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  • To the person who wrote the "Child Abuse" review- You start off trying to quote what was said in the documentary, and you failed miserably. Obviously you were only trying to hear and see what you wanted to, not what was actually said in the film, or you were just flat out lying, or maybe a combo of both. That is what is sad, not this documentary. Being a gay parent is even tougher than it normally is. You have to deal with so many more obstacles. Think about it.

    The kids seem a lot more grown up because they have to deal with grown up topics from an early age. And it seems to be going just fine! We can all, gay or straight, take something away from this documentary. Just go in with an open mind...and an open heart. To properly quote the film: "Love is what makes a family, a family."
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Debate continues regarding the issue of marriage equality and same sex marriage, particularly here in Australia where our conservative politicians are slow to react to the change in public consciousness on a global basis. And those opposed to the concept still bandy about concerns about "the welfare of the children" and the lack of either maternal or paternal influences. Those who still harbour concerns about the damage caused to society by same sex marriage would do well to check out Gayby Baby, a warm and fascinating new documentary from first time feature filmmaker Maya Newell. This largely crowd funded film offers up a sensitive and heartfelt look at four 12-year-olds who are being raised by same sex parents. The kids seem rather well-adjusted and normal, and are being raised in nurturing environments. All of the kids are wrestling with their own problems with the help of their same sex parents, but the issues they face on a daily basis are no different to those confronting kids in traditional family structures. The four kids have vibrant personalities that come across, and Newell wisely uses the children's perspective to shape the material. We meet Gus, a boisterous youngster who is heavily into WWE wrestling, but is also exploring his masculinity, although his two mothers fear that he may be a little too violent when it comes to playing. Matt seems very mature for his age, and he is wrestling with doubts over both religion and politics, as they seem to emphasise ideas that are in contrast to the beliefs of his two mothers. A high point for Matt though comes when he attends a dinner with Prime Minister Julia Gillard with his two parents as they discuss marriage equality. At that time Gillard was opposed to the concept of gay marriage. Ebony is interested in pursuing a musical career, and wants to win a scholarship to a prestigious music school in her neighbourhood. She gets support from her two mothers despite their pressing concerns over the health of their youngest child who suffers from a severe form of epilepsy. Graham is the adopted son of a male couple and has some learning difficulties which they are working to overcome. But then the family is forced to move to Fiji for work, which complicates matters as his parents are forced to conceal the nature of their relationship due to the social and political climate. The issue is a deeply personal one for Newell, who was herself raised by same sex parents. She has observed the four families over a period of time and has gained some intimate insights into their lives. Newell had a wealth of footage to draw upon in the editing room, and she has developed a number of narrative strands and themes to follow. The film has a nice unhurried and laid back style. Newell eschews the traditional documentary format; there is no narrator, rather she lets the stories unfold before the camera with her fly on the wall approach.
  • Much of the film consists of the day-to-day domestic activities of same-sex parents and their children, which does not make for riveting drama, but the vibrant personalities of the children (who are the main focus) and the loving attention to the detail of their lives keeps it afloat.

