Blogging for #LGBTFamilies: Katy Butler

LGBT parenting blog Mombian, which received a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Blog, is taking Monday, June 3rd to show the world for the 8th year in a row that LGBT families are just as loving, supportive and valuable to our communities as straight families.  Mombian is asking LGBT families, straight allies and all other supporters to write and submit to, a blog post on any topic relating to LGBT families.

As an 18 year old, like many other college students, gay or straight, getting married or starting a family are not high up on my "to-do" list and won't be any time soon.  But unlike most straight couples my age, my girlfriend and I do think about these things simply because we, and other same-sex couples, can't do them.  

For the past few years I have been working as an LGBT advocate on issues like bullying, marriage equality and health care for LGBT families because everyone should have the freedom to marry the person they love and have the ability to raise a family.  Someday I will want to be able to do this and right now, in my home state, Michigan, I couldn't.  

I grew up living with my mom, my dad, my grandma and my little sister.  We went to church every Sunday when I was little, my sister and I took dance classes and figure skating lessons, my mom was involved with everything I did in school and I had plenty of friends.  My family is extra loving and my parents encouraged my sister and I to do anything we ever wanted to.  

Being gay was never really something we talked about at home, we didn't have any gay or lesbian friends or family members, but as far back as I can remember my mom always told me everyone was equal no matter what.  She would say it doesn't matter what color someone's skin is or what religion they are or who they love, everyone deserves to be treated equally.  For a long time I didn't really know what she meant so I rolled my eyes and nodded my head and said, "okay mom."

When I was in middle school I had a crush on a girl.  I told my best friend and she told the rest of the school.  I was bullied on a daily basis for something I was taught didn't matter.  I didn't want to go to school because I (and my work) suffered, to say the least.  I didn't tell my parents about what happened because I was afraid of what they might think and who they might tell.  I didn't know of any other lesbian students and there were no out lesbian adults in my community so I felt alone and I had no resources to go to for help.  After 8th grade my parents moved me to a private school because, even though they didn't know why, they could see I was miserable.    

At my new school I met a lesbian for the first time in my life.  And not just one, I had found a whole community including an out teacher.  These people became my support system, kind of our own little family.  With their help I gained the courage to come out to my parents just before turning 16.  My parents were both as loving and accepting as anyone could be.  

I am so thankful for have the family I have and the love and support that they give me.  I couldn't be living in New York and going to college next year without the support from my wonderful family.  Last year my mom even traveled the country with me during a two month period where I was advocating for anti-bullying and LGBT equality campaigns, but it truly shows how much she accepts and loves who I am when she does little things like invite my girlfriend to dinner or come to gay pride events with me. Not every young person has a family that loves, supports, or even accepts them, so I do know how lucky I am.

I don't know if I could ever raise a family of my own someday that is as loving, caring and encouraging as the family I have right now, but I at least want the freedom to try, and with the examples and support of my parents, my grandma and my sister I think it's a possibility.