in all the kerfuffle last week, I forgot to mention seeing Gayby Baby at a special screening at Broadway (the shopping mall, not the New York theatrical district.)
Those of you outside of NSW will probably not have heard of it, or the controversy surrounding it
and, indeed, if / when you see it, may wonder why there was any controversy at all.
It’s a documentary about four children with gay parents - and it follows each of the children through a challenge in their life and shows just how they, and their parents, navigate it.
Ebony wants to get into the Newtown School of Performing Arts. She lives out west with her two mothers and they would like her to go to school in the inner west where her parents relationship is accepted. As the mothers are both on welfare and Ebony has a much younger brother with serious health issues, they are making a lot of sacrifices for her, which she is well aware of, and just increasing the pressure she feels herself under.
Matthew wants to play Aussie Rules but one of his mother’s is a charismatic Christian, who wants to keep Sunday free for worship. The fact that her fellow congregationalists considers her a sinner, changes Matthew’s ideas about faith.
Gus just wants to go to the WWE
Graham is the saddest. His natural family had prevented him from speaking until the age of 5 and his adoptive gay parents are doing their best to help him catch up with the rest of his peer group. This is not helped when the family is forced to relocate to Fiji (where homosexuality is even less accessible than the western suburbs of Sydney.)
The focus is squarely on the kids, They can clearly speak for themselves (though Graham, of course, has a little difficulty) and they do.
And that’s the point. If anything, the awareness of their parents’ non-compliant relationship makes them even more aware and sympathetic. Ebony even talks about her own homophobia until she adjusted to have two mothers.
GB is gripping. The director, Maya Newell, keeps a sharp focus on one particular thread in these families complicated lives and has a great cinematic sense. This is not a dry polemic, this is a warm human account, sometimes hilarious, sometimes heartbreaking of four non-traditional families and how they deal with very traditional challenges. It is made with great sensitivity and artistry and gives us the good fortune of the acquaintance of four wonderful children: Ebony, Graham, Gus and Matthew.
For further information (including forthcoming screenings - and it is worth seeing in a theatre) check the website