‘We can now really portray what LGBTIQ families are’
Prominent figure in the LGBTIQ community David Bajada feels blessed to have taken part in a campaign delving into the everyday private lives of families within the same community.
The video was launched by President Marie Louise Coleiro Preca and produced by the President’s Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society.
“I have been active in the gay community for quite some time. About 17 years ago I was one the first people to come out that I had a partner. We never said boyfriend or relationship, all to protect Solange (his daughter).
“When we told Solange, she accepted my situation and my life. Then it made things easier.
“Taking part in this project, I think it is one of the ultimate things that I’ve done for our community because we can now really portray what LGBTIQ families are, like everyone else. I will not use the world normal because there is no definition of normality, but we can show people out there that we live a life like everyone else.
“In my case, my daughter is my biological daughter so she was not adopted, well now he [David’s partner] will have to when we get married.
“Parents, of any sex, when there are children involved, the children have nothing to do with the problems. We have a responsibility towards them, to love them, to guide them through life, and that will never change until my last breath. Please do not involve your children as a competition between parents.
President Marie Louise Coleiro Preca yesterday launched the warm and natural video depicting the lives of five LGBTIQ families living in Malta.
The video, themed #OurChildrenAreAlright, turns the spotlight on five different families who have taken the difficult and brave decision to give up their privacy and share their realties with society.
The families are made up of different forms, making the footage all the more real in view of the different circumstances all families find themselves in. Among the various families, a gay couple who adopted a baby with disabilities is depicted, another couple where one of the men is the natural born father of a young woman from a previous relationship and a couple who adopted a small child from overseas.
Like with heterosexual families, different life experiences mean that no two families are exactly the same. The video is aimed at showing how whichever genders make up a family, they are not different in any way. One of the parents from the video explained how like everyone else, there are school bills to pay, home loans, jobs to go to and that ultimately, life’s daily grind is more or less the same for all.
Produced by the President’s Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society, the video is intended to sensitise the public towards gradually changing their mentality and accepting that LGBTIQ families are no different than other heterosexual families. They face the same struggles as parents and children, but as a consequence of society’s prejudices, their struggles become much harder.
“This groundbreaking video, produced by the Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society, highlights the importance of creating inclusive and safe spaces, for families of all kinds, within Maltese society,” Coleiro Preca said.
The video was shown at the President’s Palace in Attard, with the screening hall buzzing with excitement and warmth. President The footage appeared to have done its job in that the room was silent while the movie was being shown and an emotional atmosphere could be felt afterwards.
The testimonies were delivered by each family in their personal living rooms, which further drove the feeling of intimacy and realness to the audience. One testimony by an adult child of a gay couple explained how small children at school do not think to bully other children for having gay parents all on their own. It is what they are exposed to that leads to such behaviour, therefore more often than not it is the parents of children that need to be educated in respect and inclusiveness rather than the children themselves.
The woman spoke of how attitudes have improved over the last few years but a concerted effort needs to be made in order to help push this feeling of inclusivity.
“By showing the lived experiences of LGBTIQ families, we want to encourage and promote a culture of inclusion and respect. We want to contribute to a culture of positive peace, where the dignity of each and every person is truly safeguarded,” President Coleiro Preca said.
“Thanks to this video, the foundation has provided a platform to share and to celebrate the narratives of diverse people within Malta’s LGBTIQ community,” she added.
The video, produced by psychologist Cher V Laurenti Engerer and supported by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, is intended to help parents — LGBTIQ or heterosexual — to create an honest dialogue with their children.
Elaine Micallef, who led the project on behalf of the PFWS, said that as a mother of two living in a same-sex relationship, she was filled with hope that this video would reach its objectives, and raise awareness and understanding that LGBTIQ families were the same as any other family.
The objective of this video is to give a voice to LGBTIQ parents through a personalised narrative that the community can identify with.
Short remarks were delivered by Russell Sammut from the Malta Pride 2017 Organising Committee, Dr Ruth Baldacchino, co-secretary general of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association and Dr Ruth Farrugia, director-general of the President’s Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society.
Photo: Baskal Mallia