a la familiaPost submitted by Lisbeth Melendez Rivera, A La Familia national coordinator

How many times do we hear how far behind our friends in America Latina are from us, the LGBT community, in the United States? Last week, once more I received a lesson on how much of a fallacy this is.

Thanks to our film director, Alex Gomez, and his ties to his native Colombia, we were approached by Canal Capital’s “El Sofa” to feature our upcoming film, “Before God: We Are All Familia,” during their family episode. Canal Capital is the Colombian equivalent of PBS and “El Sofa” can be thought of as the equivalent of “In the Life”.

I had a marvelous experience hanging out with Alejandro Jaramillo, producer of “El Sofa.” In addition to my interview, we spoke about his work developing this episode. He started the episode by presenting a hetero-normative family and departed from that point by presenting different forms of LGBT families. It follows the families through their daily routines over the course of a few weeks in order to show the commonalities so many of us share. It was touching to see a lesbian couple with a grown child who worries about his mothers being the face of the LGBT family movement in Colombia. I was brought to tears by a young gay couple trying to navigate the obstacles they face when trying to adopt, particularly when the conversation turned to the opposition they faced from religious entities and how hurtful it is when your faith works against you. How many times do we admire the struggles of single mothers, their hard work and the early maturity of children who understand their parents’ sacrifices and sadness at missing crucial moments in their children’s lives due to said struggles?

And yet, they live open lives, fighting for recognition, ensuring the decision of the Supreme Court of Colombia to recognize marriage equality becomes the law of the land, and moving to the next step: full family recognition regardless of form or constitution.

In the face of all of these stories my job was simple. We have documented how faith can be supportive, embracing and even helpful. I was honored and grateful to appear in the same space with them.

In closing, I can but only use their refrain: “La vida en familia es lo que hace familia,” or, “What makes a family is family life.” Colombia es Diversa.

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