Dear Charlotte and Maya,
My wife and I had the pleasure of viewing your documentary ‘Gayby Baby’at the Lismore Starcourt theatre on Friday night, followed by the live Q and A session with you both.
It’s obviously been a big journey for you, and the families in the film, not least with everything that has happened in the last fortnight.
I thought I would share some of my reflections about the night, beginning with what I liked; what I found interesting; and then finally my concerns.
What I Liked.
There was so much to really like about this film. But here are four things that stood out to me:
- It was a very well made documentary. You captured people on film in all their 3D complexity. The raw emotions of the families came across in a very genuine way: the couple struggling with their baby son’s undiagnosed seizures; the cut and thrust of parenting a testosterone-fuelled son who is addicted to wrestling his younger sister; the couple struggling to care for their son with learning difficulties. I could easily relate to this film as a parent!
- It humanised same-sex families. This film showed that non-traditional same sex parented families are made up of human beings just like me: sure, they might believe and act differently to me, but the film humanised a segment of the population that have really felt (and still feel?) on the outer of society.
- It made me want to love gay people, and gay families all the more. Your film inspired me to build connections with members of the gay community; to welcome them into my life, and my family’s life, just as Jesus welcomes us, and to make my home a safe space for gay people and their families.
- The children were extremely likeable! My favourite (am I allowed to say that?) was Gus, the young boy who just loved to wrestle: that scene where he argues with one of his mums about how she wants him to do debating was hilarious!
What I Found Interesting.
After the movie, we moved to the Q and A with you, and a number of questions revolved around the recent banning of the movie from being shown in state schools (during school hours).
I found it fascinating to see the ‘siege mentality’ that you were both feeling. To be honest, I can understand how you came to that conclusion. Christians in NSW have also felt under siege from the actions of our current government, so I found it interesting to see this mirrored in your attitudes.
What I Found Concerning.
With all that being said, I left the night with some concerns, and unanswered questions. These are as follows:
1) The bias of the documentary. It came as no surprise that the documentary promotes the idea that children don’t need both a mother and a father.
However, I’m disappointed that the documentary didn’t appear to even raise or grapple with an issue as fundamental as do children deserve to have a mother and father, where possible? Is it ok for a same sex couple to deliberately deny a child an opposite sex parent, through IVF?
In the Q and A, this issue was dismissed with comments such as ‘a child won’t miss what it never had’, and ‘we personally don’t know of any children in same sex families who miss a parent of the opposite sex’. I realise this isn’t an issue for you, based in part, on personal experience, but the question remains. (And partly it’s this bias that led some of the parents at Burwood girls high to raise concerns with the school about its suitability for the ‘all in’ promotional viewing).
2) Assuming that people disagree only out of prejudice. In the subsequent Q and A, I felt there was an assumption in your answers (and in at least some of the questions) that the only reason anyone could disagree with same sex marriage, and same sex parenting, is out of prejudice and hatred toward gay people.
Am I right in saying that?
If so, I find that assumption quite concerning, not least because it’s a ‘reverse stigmatisation’ that seems to be growing. Is it really a hatred of gay people to believe that a child has a right to a mother and a father, where possible? Am I hating same sex families for believing that the traditional family structure is the best for children (all things being equal)?
My urgent question to you, therefore, is this: do you think that honorable people can disagree with your view, not out of animosity or hatred toward gay people, but out of a genuine concern for children?
I realise that for you, Maya, these questions are deeply personal, and I understand that you may find disagreement both confronting, and perhaps even offensive.
But please understand that those of us who question the conclusions of the documentary aren’t doing so out of hate, any more than gay fashion designers Dolce & Gabbana hate gay people when they declared earlier this year that children deserve both a mother and a father.
3) The Demand for Agreement. Finally, in the Q and A session I felt that you were demanding not just the end of stigmatisation, hate, or unjust discrimination toward gay couples and their families (something I strongly support), but were also demanding agreement that a same-sex family structure is just as good for children as an opposite sex family structure.
My understanding of a free and open democracy is that people have the right to disagree about such issues, without fear of harassment…So my question to you is this: should not space be allowed in the public square to respectfully discuss, and disagree upon, what family structure is best for children?
Or should people that hold to the traditional view be somehow pressured to keep quiet (via social, or even legal means)?
Where To From Here?
I realise that as a Christian who believes children deserve a mother and father (where possible), I find myself in disagreement with you about family structure issues.
I know it’s never easy to have someone disagree with you, especially over something so personal. But my hope and prayer is that our two respective ‘sides’ might nevertheless give each other the space to present and discuss our views openly, in respectful ways.
Heck, we might find each other being friends. That’s my sincere hope, anyway.