Reel Affirmations 2007
Review by Dan Odenwald
Rating: (3 out of 5)
Tuesday, 10/16/2007, 5:00 PM
Shorts presentation, $0 at Lincoln Theatre
MORE THAN 10 million children are growing up in GLBT families in America today. That’s more than the entire population of New York City. In two moving, feel-good documentaries, coupled in ”Raised Right,” we get to meet some of these amazing kids and learn their stories.
Jen Gilomen’s In My Shoes: Stories of Youth with LGBT Parents () features interviews with five young teenagers living with gay, lesbian and transgendered parents. In touching, personal conversations, the kids share what it’s like having families that don’t look like everyone else’s. They describe what it’s like telling friends and teachers and the sometimes awkward and painful results that follow. One 12-year-old, Alex, describes the teasing he suffered and how it got so bad he just ”couldn’t take it anymore.”
Yet for all the heartache, there’s joy. In My Shoes balances the bad times with the good. In scenes of everyday domestic life, the kids and their parents fix dinner, do dishes and walk the dog, proving yet again that most people — in spite of their differences — are basically the same.
Anna Boluda’s Queer Spawn () portrays two GLBT families, two gay men and their son in Manhattan and two lesbians and their teenaged daughter in Austin. The contrast is an interesting one. The Manhattan family — with its urban, upscale lifestyle — exists in a sort of oasis, buffered by the prevailing progressivism that marks Blue State America.
The Texas family, on the other hand, has a rougher time of it. One of the moms admits to contemplating leaving Texas about every other week. Though Austin is very much of an enclave, that ends once you get beyond the city limits, she says. Their teenaged daughter struggles to find friendship and acceptance in the land of the born-again.
But Queer Spawn takes a heartwarming turn when the doc travels to Provincetown for Family Week, the country’s longest-running annual gathering for children of GLBT parents. In P-town, the kids can cut loose without having to worry about the puzzled looks from strangers passing them by. Thoughtful, articulate, self-possessed, these kids just soar.
So many documentary films today howl about the injustices in the world (and rightly so). But it’s nice when docs like In My Shoes and Queer Spawn can show you what’s good about the world. Getting a chance to see these amazingly courageous kids tell their stories is enough to make your day. — DO