    The purpose of the film is to help normalize same-sex parent families (thus the push to have it shown in schools), and let us hope more such films follow that help normalize polygamous families and incestuous families with two or more closely related adult partners like two sisters.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I just don't understand why the parents chosen were all such idiotic, ill- informed, seemingly uneducated people who lay far too much responsibility on their children. One set apparently let their child watch unlimited wrestling, and then decided they have a problem with the outcome, another set have an unhealthy attitude to religion, a third couple appears to unaware of the importance of properly helping a child with learning difficulties, while the fourth couple are strangely childish. All of the children are astonishingly interesting and cool, leaving one to wonder if parenting just doesn't matter, or if these children have realised themselves to be the people they are becoming all by themselves. The fact that the parents are gay is a fact that doesn't even matter, but which is belaboured by the ponderous utterances of the parents. Really, really well filmed - it's a beautiful looking film.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Gayby Baby is a wonderful Film that documents the normality of these kids' everyday lives, and seeks to shed light on what it's really like being raised by same-sex parents. The film's opening credits showcased a variety of old black- and-white photos of typical nuclear families: families consisting of a mom, a dad, and children. The film choose to do this to display powerful images of the social norm for families. During the credits, there's dialogue from several people articulating some of the typical arguments for traditional marriage between men and women, and how same-sex marriage negatively affects children. Brief, factual statements, as well as opposing arguments, were mixed in with these voices before they all started clamoring over one another. This setting of the stereotypical family photos as well as the arguing voices really creates an impact for what comes after: a boy's voice and a photo of two women and their children. The sudden realization that every voice before his was an adult was eye-opening and impactful. Newell clearly meant for this to be a striking contrast from the overwhelmingly adult voices that make up the conversation of legalizing same-sex marriage and parenthood, to the children, the ones being affected most in this matter. Newell chooses to interview only the four kids to not overwhelm the film with adult voices. Her creative choice was a profound one, as often this argument over same-sex marriage and raising children is from the perspective of the adults, rather than the children. The movie brings the voices of children in same-sex marriages directly to the audience, emphasizing the importance of their voices in these debates and arguments across the world. Through each child, Newell documents that their lives are quite extraordinarily ordinary. The director's decision to follow these specific four children with different interests, personalities, and stories showcases how having same-sex parents works well with all kinds of children. Graham has two dads and struggles with reading and writing at age twelve. He talks about how his first adopted family didn't teach him to do either, and his dads mention how "all he had were vowel sounds, and hand signals" when he came to live with them at age five. His two dads are struggling to teach him so he can catch up, but they're putting in the time and effort for it because they love him. The film shows this family's struggles to teach Graham because it's a clear testament to how same-sex parents will go through the same measures to provide their child with what they need. The film also highlights how the foster care system failed to tackle this issue with Graham's inability to read and speak, and how the first parents failed to provide basic parental needs to a child. Ebony has two moms and wants to become a singer and go to a performing arts high school. Her parents support her decision and spend money on singing lessons from a private tutor, and tell her to practice constantly. Ebony notes how the school must be a "really good school for Mum to go to such extreme measures to try and get her in." Her parents are trying their hardest to give her the future that she wants, to give her every opportunity to succeed. These are measures any parents should go through for their child. The documentary shows that these same-sex parents will go to the same lengths for their child too. Gus loves wrestling, but his two moms worry that professional wrestling will give him the wrong idea of what masculinity is. The film shows how the parents regularly have disciplinary issues with Gus not following what they tell him to do. He's seen wrestling with his sister, even after they tell him not to. He ends up injuring her and himself. They discipline him and give him new rules to follow, working out their issues. While Gus continues to watch wrestling videos, he follows his parents' rules and they even take him to a wrestling match to watch. Out of the four children, Gus' life seems the most ordinary, and the film shows how same-sex parents will work through disciplinary issues together with their children just like any other parent. Matt has two moms and a father. His mom and dad divorced when he was young, and his mom met his stepmom soon after. His stepmom surprises him as she's "done so many things for him that he never thought somebody who wasn't his parent or related to him could do.". Matt's family also had the opportunity to attend a dinner with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard in hopes of showing how their family is just like any other. Gillard has made statements against the legalization of same- sex marriage in Australia, and it's his parents' hopes to change that. Newell's choice in choosing this family brings in political activism and bigger political issues, but remains at the focus of the child. The family attend the dinner, and Matt comes out and speaks to some reporters about how it went, saying how he wanted to tell Gillard that "it shouldn't have been a law that two people who are in a same sex marriage can't get married." It's evident that the documentary picked this family for their political activism to show how same-sex parents are working towards their rights, and the children wants them to have those rights as well. Newell's Gayby Baby is a documentary that will become a film for the ages. While the documentary features children in Australia, its universal themes of love, acceptance, and family are a much-needed addition to the debate across the world. The film's setting in Australia does not limit its applicability to viewers from other countries, where the same debates and arguments are still raging now. It's versality is what makes it such an impactful film, anyone who wants to watch this movie can find something to personally connect to.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This feature length documentary follows the ups and downs in the lives of four same sex parented families each with a child around 11 – 12 years, most in the first year of high school. While it has an overt marriage equality message, including one of the families visiting then Australian prime minister Julia Gillard which included promoting their support for the issue, most focuses on the everyday issues that confront families – getting along with each other, triumphs and disappointments, succeeding in school, at sport and in artistic pursuits. It's all incredibly normal, familiar type situations that just about every parent will relate to.

    Of course there are some specific issues that arise from the acceptance, or lack thereof, of their family situation by others; what could or should be done to prevent feared situations arising, minimise hurt and awkwardness, or to come to terms with responses as they arise.

    The editing makes a coherent set of stories and the people portrayed mostly seem to have forgotten that the camera is watching. There are some very funny moments, many from the things 11 year olds and their younger siblings say and do. The love, care and attention to detail shine through and make for satisfying viewing.

    I think Maya Newell, Charlotte Mars and Billy Marshall Stoneking, the director, producer and executive producer respectively have done a fine job in making an approachable and interesting film from a left of centre topic. It has a message, but lets actions speak louder than words, and reminds yet again that the things that unite us are far more prevalent and important than the things that separate. It appears the film was substantially crowdfunded, with the names of hundreds if not thousands of supporters in random order in the credits.