A few weeks ago we were introduced to a really cool project called We Are the Face of Equality. The video-based project was started by Stephanie, a twenty-five-year-old lesbian in Indiana. Her goal is to collect videos and photos of LGBT people around the world and compile them into one slideshow and/or book. I asked her a few questions about the project, so get ready to read those and find out how you can participate.
What is the inspiration behind your project?
I was inspired after watching a couple of videos after the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” went into affect. There was one made by the singing group God-des and She and another in which a soldier stationed in Germany filmed himself coming out to his father. Both moved me to tears.
The videos also made me want to do something to show people that we’re just regular people trying to live our lives. So many of the people that are against equal rights for gays are so because they see us as the stereotypes they see on TV or gay pride parades: half naked, always thinking about sex, drag queens, sleeping around and spreading diseases. Because they don’t know, or don’t realize they know, someone gay on a personal level they continue to carry around this image of who we are and it makes it easy for them to discriminate against us and continue to deny us equal rights.
What are your short and long-term goals?
My hope is that by creating this video people will truly see us for who we are: men and women from all walks of life living average lives and just wanting to be treated the same as everyone else. I hope by doing this some of the people who are so anti-gay will see someone they know and love and change their mind about denying us rights. My short term goal is to create a video and post it to Youtube and Facebook to kind of serve as a wake-up call to lawmakers and voter’s about who we are.
My state, Indiana, is trying to pass a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. I’ve written state lawmakers and always get the same response. That they’re sorry but they aren’t on the same page as I am and they’re voting in favor of the amendment. I hope by showing them who we are it will change their minds. Long term goals include developing a website and book to raise awareness with the proceeds going to groups like the Human Rights Campain, Freedom to Marry, and Courage Campaign. I’m using social media, mostly Facebook, to get the word out and request submissions.
Why should LGBT families participate?
I think that showing LGBT families is a great way of showing that LGBT couples can produce intelligent, beautiful, well-adjusted children. So many times people want to deny rights to gay couples to “protect the children.” Studies have already shown that children raised by lesbian mothers may fare better in the areas of self-esteem and confidence, as well as academically and behaviorally.
The public hasn’t really gotten to see this for themselves. I think that by showing that these kids are happy and well adjusted we could possibly make great strides in LGBT rights. Right now non-biological parents in a gay relationship may have no rights over their child if their biological parent dies or becomes terminally ill. These children may be ripped from their surviving parents just because they don’t share the same DNA and current laws don’t protect those in gay relationships. If the non-biological parent passes, these kids may never see a bit of the social security that should rightfully be theirs. These things terrify me as a lesbian who plans to have children with my soon-to-be wife. I want to change these laws so that my children will be protected and cared for should anything happen to either one of us.