Vancouver Queer Film Festival 2014: Spotlight on the power of family

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      For this year's Georgia Straight Pride issue, we highlighted LGBT parents and kids.

      Due to the Vancouver school board hearings about its revisions to its sexual orientation and gender identity policy, we saw some powerful and remarkable examples of people who advocated for family members, such as Fiona Chen who spoke out for her transgender child.

      This year's Vancouver Queer Film Festival is also devoting attention to the power of familial bonds.

      After a screening of the coming-of-age German film I Feel Like Disco on Tuesdsay (August 19 at Cineplex Odeon International Village), in which a gay teen and his unaccepting father are faced to cope with home life together after their matriarch is hospitalized, a panel discussion entitled Hey, Hey My Kid is Gay will highlight LGBT allies who have stood up for family members.

      The panel includes:

      Joella Cabalu, who made a short documentary ("StandStill", which plays as part of The Coast is Queer on August 20) about her gay brother and Catholic parents discussing their opposing views;

      Elizabeth Saewyc, a UBC School of Nursing professor who has headed up several studies about LGBT youth, such as how gay-straight alliances help to reduce alcohol use and suicide and discrimination among students;

      Michelle Wilson, a PFLAG member and trans advocate.

      Unfortunately, another selection in the festival that examines the role of advocate family members is the Turkish film My Child (Benim Çocugum) was cancelled. The documentary takes a look at parents in Istanbul who support their trans and queer children and also support one another. It was originally scheduled to play tonight (August 18) but has been replaced with the Navajo drama Drunktown's Finest.

      For more information, visit the VQFF website.

      And if you want some heartwarming examples about the power of familial love in overlooking differences and hatred, check out these examples of how even animals have overcome predatory instincts to adopt other species as their own offspring.