f to the Y to the I - It's a Gayby Boom Around Here
December 3, 2009
by Lisa Marie Evans and Kelly Reed
Lisa Marie: In previous columns, Kelly and I have been sharing discoveries with you that we’ve made in Kansas City. This time, though, it’s all about our own creation. I’d like to tell you about a new documentary I’m working on and how you can be involved in helping to make a wave of change in the world. Kelly is involved as a producer, as well as Kim Dyer, who is also a participant in the film. Kelly and I will tell you about our journey-line to this film and why we are dedicating our time and energy to these issues. Oh, and I will also divulge my love for MILFs. But first, more on the documentary.
Gayby Boom is a documentary that explores the human desire to share lives and connect with children. The individuals are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender and may be striving to bring children into their lives or may currently live and relate as parents. They might deal with issues from do-it-yourself insemination to losing child custody and they work within a system where laws often restrict the rights of LGBT parents. These are everyday stories of love, humor, despair and triumph, expanding the ever-evolving definition of family.
The style will be a compilation of home videos and camera-journaling by individuals and their families, opening their lives and homes to us. We have created a filmmaker toolkit for families to be involved in the movie, available at www.gaybyboomfilm.com. The participants are encouraged to bring their own style and creativity to the storytelling. The toolkit offers helpful basic information, such as camera techniques and suggested questions to answer in the journaling process.
The diverse community of LGBT families and individuals are at the heart of this film. GaybyBoom is now in the development and early production stages. We are seeking financial donations and participants to make this film possible. Films like this get made through the financial support of people like you. To make a tax-deductible donation, go to www.firstgiving.com/gaybyboom.
Why a Gayby Boom for Me?
Kelly: When I started working with Lisa on this film, I was mainly interested in the social impact of the rapidly changing definitions of family. Like global warming, the social awareness of homophobia, legal discrimination, and widespread intolerance is transforming our understanding of who we are.
However, as we began to discuss the material, my understanding of this subject began to evolve into something much more personal. I became aware of my interactions with others, especially straight parents. I noticed how I censored myself in conversation and how uncensored many of the playdate moms became once they felt they established a rapport with me. Always the same questions. Who had the baby? Who was my son’s father? Did he have male role models? And always the same distance afterward.
And yet, ironically, I realized that as a gay parent, my life was more similar to my straight friends’ lives than ever before, isolating me from my own community. A significant portion of my life is now spent as my son’s mom: playgrounds, art projects, bedtime routines, swim lessons, groceries, Lego madness, and nighttime reading. If you are a parent, you know what I mean.
Parenting is a whole identity in itself, and I had put aside some of my lesbian identity to make time for this. Not a good decision. It has isolated me and potentially my son. I’ve realized that I personally need our community, the support of other LGBT parents, to be a fulfilled and great mom.
My interest in making this film lies in three areas. Here they are, along with some of my thoughts:
1. Build Support for the Gay Parent Identity:
• School events can be dreaded coming-out experiences for me. I can’t be the only one who gets tired of this.
• I refuse to homophobically hide behind the single-mom role when trying to avoid conversation topics with teachers.
• I’m not religious, I’m not in AA nor do I hang out in bars, and I’m not a stay-at-home mom. I am a gay parent and I want to be part of a strong community for me and my son.
• I divorced the other mom. Now we have custody issues. Parenting makes me more straight than I ever thought I’d be.
• Playdates are just not as fun with traditional straight Midwest married gals.
2. Alternative Reproduction is Cool and Fun to Talk About:
• Pregnancy is much more than a shot in the dark.
• Talk about making the most out of Internet shopping.
• My son’s donor said, “I was blessed with a good mind, good looks and a lot of creativity. Why not pass that on?”
• It worked the first time for me.
• Baby showers are almost like weddings for the gays.
• The straight community is dying to know how this works.
3. Foster Awareness of our Families:
• Confront the stereotypes: Who cares who had the baby? Examine why that’s important.
• Participate in fostering a diverse, loving world.
• Blue and pink are fine colors, even for gays.
• If I make my son gay, I will be amazed (as gay people are usually the product of straights).
• The irony of it all … parenting makes me think and act more straight than any reparative therapy.
• Small aesthetic expressions of gayness have no harmful effects on children.
• My son’s history deserves to be spoken. Let’s create some resources for our kids.
• I want my son to be proud about his life.
Lisa Marie: I’ve been making films for seven years, and I have a few LGBT-focused films under my belt. Each time I create and screen one of these films, I am amazed by the power a film has to expand minds and inspire dialogue. I truly believe this work creates positive change.
My work varies in form from feature-length documentary to short animation to public art installation. I am innately drawn to making films that reflect diversity and human understanding. I believe each piece provokes communication among the viewers and, more than a mere reaction to the work, becomes the very essence of it. In my documentary work, I choose subjects whose lives, as a whole, seem far from the norm. By presenting their lives in pieces, I find viewers are able to relate to some aspect, wherein lies a connection, even if it’s small. Thus we are not so separate.
Today, LGBT people do not have the same legal rights as heterosexual individuals, and this is largely due to society’s lack of education and awareness about the LGBT community. I believe Gayby Boom has the power to advance equality and human rights. To help people gain a proper perspective of LGBT parents and families, their individual voices need a healthy and supportive venue to share stories of triumph, struggle, hope and everyday lives.
As we learn about individuals and their lives, we are better able to see the humanity behind labels and connect through our experiences. As I strive to stimulate this understanding and a sharing of perspectives, I feel the work experiments with creating change through an energy wave of human empathy and connectivity.
MILFS, GILFS...DILFS? Are these all proper acronyms? They should be, for “moms, grandmas or dads I love to ...” well, you know! They are sexy task-managers, especially when they’re LGB or T. I have a MILF of my own. We should put a pretty face to these acronyms and show us off. Am I right? We are a diverse people. We are many things. I want to spread the good word and work to positively expand the ever-evolving family.
Lisa Marie Evans is a local filmmaker and artist, and Kelly Reed is a creative writer and art collector. Together they enjoy the sexy, finer things in life, such as travel, food, art, adventure and women. In their column, Lisa Marie and Kelly wish to share with the LGBT community what they find out about the ways to enjoy and appreciate life.
How to Help
To participate in the film, go to www.gaybyboomfilm.com.
To make a tax-deductible donation, go to www.firstgiving.com/gaybyboom.