This morning, among the sea of 30,000 people participating in the annual White House Easter Egg Roll were a small band of parents and their children whose arrival on the White House lawn signaled a quiet, but significant, change in the way our country, and our president, sees the American family. For the first time, families including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people were officially invited, and welcomed, to participate in the First Family’s celebration.

At 9:30 this morning, several of those families gathered with me at the offices of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) as they prepared to head to the White House.  The children among the group, who ranged in age from 1 to 13 years old, were simply excited to be part of this festive day in the nation’s capital.  But the parents, including a gay dad and his 6-year-old son, a lesbian mom and her 13-year –old, and two mothers and their children’s grandmother, understood all too well the change that their event tickets, given to PFLAG by White House staff, represented.
Just a year ago, there was no official welcome mat for same-sex families at the Easter Egg Roll.  And, by extension, gay parents and the parents of gay children felt that, perhaps, they were largely missing from the president’s definition of the extended American family.   But today, all that changed, as President Obama appeared at the White House and read to our families, too.  And as our First Lady, Michelle, brought along her two girls and their grandmother, showing that our families are no different than every family, including the extended one that now calls the White House home.

On this morning, when so many people of so many backgrounds came together on the lawn of the people’s home, the Obama family made our families seem like part of the American experience, too.

At last, the work of creating a country where all of our family members are respected, protected and welcomed seems imminently possible.  Our place today on the White House lawn signals, we hope, a new place at the table for LGBT people, and a new starting point for policies that move equality forward for those we love.