Writer and performer
During the last Presidential election the anti-gay rhetoric seemed particularly pumped up. Nightly my husband and I would listen to homophobic pundits argue against Marriage Equality and often the naysayers would state flat-out that same sex couples were bad for children. Not only was my relationship harmful to society, but our union was harmful to children. As a married couple with a son we adopted out of foster care this was particularly galling. To have complete strangers defame families like ours, ignorant of the thousands of LGBT families across the country where children thrived in safe loving homes, this was too much to take. This was the genesis of bringing my solo stand up show Alec Mapa: Baby Daddy to the screen.
Alec Mapa: Baby Daddy is a solo theater piece I’ve performed around the country since 2011. It’s a first hand account of how my husband and I became foster/adopt parents: the emotional journey that lead to our decision to become parents, the process of foster/adoption and the eventual placement of Zion, our son who came to live with us in 2010 when he was five years old. Performing this show nightly, I could feel the truth of my story resonating with audiences. We weren’t the monsters hell bent on destroying society we were made out to be. We were the same as any other American couple with a kid. Exhausted, bewildered but ultimately overjoyed to be a family. When Thought Moment Media approached me with the idea of bringing my show to the big screen, I knew this was my chance to reach a much wider audience. Hopefully my story will shed light on foster/adoption and debunk the myths and misperceptions of same-sex married life, in a completely entertaining way.
Alec Mapa is my husband. I know he is hilarious and a great storyteller, and I knew he had a rock solid stage show that we could film, get it in front of audiences, and entertain them. However, what made me really want to move forward with this project was the exposure of our family to the world. In these times of uncertainty when it comes to civil rights for LGBT people, the relationships we build, and the families we grow, I knew it imperative to get the story of our family in front of as many people as possible.
In addition, foster/adoption is something for which I hold a lot of passion. It still amazes me when I hear an LGBT person say that they didn’t think agencies would provide them with children simply because of their sexual orientation, gender expression or gender identity. While there are certainly states currently battling this issue out in the courts, most public and private children and family service agencies are welcoming and sometimes even seek out individuals from the LGBT community to become adoptive parents.
The fact that a television show like ABC Family’s The Fosters can become a huge hit proves that the time to include stories of diverse, same-sex parented families that include foster/adopt children is here. We are happy to tell our unique story in hopes that it too spreads awareness about foster/adoption. I hope our diversity and non-traditional family structure will challenge an audience, move them, and help them realize that we are just another family on the block that happens to have been built just a little differently.
Alec Mapa: Baby Daddy is my directorial debut in the documentary feature category. It’s also the first feature we’ve produced through Thought Moment Media, which I co-founded with Jamison Hebert in 2013.
Alec and I first collaborated in 2008, and our senses of humor are nearly identical. I have seen first-hand how his life has changed, first as a foster parent, then as an adoptive parent. Having blocked out the shots and spent many weeks editing, I have come to appreciate how thoughtfully the show is structured, looping back to earlier themes. At first, it seems like a silly and juvenile set, but that’s just the disarming way to get into some some pretty deep and highly personal material.
Because of the structure of the show, the camera slowly pushes in as the show progresses. This was done to emphasize the way the show itself works: it starts very broad and boisterous, but it continues to get more and more intimate as the subject gets more and more serious.
When Alec was ready to commit his award-winning live show to film, I suggested we frame it with some day-in-the-life footage. Many current depictions of gay dads present them as “network safe,” and I wanted to show a gay comedian who can work blue and still be a wonderful loving father, something straight comedians do all the time without anyone raising an eyebrow.
The timely topic of LGBT adoption has special significance to me as an adoptee myself. Every child deserves a family and a home. I hope this film helps change laws and helps open a few hearts and minds, so the long list of children waiting to be adopted might get a little shorter. To deny a child a home and family because of prejudice against LGBT people is a disgraceful, hateful thing to do to children in need.
As an activist, I hope this film makes a difference, but as a dirty joke connoisseur, I hope it makes everyone laugh out loud.