How Do We Make Non-Traditional Families Part Of Everyday Life?
by Belinda Dronkers-Laureta on October 21st, 2011

Keeping Families Together

The Asian And Pacific Islander Family Pride Blog

October 21, 2011

How Do We Make Non-Traditional Families Part Of Everyday Life?


By Making A Film

The Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project (QWOCMAP) is making a film about API lesbians raising children, either as couples or single parents. It is going to be called Family Blessings. This is the second film in a projected series of four about families headed by lesbians. The first, The Gift of Family, is complete and making the rounds. It is about black lesbians raising children. The third will feature lesbian Latinas and the fourth Native American lesbians.

The objective of the films is to show that non-traditional families exist in our midst and are as normal as traditional families. They are regular households with familiar problems and worries. When we met with QWOCMAP, a recurring conversation point was that the films were QWOCMAP’s answer to “what we learned from Proposition 8.”

By Deeply Learning The Lessons Of Past Campaigns

What we learned from Proposition 8 is that our opposition used the “otherness” of non-traditional families to wage a successful campaign aimed at emotional levers. When Proposition 8 passed, one of our collaborating organizations forwarded a thought provoking Op-Ed by Matt Foreman on why we lost that battle. Foreman, a former executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and a program director at the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund when he wrote the piece, writes about the “ick factor.” The “ick factor” is the reality that many people, even those who are pro-equal rights and generally support LGBT issues, remain “deeply uncomfortable with homosexuality and marriage goes right to the heart of their discomfort, given that sex is central to marriage.” The “ick factor” is the reason that there really wasn’t a “movable middle,” those people in the middle of the two extremes who could be persuaded to vote no on proposition 8. Foreman argues that overcoming the “ick factor” cannot be done in the short time span of a campaign, it takes years of

. . . putting our lives, stories, and faces front and center over and over again . . . Most of us [LGBT persons] have seen how taking our lives up close and personal to people around us does, in fact, create change. Moreover, having these direct, real conversations is the only way we’re ever going to squelch the ick and inoculate voters from attacks that exploit it.

By Telling Stories And Showing Pictures

And so we tell stories and QWOCMAP makes films. The four films in the current project all touch on family life, religion, school, community support, Proposition 8 and marriage. The films will be shown around the country in film festivals and become focal points for workshops and panel discussions.

The completed Family Blessings film shows one of the women saying that Proposition 8 and all that that entails is not foremost in her mind. What is foremost in her mind is: Did I put the stuff away in the refrigerator? What did I put in my child’s lunchbox and did she finish it? How terribly mundane and, look at this, they live next door.

Belinda and John Dronkers-Laureta are board members of Asian & Pacific Islander Family Pride


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