Last nite I saw this film as part of the Holla Mexico film festival and it forced me back to a place that I had buried with lost friendships, unfriended Facebook squares, memories of coming out, faded Depeche Mode songs. Last year was the year I spent trying to unsuccessfully trap my gay best friend of 25+ years into being my baby daddy with his boyfriend. It was emotionally devastating for me and it ended our friendship permanently without any diapers to change or baby to name. Perhaps it was a tragic ending, or perhaps it was the best ending of that particular story with that cast of characters.
Having a baby/raising a child if you are *a breeder* and you know it (clap your hands) is one of the most primal, deep, special, sacred events to plan and prepare for in our lifetimes. Some of us KNOW, in the way that some of us KNOW that we are bisexual or transgender that we are destined to be birth parents or NOT. Those that know that they are definitely not breeders are either vocal about this fact, or perhaps like my ex best friend find out that they are not cut out for the non selfish commitment that even being a half time parent will require through a confrontational proposition from a friend seeking their sperm or parenthood.
I wasn’t ready but I wanted to be. I didn’t have enough love so I wanted to create the love I needed. This is the basic baby mama syndrome and we all know many a hetero parents who got pregnant in this way with sometimes kids growing up to be okay. Often they do not. My biological clock was ticking loudly and I scrambled to find the nearest qualified partner in my circle.
Gustavo Loza’s “La Otra Familia” is a great queer family film because it focuses on the child bearing and rearing struggles of two queer men and two queer women in their synonomous and differently obstacled battles with society, law, culture and community. The two couples are friends and it successfully touches on many familiar queer parenting issues that certainly I have seen amongst my LGBTQ friends, as well as myself. Gay men can’t turn off because its a Lesbian mom film and dykes can’t disregard it because its a fag film. The acting is superb and the main character husband male model character is certainly eye candy to watch half naked across the screen and in the pool as well as several gratuitous butt shots of the females to keep you awake in the theatre. All of the main characters are affluent and privileged living in nice swank homes in Acapulco, Mexico and that certainly makes the story a different one from many of my friends in the U.S and in Mexico. One of the lesbians ends up getting artifically inseminated after a donor falls through and that procedure I’ve heard is upwards of $5,000 and is not nearly accessible for the average queer couple trying to support themselves and start a family. My queer female friend Hima has been trying to conceive for what seems like 10 years and she is finally at the last resort stage of flying to India this summer to be inseminated at a price that is affordable and accessible to her. She also tried using gay best friend sperm donors that failed and also ended a friendship, tried anonymous sperm and other procedures and has been documenting her process on a blog called “Wanna Be Amma” (amma being mother in her native tongue) I watched her struggle and try and I was admittedly scared for my own clock running out. I was already in my mid 30s and time had passed before I even knew it and all of sudden I was running out of time when just yesterday we were all at Burningman high on drugs rolling around cuddling each other in great, youthful, irresponsible times of the day. My best friend and I had made an agreement in our mid 20s about the decision to parent a child together. In 10 years we said, if neither of us is partnered then we would consider having a child together. Consider being a mother and father in a queer (projected utopian) family unit that would gather around the fireplace and make lavendar gingerbread houses for the holidays together! NOT. 10 years had passed, I had moved to LA from San Francisco and my relationship with my best friend had strayed in many ways aside from geographical. I had moved further left radical than I was when I was living in San Francisco, taking up sex work as my main income source versus staying in a “stable full time with benefits job like teaching” which is what I had talked about pursuing when I left San Francisco. The full time artist prostitution activist life that I had been living in LA for the last 6 years was surely not just a phase but it was to be the environment that my best friend “A” had to examine as to whether he wanted to raise a child within. It turned out that upon closer examination and confrontation that he most definitely did NOT want any part of it, even though we had known sex worker parents and their adult kids who “turned out fine.” and were respectable members of the arts/queer/San Francisco community. His jealous, immature boyfriend of less than one year would take drunken opportunities to lash out and let me know this fact at parties unexpectedly. The boyfriend was not accustomed to polyamory, and the set up that I was envisioning did not require that me and “A” have sex but co-parenting a child was going to be a potential and lifelong bond that this boyfriend felt would permanently trump any sexual or romantic bond that he could ever have with “A,” his new partner that he was in love with and whom he was not willing to share any part of. It was more than just a sperm donation and everyone knew it.
“A” doesn’t want to have a baby with YOU.” the boyfriend said.”Not with YOU.” he spat at me unexpectedly.
My eyes widened in shock, like I had been thrown a grenade.
“You think you can just do your prostitution and leave the baby with us when you run around, well, you’re WRONG.” he continued in a Hennessey coated lisp directed at me. “That’s so fucked up.”
I burst into tears and bawled at this party right then and there standing up holding a drink where I knew no one but “A”s boyfriend who had brought me as a guest amongst all his cousins and friends. He was drunk and feeling bold and decide to rip me a new asshole because he could. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. These words instantly sank my hopeful heart and pulled it down to the darkest depth like no other words that had EVER been said to me by ANYONE in my life thus far. This came out of the blue because the three of us had sat on the grass together after eating dim sum happily talking and projecting about what it would be like to start a family together, I had thought things were going to go along as planned. But plans change all the time and the lesbian characters in “La Otra” also deal with this kind of change of heart when the gay brother who is set to be a sperm donor to his sister who is half of the lesbian couple has a change of heart after signing a contract and making plans to travel to Dallas to begin the procedure at the couple’s expense. The girlfriend who is not his sister reacts in violence towards him, scratching at his face and telling him to get out and never talk to them again. Her familiar rage hits home to me even though my reaction wasn’t quite the same. Babies, children and the conception, protection and procreation of them often spark drama. That’s why it’s called “Baby Mama Drama.”
These days I am working very hard on my own spirit and wellness. I don’t think about having a child at all very much. I have unfriended “A” and all his friends from my life and my facebook and have been successfully moving on. I am turning 36 tomorrow and I still don’t worry about when and how. I am going to let it unfold as it may. I am an upper working class bisexual sex worker who has the possibility of pairing up with a cisgendered man to start a family. I just didn’t and don’t want to wait and hope for this type of a pairing and tried to force the alternative with my gay best friend and it didn’t work with him but I haven’t lost hope in creating the queer family that I desired. I believe today that my quest to be a mother will be completed somehow. I might have my own baby, I may adopt a partner’s child, I might actually have a conventional marriage and family with a man and live like a heterosexual? I am not especially thrilled at the last option because I know as a sex worker how much infidelity and shattered hopes of nuclear families exist as well from my own experiences dating cis men, and through my parents divorce. I know I am destined to breed so I don’t worry about it. It will happen in its own due time. I have to believe this because I have learned that forcing nature simply doesn’t work.