Thursday, June 17, 2010

CNN Documentary Looks at Gay Parenting

Soledad O'Brien, host of CNN's Gay In America report "Gary and Tony Have A Baby," was interviewed by Adam Amel Rogers for gayrights.change.org's blog about the documentary on gay parenting.

While current TV shows deal fictionally with gay parenting - such as on Modern Family, and GLEE, CNN takes on a true gay parenting story.

O’Brien's work on the Black in America and Latino in America series continues with this documentary titled that follows a married gay couple throughout the entire surrogacy process.

Gary and Tony have been together as a couple for 20 years and were legally married in Canada.

Here are a few excerpts from the interview:

Adam: The trailer starts out by identifying the topic as one of the most controversial issues of our time. Why do you think the idea of two men raising a baby is controversial?

Soledad: Well I’ll start out by saying I don’t. I don’t write the promos, but I think what they were referring to is the fact that in the past year and in the next several years, the idea of gay marriage has been very controversial. And controversial meaning that there are ardent opinions on either side of the issue where people firmly believe that they are right. So I think that this is an issue that people feel very strongly about, but again that is promo copy, that is not my documentary.

Adam: Mike Huckabee recently condemned gay parents by saying “children are not puppies.” Do you think there is anything in the special that will help build understanding among vocal opponents of gay parents, or do you think it will provide them with more ammunition?

Soledad: That’s never my goal. My goal, when I do documentaries is to drill down and tell the story of human beings. I guess anybody is welcome to take from it what they want to take from it. In a lot of ways, children are easier than puppies. Children grow, children respond to you, children you can shape and create and mold them and that is what is fabulous about being a mother from my perspective — I have four little kids — is that they are going to grow up and turn into adults and I get to shape the things that I want my kids to care about. Puppies — they just become big dogs. I think that it’s not for me to say what someone is going to get out of the work that I’ve done. It’s not a story about an issue, it’s a story about two people and this is their life and this is their story. It's not the story of the gay community, it is not even the story of gay marriage, it is the story of a guy named Gary and a guy named Tony and they have decided to have a baby. And all the effort, the drama, the emotion, the panic, the fear, the hard work, the medical bills, the legal efforts that go into making that happen for two guys.

Adam: Was there anything surprising to you about Gary and Tony’s story?

Soledad: All of the things that were surprising to me had nothing to do with the fact that Gary and Tony are gay. I have never used a surrogate for any of my four kids and I had no idea the cost. Ultimately when you are telling stories about human beings what I have found consistently is that we are quite similar. We all operate very similarly. We are all selfish and scared and generous and sharing and kind and happy and sad. What is not surprising to me is that they are like every other expectant dad I have ever met. The one thing that is a shocker is the cost and the legal maneuvering that has to be done for Gary and Tony to have a baby.
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