You’ve heard of the Nanny Diaries and the Bridget Jones Diaries, but welcome to the world of “”Queer Spawn Diaries'”: Nava EtShalom and Chana Joffe Walt are two young Jewish women right out of college who co-produce a web and radio project by and for the grown children of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) parents.
Nava and Ghana grew up only a couple of blocks away from each other in Philadelphia and didn’t realize until their teens that they shared a similar family structure— they both have heterosexual rabbi fathers and lesbian mothers. Both of them grew up in Jewish communities that had strong commitments to social justice. Now, Ghana and Nava are working with other grown children of LGBT families from communities across the US to get their stories told.
Nava says, “There has been such intense debate in the mainstream media about gay marriage and gay families, but we’re just not hearing from the people for whom queer family is home.” To that end, they’ve launched www.queerspawn.org, part of a growing independent radio and documentary movement using internet technology. Their Queerspawn Diaries project hosts a web-based archive of interviews in the hopes that these self-produced narratives will put a real face on the kids who have grown up in LGBT households and allow them to tell their own stories.
Chana adds, “We were sick of seeing so many materials about us produced by people who are not themselves kids of LGBT families, always asking the same questions like; ‘What’s it like at school? Are you gay too?’ Sexuality and school are not the only arenas in which being from a queer family affects our identity or experience. What about religion, friendships, activism, and work?”
With internet radio on the rise, young people across the country are going outside of mainstream media to find their voices and share their stories. Diaries reporters range in age, gender identity, and location—like David Reese, who grew up in the tiny one stoplight town of Mayville, New York, or Rebecca DeCola, raised in Manhattan.
“What does “conventional” parenting mean anyway?” Nava asks. “We’re excited to be raising as many questions as we answer, to present new ways of exploring what it means to be proud queer family as we tell stories about home.”