Motherhood, all love begins and ends there. Every woman must experience the beauty of motherhood, they say. EVERY WOMAN! Though it’s a stereotype, a woman is considered incomplete without having experienced motherhood. Being a mother is the hardest thing in the world. Well, then imagine being a mother from the LGBTQ community. It is hard enough being a parent from the community in the 21st century. Just imagine being a lesbian couple with a two daughter in the 80’s. Let’s talk about our two rebels who fought and went against the system.
Ry Russo- Young, daughter of Sandy Russo and Robin Young, a lesbian couple in the 80’s realized that the only think missing in their lives were children. With the help of Tom Steel, a sperm donor who helped lesbian couples have children, they concived and had Ry.
Before Ry they had another daughter Cade Russo Young, with the help of another donor they were introduced to. They could not take the help of sperm banks as they did not cater to same sex couples at that time. Everything was well and good until the time Steel decided to file a case against Robin and Sandy for visitation rights and legal standing. It was a long and tiring battle for the family. At age 9 Russo-Young became a victim of a custody dispute on the parental rights of same-sex couples, and the interests of a biological father who according to them was no more than a sperm donor. Steel lost the initial judgement but won an appeal. The whole battle ended when Steel was diagnosed with AIDS. Though they won the battle the family went through a four year emotional rollercoaster. Not only that but they had to survive the trauma of separation. Russo, a well established director, who has made films like The Sun Is Also A Star and Before I Fall, is now making an HBO documentary, THE NUCLEAR FAMILY, explaining the struggles and trauma she and her family faced. She wants people to know her story.
The 39 year old director in an interview said “At first I didn’t want to necessarily make a documentary out of this story. I was thinking, in the beginning, it should be a narrative film. Eventually, when I realized I needed to tell it as a documentary, part of that was because I felt that a documentary could get me closer to the truth of understanding my own feelings.” She says that during the battle, the court did not consider Russo as her biological mother. So called facts like, a family must have a mother and a father to be complete were put forward by the opposition. The relationship her mothers had just did not exist at that point of time.
It was not legal in the eyes of the law, which made it harder for them to win the case. In an interview, she talks about how times have changed for the good and wished her mothers had the same protection same sex couple have now.
The Nuclear Family , released on the 26th of September, on HBO. It is a three part series which really captures the true emotions and feelings of the family. It is the kind of series that actually makes you think about life and be grateful for the privileges we take for granted.
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