‘We Are Not a Hypothetical’ aims to give children and teens from LGBTIQ families a visible platform to support each other and answer the question, ‘From one Gayby to another, what’s your advice for other kids growing up today?’ Bron Bates asked Gayby Baby producer, Charlotte Mars, about the inspiration behind the exhibit.
Can you tell us how the exhibition came about?
It was one of those crazy ideas that took hold. Casey Legler came to a preview screening of Gayby Baby at the Human Rights Commission last year, and she really got into the film, so Maya suggested doing a photo shoot with Casey and the kids. Then it evolved naturally into something bigger – not just a photoshoot about the film, but about profiling some of the many kids and young adults in Australia with same-sex parents, showing the diversity, beauty and strength of this community. We started talking to the families we knew, who might want to participate, and Casey spoke to Jez Smith the photographer about it. Jez immediately loved the concept and lots of families responded too; all of a sudden the crazy idea was a reality.
If we can demystify the ‘non-traditional’ family unit and help the next generation to see that ‘family’ is what you make it, I think we’ll see a shift to a more accepting society where everyone is equal.
How were the subjects chosen?
After working on Gayby Baby for so many years, Maya and I had developed a fairly extensive network of kids and families, so we went to that network to see who might be interested in participating. Three of the kids featured in Gayby Baby were in Sydney at the time and also agreed to participate, along with their siblings. Casey also spoke to a family she knew. We only had one day to shoot the photos but it really was ‘the more the merrier’. The day of the shoot was like a big rainbow family fun day – there were kids everywhere, it was a lot of fun.
We love the title, ‘We Are Not a Hypothetical’. How far do you think we’ve come in acceptance and understanding about diversity in families (as a society) and how far do you think we have to go?
The first step is acknowledgement, and I’m so pleased to see the stories of kids with same-sex parents permeating the media for the first time, and to hear politicians and commentators raise issues relevant to these families. Six years ago when we started making Gayby Baby this was not the case. However, until we have true equality for these families under law, I don’t know that we’ll really be able to say Australia has fully embraced this community. It’s shocking to see how far behind Australia is to the rest of the world on the issue of marriage equality, and that there are some places in this country where same-sex couples can’t adopt or foster children. In 2016, I think we can do better.
Since releasing the film, and with the support of our outreach partners and Good Pitch Australia, we’ve been developing an educational resource for primary and high schools to support diverse families of all shapes and foster inclusive classrooms. If we can demystify the ‘non-traditional’ family unit and help the next generation to see that ‘family’ is what you make it, I think we’ll see a shift to a more accepting society where everyone is equal, no matter their family background. In the end, I hope we’re moving towards a place where we can embrace our differences as the most valuable thing we’ve got.
Teachers, students, parents and principals can now register their interest in receiving Gayby Baby’s school toolkit on the website.
Gaybies: We Are Not a Hypothetical is a public photo exhibit by Jez Smith and Casey Legler, presented by Head On Photo Festival and Gayby Baby.
See the exhibit on the Town Hall Steps on George Street, Sydney, from 19 February to 3 March 2016.
Watch the television premiere of Gayby Baby this Sunday 28 Feb at 8:30pm on SBS.