Transcript for the Piece Audio version of My Family, Your Family, Our Family
ANCHOR: Our Family Coalition, a nonprofit organization that promotes the civil rights and well being of families with LGBT members, began in 1994 with TEN families. Today, they boast over 500 member families!
While families find more legal, political, and social support today, there is a dearth of children’s books reflecting queer families. The creators of a recently released coloring book hope to address this need.
Producer, Robynn Takayama, who also works for the San Francisco Arts Commission, explains.
NARRATOR: In February 2004, San Francisco's Mayor Gavin Newsom validated queer relationships by legalizing same sex marriage. But even without legal recognition, many lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people are in committed relationships and are creating families.
Cedric Yap and Ted Liebst, partners of 23 years, tied the knot at City Hall the day before Valentine's Day.
CEDRIC: And two of our children were witnesses! Our oldest son Michael, who is 25 and our middle son, Kyle who is 9. They were great. They stood for 4 hours with us in line until we were able to have our ceremony and they got to sign our marriage certificate as the witnesses.
NARRATOR: In addition to raising these two sons, Yap and Liebst are also legal guardians to a daughter with their friend Angie. AND they are co-parents to another son with their friends Shantelle and Anna.
This family configuration may sound complicated and the legal and medical issues in securing a non-traditional family certainly ARE, but Yap feels that some aspects of raising his family are easier.
CEDRIC: these families we create are created by choice…. There’s clear commitment because it’s not so easy for us to just have a kid!… you gotta do a lot of thinking and planning and in that way, we really thought and prepared to make sure this young person has the best support network, all the things she or he can need as a young person.
NARRATOR: One of these challenges is to find children's books that reflect images and stories of non-heterosexual families. However, a newly released coloring book, MY FAMILY, YOUR FAMILY, OUR FAMILY, seeks to help fill this void says creator Libby Black.
LIBBY: There are a few books for children, but a coloring book is tangible for a lot of people, even children with straight parents can … use this as a vehicle to show that there are tons of different families out there.
NARRATOR: Collaborator, Jennifer Lovvorn agrees.
JEN: The thing that we liked about the format of the coloring book is that it’s primarily visual. So the idea behind it was to give these children a kind of mirror image of families that were like them.
NARRATOR: The coloring book, supported by the San Francisco Arts Commission, portrays the daily life of 8 families. Black and Lovvorn spent a couple hours with each family to observe and photograph their activities, including Cedric Yap's family.
CEDRIC: For our part of the coloring book, they came to Aiden’s 1-year birthday party and it was just like any other birthday party. A lot of kids, kids running around making a lot of noise, birthday cake, ice cream,
NARRATOR: Black used the photographs to create the illustrations for the coloring book while Lovvorn crafted simple text.
JEN: we didn’t want to make a spectacle about how the family came into being because I think that there could be so much explaining about did they go to a sperm bank, did the adopt, and I think that detracts from the idea that this family is just a family. And we wanted people to accept that at face value and not have to explain that or justify it.
NARRATOR: Through this community portrait, Lovvorn and Black represent a diverse set of families reflecting different religions, races, and ways the families were created. Yap, whose family members are Filipino, Irish, Chinese, Taiwanese, German, and African American, CELEBRATES this diversity.
CEDRIC: if you take a look at the different kinds of diversity in our family, I thought this coloring book was a wonderful way to have them feel proud of it, celebrate it, share it with other kids, other alternative families, and traditional families as a way of saying, “We’re just like you. We want the same things.”
And this is a way for young kids to get in their minds that there are different kinds of families out there.
NARRATOR: You may request a copy of the coloring book, MY FAMILY, YOUR FAMILY, OUR FAMILY by calling Our Family Coalition at 415-981-1960. That’s 415-981-1960. For the Pacifica Pride National Broadcast, this is Robynn Takayama.Back