Mama Rainbow

by Louise Adams
Monday Jul 15, 2013
a scene from MAMA RAINBOW
a scene from MAMA RAINBOW  

PFLAG in China is gaining momentum and has produced a kind of video brochure with the film "Mama Rainbow."

Six moms in several cities - Beijing, Shanghai, Fuzhou, Guangzhou and Nanning - sit, and shop, with their gay and lesbian children, and tell filmmaker Fan Popo stories of coming out and moving forward, in Chinese with English subtitles.

While some opening in-the-street interviews characterize LG people as "disgusting, bad, abnormal, unacceptable," some passersby show more tolerance, although some still feel it's OK for someone else's child to be homosexual, but not their own. The featured mothers show their full acceptance.

In a country with an estimated 50 million gay and lesbian people, information, especially for the older population, is still limited. Initially, one mom thought being queer was just a fashion of the time, and another termed it "pleasant brainwashing." One was surprised that her son's friends were surprisingly manly and not feminine. The moms suspected their kids of being gay as they grew up, and all the coming out stories were similar: The sons and daughters revealed their sexual preference over time, as a slow reveal, and sometimes through other relatives.

In this slice-of-life, 90-minute documentary, one mother notes that kids are like trees that don't always grow "straight up." And in a one-child society, she's also excited at the potential for one more son. Most moms are active with their children's lives and activism, going to LGBT events, handing out awareness information on the street, blogging (the internet is cited as having helped everyone gather more information), and attending PFLAG networking events.

The film is mostly about the parents "coming out," and lacks some urgency and cohesion. But the message these mothers bring is powerful. One of the moms says, "Just go ahead and love somebody."

Louise Adams is a Chicago freelance writer at www.treefalls.com (and a nom de guerre).


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