Most Canadians may support same-sex marriage, but many are still uncomfortable with the idea of openly gay men raising children.
Vancouver filmmaker Julia Ivanova wants to change that with her new film Fatherhood Dreams.
Inspired by the real-life experiences of several close friends who struggled to cross the gay barrier to fatherhood, Ivanova offers mainstream audiences the chance to get used to the idea that gay men can parent too.
“I was always thinking about how to make straight people continue watching and not to turn it off,” she reveals.
“Randy and Drew are so likeable,” she continues, “and I hope that straight people like them no matter what.”
Randy and Drew are a Vancouver gay couple who privately adopted a baby boy named Jack from his teenage mother.
They present an image of family that will likely resonate with Ivanova’s target audience. They have a house with a lawn, a dog that kisses the cat, and they take Jack to visit the pumpkin patch and Santa.
The film also offers viewers the chance to meet Jack’s biological relatives and hear their rationale for choosing a gay male couple. “Two men as parents were more appealing to me,” explains Jack’s grandmother, “because Corey [Jack’s biological mother] would always be mom.”
Scott’s path to fatherhood was a bit more difficult.
Scott is a single gay man in his 40s who has always wanted children. He says he soon discovered that private adoption agencies rarely, if ever, place children with single gay men.
So he opted for surrogacy, and found a woman willing to carry his child. But it wasn’t easy. Though they can be compensated for lost wages, surrogate mothers in Canada cannot be paid to bear children, which forces many surrogacy arrangements underground. The reluctance of many clinics to inseminate non-traditional couples doesn’t help either, the film shows.
Then there is Stephen, who devotes his weekends to co-parenting his two daughters with h is ex-wife Wendy and her new partner Coreen.
Stephen and Wendy had their first daughter Jazz, now in her teens, when they were married. The family had their second daughter, Kazea, four years ago, after Stephen artificially inseminated Coreen.
The idea of two moms and one dad is not confusing for Kazea. “I’m the luckiest ever,” she tells viewers, “because I have the most parents.”