HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - There's a new canoe at Keehi Lagoon with the name Kalikolehua. Its namesake is a 15 year-old girl for whom Mother's Day means twice as much.
That's because Shylar Kalikolehua Young has two mothers, Tambry and Suzanne Young, who have been a couple for 34 years.
"We just told our story of how it happened, and I guess it really affected more people than I thought it would," said Shylar Young."And now this is so -- such as a big thing."
In 2000, only Tambry Young was recognized as Shylar's mother. The couple went to court to get co-parenting rights.
Both were involved in canoe paddling, but put that activity on hold in 2009 when they became active in the effort to make same-sex marriage legal in Hawaii.
The Youngs are heroes, according to Hilo paddler Al Konishi, who had the canoe built, and also asked if it could be named after Shylar, to honor the family.
"I think by people like Tambry and Suzanne and Shylar coming out, it made people, local people, realize that, hey, these are our friends, these are our family members," said Konishi.
Those friends an family members, including paddlers of Ka Mamalahoe Canoe Club, came together to dedicate and bless the canoe, and to mark a special Mother's Day. Then the Kalikolehua has carried into the waters of Keehi Lagoon, where young paddlers took it out for the first time.
"We're so honored and grateful to be part of a club, to be a part of this blessing, and to be a part of something and a group of people that have been so open and sharing and caring for all of us," Tambry Young told the gathering.
It's not every teenage girl who has a racing canoe named after her, but Shylar Young believes having one is a sign that there's more acceptance for a family like hers.
"I don't want them to see, like, 'Oh, that's the big gay family.' I just want to us to be seen as, 'They're just a family, just like our family.'"