I hit play on the remote, resigned to spend the next hour watching the usual trials and tribulations gay couples face when they decide to adopt.
Then Jane and her partner, Amy, director of Conceiving Family, come on screen. They’re soon matched with a son and daughter, 10-month-old biracial twins. But first, they have to go through the toddlers’ foster parents, a Christian fundamentalist couple.
Out pour the familiar us-versus-them misgivings.
“You couldn’t pick a group that hates gays and lesbians more than Christian fundamentalists,” Jane observes as she and Amy drive to meet Louise and Ian, the twins’ guardians.
“They’re afraid of us.”
“I’m afraid of them,” Amy admits.
The meeting takes place off-camera, but we get a taste of what went down as Jane drives back. “They get that we don’t have two heads,” she quips. But Ian and Louise asked some “bizarre” questions. Like what’s going to happen if the kids grow up to be straight?
“I guess we’ll be okay with it,” Jane cracks. “We’ll do everything we can to make them gay.”
Toward the end of Jane and Amy’s two-week home-stay with Ian and Louise to help them bond with the twins, there’s a mini- crisis. Louise has a “homosexuals-are-sinners” moment.
Jane and Amy interpret it as her grief at letting the twins go.
A year later, the couple, with growing twins in tow, visit Ian and Louise.
As the twins happily clamber on, around and over the two couples, Amy asks Ian to “be honest” about how he felt giving the twins over to a lesbian couple. “Great question,” he says, noting that he had recently brought Amy and Jane up “as an example” to friends from his church.
“I said, ‘Look, these guys, they’re not professing to be religious, but they have committed to loving these kids. That to me is more Christian than what I see in most of the denomination stuff [where] they talk about it, but I don’t see the action of it.
“These guys are actually practising the reality of what it is to commit and love people. So something is really screwed up about this, as far as you guys are doing it right — they’re saying they’re doing it and they’re not.”
He might as well have been referring to Burnaby’s anti-homophobia policy “crisis,” which has spawned three anti-rallies, talk of “hidden” and “leftist” agendas, misrepresentations or outright dismissals of the queer community’s very real experiences of heterosexism and homophobia, and two-faced parental and religious group platitudes about respect for all — except maybe gays.
Something is “really screwed up” there as well.
Especially when the Catholic Civil Rights League’s Sean Murphy submits a cuddly nugget like non-heterosexual inclinations “cannot serve the good of the human person and society” and are thus “always intrinsically and gravely immoral” — yet tells The Vancouver Sun that he doesn’t dispute everyone should be treated equally.
I think Ian the Christian fundamentalist needs to give Sean the Catholic a call.
Then there’s the schizophrenic perspective of Parents’ Voice, the group at the forefront of the opposition in Burnaby. It circulates pamphlets trashing what it labels a “political agenda” that uses “gullibility and emotion to achieve its goals” and relies on “ill-defined buzzwords” like anti-homophobia and sexual orientation, yet one of its key spokespersons, Charter Lau, says “teaching homosexuality is a responsible thing.”
“You don’t want to hide children from the obvious fact that there is homosexuality in society,” he says. “You cannot do that, it’s outrageous.”
Uh-huh… so, what’s the problem here again?
How does that differ from Burnaby School Board chair Larry Hayes’ position that hiding the fact that there are differences in society “is something we want to try and avoid”?
As the end music of Conceiving Family begins to crescendo, Jane the lesbian tells Ian and Louise the Christians she’s glad they got to know each other “as human beings” and “not what our labels were.”
“I love what you guys have done… these kids are comfortable,” Ian replies.