Our Brand New Cousin
Our Brand New Cousin documents the developing relationship between three creative women, Canadian media artist Lorna (Rae) Boschman, her sister photographer Leanne Boschman, and their new cousin Australian writer/musician April Smallwood. Lorna was named after her uncle Ray, a merchant marine who passed away in 1990. Ray frequently holidayed in the Philippines. His siblings, Harvey and Gwen, sent their DNA samples for genealogical testing in 2017.
Meanwhile, in New South Wales, Australia, April Smallwood was surprised at her dad’s deathbed declaration – he may not have been her biological father. Gwen Johnson and April Smallwood submitted their DNA test kits to the same database within a month of each other. Test results revealed their biological connection – Gwen was April’s aunt and Lorna had a new first cousin, a daughter of whom her late Uncle Ray did not know. Our story reflects the contemporary wave of new family connections being discovered through DNA testing services and international databases.
The story has two interwoven strands, one for those who knew Ray personally, and another for April who is learning who he was. Virtually meeting April means that Ray Johnson, a man who has been dead for almost 30 years, has returned to life for his relatives and friends, as young as he was when we knew him. April’s story involves learning about a father she did not even know existed. The story must be captured now as it is taking shape, when emotions and insights are freshest for April and Lorna’s Canadian relatives. Many of those who were closest to Ray are now over 80 years old.
Gwen recently wrote to April: “Little did I imagine when I very reluctantly spit in the foolish little bottle that a niece would appear…A little about my brother Ray – I don’t remember why, but Ray was quite ill as a small child so he spent a lot of time with mom. He was always keen on poetry and stories, and mom had a remarkable gift for elocution, so she would con him into doing the dishes for poems that tell a story.”
Our thanks to Canada Council for the Arts for financial assistance through the Research and Creation component of the Explore and Create program.
Queers, Christians and Canadian Justice
A classic battle of conscience – will human rights lawyers and queer Christians triumph over a restrictive Community Covenant that forces queer students to avoid sex while attending an evangelical university?
“I never would have imagined that coming out would take me to this place where I would have a platform to share my story, and talk about the challenges as well as the beauty of being a queer Christian woman of colour.” Jenna Tenn-Yuk, Queer Christian Advocate, Writer and Speaker
“Homosexuals as such, we don’t have an issue with. Gay sex is another matter and we feel that, Biblically, that’s not appropriate and so we ask people to abstain from that.” Bob Kuhn, Trinity Western University President
Queers, Christians and Canadian Justice gives the LGBTQ2 outlook on the failed attempt by evangelical Trinity Western University to open a School of Law. At issue was their Community Covenant, which forbids gay sex of any kind for queer students, faculty and staff.
The case was decided in 2018 by the Supreme Court of Canada, in a ruling that weighed the religious rights of the University against the sexual freedom of queer students who planned to attend the proposed School of Law.
“There was no human rights protection anywhere in the country when I went to law school on the basis of sexual orientation. The social attitudes towards queers were, that we were either criminal or crazy.” barbara findlay, Q.C., Queer Lawyer and Activist
While mainstream media framed the case simplistically as religious vs. human rights, queer Christians and lawyers tell a much more nuanced story in our documentary. You’ll hear how those in faith communities transformed doubts into affirmation and acceptance and how Ontario, British Columbia and Nova Scotia lawyers stood with our community to call out the Community Covenant as a discriminatory policy. A gripping documentary addressing the path to full equality for LGBTQ2 citizens.
First broadcast on OUTtv in October 2019, the documentary is streaming online through the OUTtvGo link below: