Queer Digital Stories: Looking Back This post is the second in a series written by participants of our queer digital storytelling workshop. Below is the film created by Mian Bond-Carvin, De Facto, followed by thoughts about the experience of making this film.
I had the great honor of being part of the very first Queering The Museum Digital Storytelling Workshop which turned out to be cathartic and transformational. Eight of us, all strangers when we met, gathered to tell our stories and came to know and have deep gratitude for one another and the interconnectedness among us and Queer people, in general. We could relate without having to explain. Those of us who are considered minorities know the immeasurable comfort in that all-too-rare occurrence.
It was clear from the beginning what story I would tell.
I am the non-biological parent of a child who was taken from me by my former partner, the child’s biological mother. She and I planned the fertilization, pregnancy, birth and our lives together. But when we broke up six-and-a-half years after the birth, my daughter was taken from me because I did not have legal standing.
Other than adoption, legal standing for non-biological parents did not exist at the time. Because of this it was necessary for me to fight for years, with the help of a brilliant team of attorneys, to change that. As a result of the legal battle to assert myself as my daughter’s parent, a law was created in Washington State to benefit and protect relationships between non-biological parents and their children. It is called the de facto parenting law.
I titled my digital story de facto. It and others created during the QTM workshop were part of an exhibit which focused on Queer histories in the Pacific Northwest. The exhibit was called Revealing Queer and ran for five months at Seattle’s MOHAI (Museum of History and Industry) in 2014.
The exhibit was validating, uplifting and created a space for us, a place for us and our stories to be seen and heard, a first for Queer people on such a large scale. Personally, the exhibit created an opportunity for my struggle to be understood and for me to be recognized and honored as someone who has positively impacted the Queer community in Washington State. I hold deep gratitude for Nicole Robert and Erin Bailey for allowing me the opportunity to be part of this historical event.
I am currently working on a feature length film entitled Self-Exiled Southern Queer.