Saturday Night Live spoofed Logo’s new show Fire Island by creating Cherry Grove, a fictional show about a group of “affluent lesbians” raising children.
The moms, played by Scarlett Johansson, Kate McKinnon, Aidy Bryant, Cecily Strong, and Sasheer Zamata, are a bunch of kale-eating, Annie Lennox-singing stereotypes, contrasted with the partying young gay men of Fire Island. It’s funny because even if we’re not those types, chances are we know someone who is.
Still: Let’s take a moment to remember that being a queer mom doesn’t necessarily mean adhering to this vision of life, even if we have the financial wherewithal. (Remember that children of same-sex couples have poverty rates twice as high as those of children of different-sex married couples.) Go read Paige Schilt’s Queer Rock Love: A Family Memoir (about which more here) for just one example of how LGBTQ people can remain radically queer and still be parents.
On the flip side, not all gay men are like those of Fire Island. I know plenty of gay dads, for example, who are as domestic as the women of Cherry Grove.
Nevertheless, maybe SNL is on to something. As Lindsay King-Miller wrote recently at Vice about queer parents on television:
We don’t see nuance or diversity in representations of queer parenting because none of these fictional families has a crew. Few LGBTQ parents in pop culture ever so much as interact with another same-sex parenting couple….
When LGBTQ characters show up in media, it’s usually as emissaries to the straight world rather than as part of a fully realized, dynamic LGBTQ community….
I think the time to normalize LGBTQ families by depicting us as fundamentally the same as straight families is through. As a queer mom, I want to see fictional characters I can relate to, not just because our marriages are superficially similar, but in terms of how they see the world and live their lives. I want to see archetypes of queer parenting that acknowledge the ways we aren’t just like straight people, that value us for our whole complex histories and selves.
Perhaps Cherry Grove isn’t the full solution, but maybe it (or something like it) could be part—an ongoing series about a wide and varied community of LGBTQ parents, from kale-eating, suburban lesbians to pink-haired, genderqueer, pansexual parents and everyone around and in between. Would they all be best friends? No. Would they have occasion to come together over shared aspects of their queerness and other identities? Absolutely. I’d tune in for that.
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