Maya Newell
Maya Newell

I caught Maya in transit

… sounds of traffic and then a car door. “Actually, I’m on my way to my Mums for dinner,” she says cheerfully to me

I have to laugh and reply that I’m guessing that is dinner with both her Mums and where on earth I should put the apostrophe on that? Maya’s answer is simple.

“I’ll leave that for you to decide.”

This is exactly the same approach Maya has taken with her rather ground-breaking Australian documentary – her foray into film-reviews making with Growing Up Gaybe. In the documentary Maya shares firsthand what it’s like to be a child with two Mums, but never once does she attempt to sway a viewers thoughts. Maya wants them to reach their own conclusions.

Listen to a few of Maya’s considered, thoughtful responses below. Although you cannot hear the voice of this young lady, you’ll soon sense the passionate intelligence of a woman pathing the way for a new understanding of what the term ‘family’ means in Australia.

You confronted two individuals with staunch opposing views from your own Maya. What was this like during the making of the documentary?

Reverend Fred Nile is known to pray for rain when Mardi Gras is on and has fuelled a lot of negative rhetoric for our families. But when you ‘face your enemy’ it can be surprising. I gained a lot of insight and understanding as to why he holds his values on the family. He had a rough time with his own family, and in the end, we can really only hope that others will not be quick to judge us, just as we are best not to judge ourselves.

The documentary is very balanced; tell us about that.

One of my favourite parts of the documentary was when Fred closed with the idea that most of Australia would agree with him. At that point, there is silence and it’s an opportunity for the viewer to make their own mind up about how they feel. I think it’s more effective when people come to their own conclusions.

How would you like the viewer to feel after watching this documentary?

I’d like people to come out with a more complex understanding of families. Not gay families, this documentary is also about Fred’s family and Janet’s family. I’d like others to re-think how they define the word family.

I think people often consider that kids with same-sex parents might be different in a bad way. By watching they would realise these children are different for lots of good reasons. We’re at a point in history where we can celebrate our differences.

And your experience growing up as a Gaybe?

As you’ll see, mine was a positive one. You’ll see in the film there are young kids 10 or 11, adults who have been raised by same-sex parents that are now in their 20s and 30s and the critics.

I grew up in a very gay-friendly, inner west suburb where it was almost cool to have two mums. But just a few suburbs away, another Gaybe in the documentary grew up in a situation where one of his Mums was considered ‘his aunty.’

Maya looks forward to sitting down with a glass of bubbles on Wednesday night when ‘Growing Up Gaybe’ airs at 9.30 pm on ABC2. This delightful girl, raised by two Mums, by all accounts to me seems to be well-adjusted, intelligent, empathetic and incredibly talented. But in Maya’s style, I’ll leave you to judge for yourselves.