Keeping Families Together
The Asian And Pacific Islander Family Pride Blog
February 1, 2013
Sometimes Success Is Not For the Reason You Think. Does That Matter?
By BELINDA AND JOHN DRONKERS-LAURETA
We are making a film. Actually, we are updating an existing film, but the plans for the update are sufficiently different from the original that it might as well be a new film. We are talking here about API Family Pride’s Coming Out, Coming Home. The cost of making films astounds us, roughly $1000 per minute, so we will have to do some serious fundraising. Fundraising means convincing people that what you do is necessary and worthwhile so that they gladly contribute. This blog is not about fundraising, but in preparing to persuade people to donate, we went back to the history of our film. We discovered something interesting.
The history of API Family Pride starts with the making of that film. It started with a response to a complete lack of API family participation during the 1994 PFLAG National Convention held in San Francisco. Active API LGBTs had wanted to organize a workshop or panel discussion with parents of API LGBTs. No parents signed up, although in the end two sets of parents were persuaded to participate.
The activists who tried to organize the workshop or panel concluded that nobody came because PFLAG’s model for support—public disclosure—is contrary to a well validated, fundamental API value: no public disclosure of private shame. Thus the idea was born to create a film that APIs could view in the privacy of their homes to stimulate discussions that would help parents understand their child’s sexual orientation or gender identity and help API LGBTs explain to their parents who they are. We made the film and its success is beyond doubt: close to 3000 copies have been distributed mostly by word of mouth because we don’t do marketing.
The success, however, cannot all be attributed to the original reason we made the movie in the first place, because that reason flies in the face of another well researched and fundamental API value, namely, discussing problems is avoided and discussing problems about sex are simply not done. So we asked, what do the people who ask for a copy use our film for?
Citing studies means generalizing and stereotyping. There are API parents who publicly discuss their “shame,” our film is about them. And we have met API parents who talk about sex at home. Still we asked ourselves two questions: how many of the 3000 films distributed were used for starting discussions, and what were the other copies used for? We came to a tentative conclusion that one big reason API LGBTs ask for the film is to show their parents that they are not alone. A consequence of not airing private shame and not discussing problems is that nobody in the community knows that there are common problems. Our film shows that being LGBT is not just a white phenomenon.
Whether our conclusion is right or not, our film is being used and people who have used it have expressed their appreciation for its existence. Our new film will continue that.
Belinda and John Dronkers-Laureta are board members of Asian & Pacific Islander Family Pride www.apifamilypride.org