Dustin Lance Black, the Academy Award® winning filmmaker, writer, LGBTQ+ activist and husband of Olympic diver Tom Daley, comes to YASS and discusses about his life as a father, the parenting roles he and Tom play, how they celebrated Father’s Day, the importance of Pride 2020 and his thoughts on expanding their family in the future via adoption. He also reveals everything about Some Families, the LGBTQ+ parenting podcast.
Dustin was born in California 44 years ago and was brought up in Texas. He is an Academy award winner for his screenplay for Milk in 2008, a film about Harvey Milk, the first openly gay elected politician in California. Dustin Lance Black is a founding board member of the American Foundation for Equal Rights and he is married the Olympic diver Tom Daley; they have a son and live in London.
How important is educating our children on queer history?
“I want our son to be proud of his gay dads, I want him to know where he fits in history. I want gay and lesbian parents to be able to share our proud histories with our children”.
How was first date with Tom?
“When I met Tom on our first date the idea of a family came up and I wasn’t leading the conversation. He was. And not only did we both discover that we really wanted a family, but we broke another, if not all, of the first date rules and began naming our children on that bike ride. In fact, our first son has the name that we chose on that day, on our first date”
When did you consider adoption to expand your family?
“As we continue to build our family, I will be prepared to do it in the future. Adoption is still very much an option. I encourage people, to embrace it as an option.”
Are there gender stereotypes?
“I think in a big way, the women’s rights movement and the LGBT movement are linked with the idea that gender not determined destiny. Our gay brothers need to stand up for women and when it comes to parenting, it just means not setting these bizarre limits based on these [gender stereotypical] constructs that are completely unnatural.”
How are you and Tom as parents?
“It’s completely different than what I thought. I thought I was going to have these clear sets of rules with Tom, who is just so good at having fun, being the free spirit. Then suddenly, there’s this child and Tom is laying down the rules. You’re seeing the athlete side of Tom come out and helping create these boundaries. Tom has been fantastic with that stuff whereas I’m realizing I’m a flaky artist and I could probably use some structure in my life as well. I’ve somehow become the weepy sensitive, cuddly one and I never, ever, ever thought that’s how I’d be, it’s certainly not how I run my film sets.”
Is queer parents being considered ‘heteronormative’?
“I hope I’m not normal. I think normal is so boring. I don’t even know that I know a single normal person. What the hell is normal? We’re all different. So where are these people who are the same as each other? I don’t know where they are. In terms of becoming heteronormative, it shouldn’t be forced upon anyone to get married and have kids. We didn’t fight for marriage equality because we thought that all gay people should go get married. Let your gorgeous sparkling, very, very different flag fly. There are some of us who really want to raise kids and it’s really compelling that the idea of gay parents is now quote unquote ‘normal’.”
How important is Pride 2020?
“This pride season, I want people to remember what it was like to be in the closet or what it was like to be with people who didn’t understand who you were, didn’t know who you are, or even aggressively didn’t accept it. More than most years, LGBTQ+ people are in that position right now and are locked down with families who they’re not out to, who they can’t be open with. Because of that, I think this is one of the more important pride seasons and we have to do more than what we might have done in previous years. It is our responsibility to use whatever platforms we have to get the word out there that Pride is alive and that when this passes there are people out there who will love you and will accept you and will embrace you for who you are. That it will get better.”
Some Families is hosted by lesbian mum Lotte Jeffs, an author, journalist and reformed magazine editor, and gay dad Stu Oakley, a film publicist who thought he was used to dealing with divas until he had toddlers. Lotte, a mum via donor conception, and Stu, a dad via adoption, who share their own experiences as queer parents as well as chatting to guests about the ups and downs of LGBTQ+ parenting. Some Families is a STORYHUNTER production and is distributed by ACast.
Listen at: HTTPS://PLAY.ACAST.COM/S/SOMEFAMILIES