But my mom is gay, and Cyndy is my other mother. Karen is not my mom's roommate. She is my mom's new wife."
They all responded with the same response. "Duh! We knew all along! We were waiting for you to be okay with telling us. We don't care. We love you and so do our families." Their response was a shocking and happy relief for me. I felt accepted, and any fear I had of judgment went away. From that point on I was very open about my background. If you met me and asked about my parents, I was not afraid to tell the truth. I was very proud of it. If someone didn't accept my parents and the way I grew up, then I would not bother being their friend.
GLAAD: Why do you think it's important to share stories about families like yours?
Kelly: I'm happy to share my story because when I was growing up I didn't know anyone who was like me. I think it's important for kids from same-sex families to realize that they have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. I felt very loved and nurtured by my moms. Unfortunately I know that being a product of a same-sex family is not something that's universally accepted. I had to keep the truth about my parents a secret, but I was still bullied about it. I think a girl in junior high school accused me of having two gay moms. I was in the lunch hall and I remember being very defensive about it and bursting into tears. She was mean. I'm lucky that this memory was really the only one I had of being bullied. I am very proud to be the child of two moms. I don't think any form of harassment from someone else could ever take that pride away from me.
Despite the recent victory with Prop 8, there are still so many negative stereotypes out there about gay parents and their children. I want to help to dispel these stereotypes. I came from an amazing gay family and it was their love and support that helped me be the successful, driven and happy person that I am today.
Also I want to dispel the stereotype that a child of gay parents will automatically become gay. I don't believe that anyone is "raised gay." It is something that comes natural to a person. My moms may be strong, tomboy types, but I am the "girliest" girl you will ever meet. That's just us being who we are.
GLAAD: How did you feel when you found out that the Defense of Marriage Act and Prop 8 were struck down? How did your mothers react?
Kelly: The Defense of Marriage Act and Prop 8 is the biggest victory for the gay community. It opened many closed doors and it really meant a lot for both of my moms because now Libby can have Karen, her partner, be recognized by the military as her wife and she will be issued a dependent military ID card as a result. Karen will be able to have the same medical benefits as well as the other privileges other straight families get to have.
GLAAD: What would you tell kids of same-sex parents who might be bullied because of their parents?
Kelly: I would tell them that they are in this world because they are a precious gift, just any other child born in any other circumstance. Children of gay parents were a conscious decision, most of us were chosen to be in this world by two people who wanted a child, and we are very much loved.
Children of gay families are special. Looking back I would not change a single thing about my childhood. I don't think my moms would either. Always remember that you are just like any other kid from a happy and strong family.
City Girl Diaries airs every Sunday at 10 p.m. on the Style Network.