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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014

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In Kids & Family

A local family appears on the new billboards featuring gay families.

In Kids & Family

The billboards will remain up through October.

Teens from gay families speak out


Earlier this month, The Cream City Foundation, an LGBT organization based in Milwaukee, launched a billboard campaign in southeastern Wisconsin featuring local gay families.

The campaign includes 20 billboards in various parts of the city -- including the suburbs and all of the major highways -- that will remain up through October.

Denise Cawley is the media coordinator for the campaign and she says it's important people see what real gay families look like.

"The reason behind this campaign is so that all people in Wisconsin can get to know what the gay and transgender communty looks like, by meeting their real neighbors," says Cawley.

To take the initiative a step further, OnMilwaukee.com interviewed a few of the teens that appear with their families in the billboards to find out what it's really like to be a kid in a gay family. Here's what we found.

Krista, age 18
Brown Deer

OnMilwaukee.com: Who is in your family?

Krista R.: I have two moms, Valerie and Kim. Also, Ashley is my sister (14) and my brother, Shaun (12). We have a combined family with a total of eight kids, but two different households.

OMC: Do you ever wish you had a family with one mom and one dad?

KR: No. There is no difference in the parenting. They both give good advice and they love us all.

OMC: What do you love about your family?

KR: That they are supportive in things we do and help us make good decisions when it comes to school and our friends. And we do a lot of cool things together like a normal family.

OMC: Do you ever get teased about your family? If so, how do you handle it?

KR: No, we never get teased. We attend Alliance School where we can be ourselves no matter what and not be bullied.

OMC: Do you think living in a family with gay parents makes it more likely a child will be gay?

KR: No, it does not make a child gay. Your parents can be straight and if your child turns out gay it has nothing to do with how your parents are raising you.

Annika, 13
Waukesha

OnMilwaukee.com: Who are the members of your family?

Annika H.: My mom, Karen, her partner, Kristie, my older sister, Hanna, my twin brother, Erik, and younger brother, Kaden.

OMC: Do you ever wish you had a family with one mom and one dad?

AH: No, I have a dad. I still see him but I like having two older women I can talk to.

OMC: What do you love about your family?

AH: I always have them to go to. They're always there for me even though the hard times we experience.

OMC: Do you ever get teased about your family?

AH: I just ignore it if someone does. I think of it like this: it's my family and if they want to judge me they can, but the people that really matter won't care about my mom being gay.

OMC: What would you like people to know about you and your family?

AH: I love my family and people should respect gay people. They should have the same rights as everyone else.

Hanna, 15
Waukesha

OnMilwaukee.com: Did you ever get teased for having two moms?

Hanna H.: I sure did get teased. I hated it, but I didn't hate my family for it. I didn't like the fact that people can't except difference. No one really bothers to say anything anymore. If someone asks me if I really have two moms I say, "Yes, I do." Then I smile and I walk away.

OMC: How did you feel when your mom and her partner moved in together?

HH: I was excited for a new family member and I thought it was all cool to be different.

OMC: What do you want people to know about your family?

HH: I would love Milwaukee to know that my family is just like every other family. It doesn't really matter if my family has a mom or a dad or two moms. We still eat dinner together, go to movies, deal with teenage high school drama problems, get advice from each other and hang out with friends like all the other families in the world. There is no reason we should be judged on how we live our lives.


Talkbacks

rob | Oct. 6, 2009 at 10:17 a.m. (report)

To Broner: they are all happy!!!

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Lfresco | Oct. 1, 2009 at 7:26 p.m. (report)

I am proud to have come across this article due to the photo of a familiar family being featured. My daughter has been friends with and a part of their extended family for many years. They are great people (really never thought of them as gay) and I must admit are more family oriented and normal than my heterosexual one. Hopefully this campaign helps open the eyes of the ignorant and makes life easier for the families that have felt the discrimination, especially for the children.

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Broner | Sept. 30, 2009 at 12:09 p.m. (report)

Why are they called gay families if not everyone in the family is gay?

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Willia | Sept. 30, 2009 at 9:42 a.m. (report)

I wouldn't be surprised if the billboards spawn the all-too-common complaints that any mention of gay people "shoves the gay lifestyle in people's faces." Two points about that: 1) As evidenced in the billboard photos and these interviews, "the gay lifestyle" (as if there is only one of those) is pretty similar to everyone else's. More similar than different, in fact. 2) If we treated gay people and their families the same as everyone else, billboards "in your face" and similar P.R. campaigns wouldn't be needed. Get it? The sooner full equality is achieved, the sooner this particular culture war can end.

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littletinyfish | Sept. 29, 2009 at 8:30 p.m. (report)

I hope this is successful. It's always good to see the promotion of love, family, and community, no matter where they come from, over liquor and terrible radio stations.

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