Gayby Baby

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Gayby Baby
Gayby Baby poster.jpg
Directed byMaya Newell
Produced byCharlotte Mars
Music byMax Lyandvert
CinematographyMaya Newell
Edited byRochelle Oshlack
Release date
  • 29 April 2015 (2015-04-29) (Hot Docs)

  • 3 September 2015 (2015-09-03)
Running time
85 minutes

Gayby Baby is a 2015 Australian documentary film directed by Maya Newell that follows four children raised by same-sex parents.


Gayby Baby observes the lives of four children—Gus, Ebony, Matt and Graham—whose parents are either gay or lesbian,[1] and explores the ways in which growing up as a "gayby" has affected them.[2]


Gayby Baby was produced over three and a half years.[2] It was conceived and directed by Maya Newell, who was raised by lesbian mothers and felt that, in the same-sex marriage debate in the Australian media, "no one was actually talking to any kids".[3] She chose to address the topic of LGBT parenting from an observational perspective without entering the political debate around the issue, so that the film "addresses people's questions about that, but in a very non-political way because we're just watching this kid's life".[2][3] Newell also intended for the film to be an educational resource for teachers, so that they would be better equipped to answer children's questions about same-sex parenting and to address bullying of children with gay or lesbian parents.[2] The idea for the film originated from a short documentary, Growing Up Gayby, filmed by Newell for ABC2 in 2013.[1]

The families featured in the film were cast from around Australia; the filmmakers considered 30–40 children before selecting four 11–12-year-olds and their families. Newell approached one of the families and asked them to appear in the film after seeing a photograph of them in a newspaper.[4]

The film's funding was raised through a crowdfunding campaign and government grants.[1] The filmmakers advertised the project on Pozible, a crowdfunding website, in 2012; it raised A$118,375 from 1244 people, which at the time was the highest number of supporters for a film campaign on the website.[5] In October 2014, Newell pitched the film to financiers at Good Pitch Australia, where it received $180,000 in pledges from the Safe Schools Coalition, the Foundation for Young Australians, the Australian Primary Principals Association and the Sydney Film Festival.[2]


Initially, film director Maya Newell offered Gayby Baby to be screened in schools ahead of the film's official release for Wear it Purple Day 2015.[6]

The world premiere of Gayby Baby was held on 29 April 2015 at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival in Toronto.[7] The film premiered in Australia at the Sydney Film Festival in June 2015[8] and was released theatrically on 3 September 2015.[9]

A screening was planned during class time at Burwood Girls High School on 28 August 2015.[10] Mark Powell, a Presbyterian minister who gives seminars on Christianity at the school, told supporters he would organise to have the film banned and to contact as many media outlets as possible.[11] The Sydney Morning Herald reported that the school did not receive any formal complaints from parents.[11] A subsequent report in The Daily Telegraph said parents had complained to the school, the Education Department and to the Minister for Education, Adrian Piccoli, who directed all public schools in NSW not to show the film during class time,[12] and told Macquarie Radio, "schools are not places for political issues to be aired".[13] Human Rights Commissioner, Tim Wilson says he has no issue with the NSW government "banning" the documentary.[14] While Newell stated that she does not "see the film as having a political agenda necessarily or pushing anything down anyone's throat",[15][16] the film has been marketed as "stirring" political debate on same-sex marriage.[17] The debate also included the role of schools in articulating contentious subjects.[18]

The film was acquired for theatrical and digital distribution in the US, UK and Ireland with a release date of April 29, 2016.[19] In the US it received a PG rating from the MPAA and in the UK at PG rating from the BBFC.

In May 2016 it was reported that the Victorian Government-supported Safe Schools Coalition Australia program will include Gayby Baby as a resource for students in grade five to year 10.[20][21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c ""Gaying up" the big screen". Star Observer. 24 May 2015. Retrieved 3 June 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e Albert, Jane (31 January 2015). "Same-sex parenting addressed in Gaybies and Gayby Baby". The Australian. Retrieved 3 June 2015.
  3. ^ a b Carew, Anthony (3 June 2015). "Gayby Baby And The "Ugly Debate" Around Marriage Equality". The Music. Retrieved 3 June 2015.
  4. ^ Dunks, Glenn (4 June 2015). "Maya Newell: Why I made 'Gayby Baby'". Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  5. ^ Shad, Saman (26 February 2013). "Pozible gives birth to Gayby Baby". Special Broadcasting Service. Retrieved 3 June 2015.
  6. ^ Tan, Monica (2015-12-29). "Maya Newell on 2015 and Gayby Baby: 'We learned some things need to get ugly for change'". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-01-30.
  7. ^ "Gayby Baby". Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  8. ^ Groves, Don (28 April 2015). "Two Oz docs to screen in family-friendly Sydney Film Festival". IF Magazine. Retrieved 3 June 2015.
  9. ^ Hughes, Ron (19 August 2015). "Same-sex families doco Gayby Baby to open in cinemas next month". Gay News Network. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  10. ^ Bagshaw, Eryk (26 August 2015). "NSW Education Minister bans schools from screening gay film". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  11. ^ a b "The truth behind the Gayby Baby ban". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  12. ^ McDougall, Bruce (28 August 2015). "Gayby Baby: Parents objected to gay film's screening at Burwood Girls High School". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 28 August 2015.
  13. ^ "NSW govt denies Gayby Baby is banned". NewsComAu.
  14. ^ "Classroom controversy erupts over 'Gayby Baby' documentary". 3AW. 27 August 2015. Retrieved 28 August 2015.
  15. ^ glenndunks (4 June 2015). "Maya Newell: Why I made 'Gayby Baby'". samesame.
  16. ^ "Gayby Baby director: our families are told they are worth less – video". The Guardian. AAP. 27 August 2015. not an advocacy film
  17. ^ "Good Pitch Film Stirs Gay Marriage Debate".
  18. ^ Jensen, Michael (31 August 2015). "Whatever your thoughts on Gayby Baby, this wasn't about education". The Drum Australian Broadcasting Corporation ABC. Retrieved 2 September 2015.
  19. ^ Spangler,Todd (15 March 2016). "'Gayby Baby' Documentary About Kids of Gay Parents Gets Theatrical, Digital Release". Variety. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
  20. ^ Tomazin, Farrah (15 May 2016). "Safe Schools: Pre-election hostilities reignite over". The Age. Retrieved 15 May 2016.
  21. ^ Tomazin, Farrah (8 May 2016). "Gayby Baby: schools to get a lesson in family diversity". The Age. Retrieved 15 May 2016.

External links[edit]