Grandpa Dick, Welcome to the Revolution

When I heard the news last week that Vice President Cheney's daughter Mary and her partner were expecting a baby, I thought, wow, "it's finally happened." A true revolution within our lifetime, actually in less than even 25 years.

In 1984, I made my first film, a documentary that explored the then extremely radical and unheard of idea that lesbians could have children. Fellow producer, Kim Klausner, and I traveled across the country unearthing a handful of lesbians who had boldly decided to become mothers.

Before that time, if you were a "lesbian mother" it meant you had been involved with a man, had kids, and then came out of the closet.

But we were interested in, what was then, the tiny spark of a new idea--that being gay didn't have to mean, by definition, that you couldn't be a parent.

The six pioneering families we captured on film had brought children into their lives through foster parenting, adoption, donor insemination, and, for one, "the old-fashioned way."

When Choosing Children was released, Kim and I toured the country hosting benefit screenings for the small number of organizations that had just started to emerge to offer support to lesbian and gay-headed families.

Hundreds of women (and a few men) would pack these events, which turned out to be life changing for many. Women who, up until seeing the film, had believed that they would never be able to have children, left the theaters inspired and determined to create and define "family" for themselves in new ways.

Scores of media outlets wrote about Choosing Children as well, reaching countless other gay and lesbian potential parents-to-be. In the next few years, the lesbian baby boom exploded and the old assumptions that coming out meant you could never have kids were forever shattered.

I knew we had helped launch a profound culture shift, but I have to confess, that in my wildest dreams, I never imagined there would come a day when Choosing Children might be of interest to the White House. Not only of interest, but a political necessity. But, now, thanks to Mary and Heather, I'm dusting off a copy and sending it to the Cheneys today. I hope they show it to George.

When they watch it, they might begin to understand that, today, the daughter of an ultra-conservative leader of the United States is able to create and define family however she wants, thanks to twenty-plus years of pioneering activism that paved the way.

So, congratulations Mary, Heather, and Grandpa Dick. Enjoy the movie. And, hey, welcome to our revolution. Maybe now, you'll finally get with the program.