Where Do Babies Come From? For LGBTQ+ Parents, It's Complicated
"Where do babies come from?"
When a young boy asks that question in a new spot for nonprofit Family Equality, his dads launch into a madcap bedtime story about the vexing maze that would-be LGBTQ+ parents face as they try to adopt.
Seemingly non-stop interviews, requests for character references and mountains of paperwork—plus implicit and explicit bias—often come into play. And in 11 states, adoption and foster care providers can legally reject qualified LGBTQ+ applicants.
The dads explore this morass in over-the-top detail through diagrams, video calls to their attorney and other couples, and a courtroom reenactment with the kid's toys.
TBWA\Chiat\Day New York developed the short film with Furlined directors Will Speck and Josh Gordon (whose reel includes this terrific gay-marriage spot from 2010 with Mike White and Justin Long, which Speck discussed on a recent episode of Tagline). The goal is to open viewers' eyes about systemic difficulties that can make it impossible for would-be queer parents to start adoptive families.
"The idea really sprang out of the issue itself," TBWA\C\D associate creative director Holden Rasche tells Muse. "It's so labyrinthine and complex, and the laws and processes change drastically depending on the state you live in. It was clear we needed to find a simple way to talk about this complicated journey."
"After two days of trying, and failing, to explain it to ourselves, we thought about how a parent would explain this to a kid, and then it all clicked," Rasche recalls. "It’s a familiar question. Just with a very, very different answer."
As for the kid's kicker—"My friend Jodie told me that babies come from vaginas"—well, yes ... but sometimes the labor doesn't end there.
"We wanted to speak to anyone who wasn't aware this was an issue. Which, unfortunately, is a lot of people—myself included," says agency ACD Ashley Veltre. "I’m a member of the LGBTQ community, and even I had no idea how hard it is for people like me to start a family."
Released ahead of Parents' Day on July 25—and timed to the recent six-year anniversary of the Obergefell v. Hodges U.S. Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide—the ad does an awesome job of building awareness and empathy. (Though how will the kid get any sleep after all that stimulation?)
"The more we learned about it, the more annoyed and frustrated by the process we became," Veltre says. "Family Equality is guiding people through the process and working toward real change in the system. We hope people feel moved to support them, and ultimately we hope to change the process for the better."
Specifically, the organization asks Americans to support the Equality Act and the John Lewis Every Child Deserves a Family Act, pieces of legislation to remove adoptions barriers for LGBTQ+ people.
Family Equality 'Love, Lawyers & The Government'
TBWA\Chiat\Day New York
Chris Beresford-Hill - Chief Creative Officer
Al Merry - Executive Creative Director
Ashley Veltre - Associate Creative Director, Art Director
Holden Rasche - Associate Creative Director, Copywriter
Sarah Arrington - Senior Art Director
Alli Walker - Copywriter
John Doris - Head of Integrated Production
Chris Klein - Executive Producer
Natasha Tkach - Senior Producer
Vivian Lee - Senior Motion Designer - DxD
Sam Cescau - Strategy Lead
Nus Madraswala - Strategy Director
Lesley Parks - Digital Strategy Director
Kayla Sredni - Social Strategist
Bruna Bechelli - Business Lead
Nora Chivelly - Business Director
Chaney Hart - Business Manager
Christina Curtis - Operations Manager
Anne-Camille Charpie - Business Affairs Manager
Asheden Hill - Associate Director of Communications
James Sowden - Chief Strategy Officer
Nancy Reyes - Chief Executive Officer
Production - Furlined
Directors - Will Speck and Josh Gordon
President - Diane McArter
Vice President - Ben Davies
Sr. Executive Producer - David Thorne
EP & Director of Production - Jay Wakefield
Producer - Donald Taylor
Director of Photography - Edu Grau
Edit - Cabin
Editor - Graham Turner
Assistant Editor - Connie Chuang
Senior Producer - Michelle Dorsch
Head of Production - Liz Lydecker
Executive Producer - Adam Becht
Managing Partner - Carr Schilling
Finishing/VFX - Parliament
Color - Company3
Colorist - Sofie Friis Borup
Head of Production - Julia Paskert
Producer - Alexandra Lubrano
Music Company - Mophonics Music
Creative Director - Stephan Altman
Composer - Roberto Murguia
Head of Production - Shelley Altman
Mix - Screaming Penguin
Mix and Sounds Design - Rob Fielack
Executive Producer - Zarina Mak