Happy Pride Month everyone! And welcome to another episode of the Repro Film podcast. I’m Asha Dahya, back with another fantastic and eye-opening conversation with filmmakers and experts who we are featuring this month. Because it’s Pride, we are excited to highlight a web series titled ‘Who Gets To Parent’, which follows queer couple Timmia Hearn DeRoy and Pere DeRoy who share their journey deciding to become parents, navigating the IVF process, and having a child. In this month’s periodical we will be featuring a couple of episodes from the series, which highlight issues of systemic racism in the medical world, as well as the cultural bias and legislative barriers the couple encounter along the way being a queer, mixed race couple. For a bit of background, Timmia is a theatre and film developer. She was a founding member of the Trinidad and Tobago PRIDE Arts Festival, former Director of the School for the Arts at the Trinidad Theatre Workshop, and former Marketing Manager at the CaribbeanTales International Film Festival.
Originally from Guyana and now residing in Kansas with her wife, Pere is a doctoral student in the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program at the University of Kansas. Pere’s current research explores the impact that healthcare systems have on reproductive pregnancy-related outcomes for Queer and Trans (Black, Indigenous, people of color).So when I mentioned I am speaking with filmmakers and experts, I’m referring to Timmia and Pere on both accounts. Not only are they incredibly accomplished and smart, THEY are the experts in their own lived experiences, and this is a narrative we need to see more of in the world, especially when it comes to reproductive decisions.
It also feels very timely to be having this conversation, as we are seeing a scary uptick in anti-LGBTQ legislation across the nation, especially in Republican-led states. Although Timmia and Pere explain how in Kansas they were surprisingly able to get IVF as a queer couple because they were married (which, BTW, makes you realize the wide-reaching impact of the need for equal marriage), across the nation there are a number of I.V.F. laws that still use a heteronormative definition of infertility that discriminate against the L.G.B.T.Q+ community.
Timmia and Pere’s journey was incredibly difficult, and I am in awe at what they endured, as well as the constant thinking-outside-the-box they had to do. And one of the most fascinating aspects of this conversation for me was the way they both talked about intentional parenting, and parent as a verb, not just a noun. As you’ll hear in their story, having a supportive community and medical team can make a world of difference, and the couple also recognize the value in representation on screen for others to know what is possible, despite the odds stacked against them. And this is why they made the series! Who gets to parent? I will let Timmia and Pere DeRoy answer this question.
Welcome to the rePROFIlm podcast, Timmia and Pere. And before we dive into the web series, tell me your story.
Pere DeRoy (03:27):
First of all, thank you for having us.
Timmia Hearn DeRoy (03:29):
We’re excited to be here. We’re very excited by this series in general. We’re so happy that this work is out there in the world and that this spotlight is being cast on reproductive health through film. I just think it’s so exciting. So thanks so much for having us
Pere DeRoy (03:43):
To start or just to speak to your question, to me. And I met at a film screening on the sex industry and sex tourism in the Caribbean. That was the beginning. Basically. She was not living in Toronto at that point. I was not, in, no living in Toronto. Moved like a yearbefore <affirmative>, or after 25th 2014, I moved to Toronto and I, it was a situation where I didn’t do anything but just leave the apartment, go to the library. And I did that all through my first year in grad school. And I just got invited to this screening.
Timmia Hearn DeRoy (04:28):
So I was working for Caribbean Tales International Film Festival that was based in Toronto. I was living in Trinidad in the Caribbean. I didn’t live in Toronto. and we screened a film called Sand Dollars. Well that’s the English name. It’s a Spanish language film about the sex industry and sex tourism in the Dominican Republic. and we were invited to the film screening. I was the marketing manager and I did all of the sort of outreach and community development work. And one of, we had these really exciting sort of talkbacks after every screening to talk about the content and engage the community. And one of the people we invited for the talkback for this screening was the foremost scholar on sex tourism and sex work in the Caribbean. Kamala Kedu, who was Pere’s advisor because she was researching sex trafficking and traffic labor trafficking in the Caribbean. Dr. Kedu came to the screening and she brought one student with her. Apparently s he invited the whole class, but only Pere
Pere DeRoy (05:28):
the student that really didn’t go to anything. But that one day I’m like, I’m gonna show up today. I’m gonna go and change my shirt. I’m gonna show up today,
Timmia Hearn DeRoy (05:37):
<laugh>. And I remember Pere was like the last audience member to arrive, right? She was late
Pere DeRoy (05:43):
Because I went to change my shirt and
Timmia Hearn DeRoy (05:46):
I was sitting like at the sort of swag booth. We were selling t-shirts and other things and passes and stuff. And I remember looking to my right through the ticket booth where my colleague Hanni was working, selling tickets. And I saw this very cute person standing there looking completely lost. And then, you know, she got a ticket. Well, first of all, she disappeared. Apparently we were cash only in Piat to go up the road, the a t m. So I thought, oh, well there, she’s gone. And then she came back and then she came in and then Pere, I’m gonna tell a kind of embarrassing story, a little bit of embarrassing.
Pere DeRoy (06:23):
Look what we’re doing right now. So it’s ok. You go right ahead.
Timmia Hearn DeRoy (06:27):
So Pere came into the theater and she has to go past my desk and Pere is looking at everything in the room except me. I mean Pere is like checking out the walls, the carpet, all the other people. So I could tell that she was, she thought I was cute too. So I was like, Hmm, I’ll check her out after the screening <laugh>.
Pere DeRoy (06:44):
Yeah, I noticed her from outside. <laugh> From outside I saw her. I’m like, “oh my goodness, what, what, what’s happening here?” So I, you know, I got nervous. but that was in 2015. And we met at this like, in my opinion, totally random situation, you know, causeI wasn’t doing anything. I wasn’t even going on like going out or like eating out or whatever, which has been a good international student trying to get through things. So 2015 and then 2016 we made it official, we’re gonna be together. And then 2017 we got married, <laugh> and we were gonna just stay in Toronto. And then things, one thing led to the next, we moved to Kansas, where to me grew up and
Timmia Hearn DeRoy (07:27):
Both went, started grad school at the University of Kansas.
Pere DeRoy (07:32):
and that’s it. That’s it. So, but we did make the decision actually till in 2016 two half children.
Timmia Hearn DeRoy (07:41):
Yeah. We started talking about having children in 2016. That was really important to me. I always wanted to have children. So when PI said she also wanted to have children, I was like, okay, you’re gonna lock that in.
Pere DeRoy (07:53):
So, and lemme tell you, and I’ll tell you this, I didn’t, I never before 2014 decided on children. I didn’t, you know, I grew up in Guyana, south America, Caribbean, you know, I’ve seen so much maternal deaths or people dying in birth, childbirth. I’ve seen lots of female headed households. a lots of people who are left parenting and even when they’re single parent households, they don’t have enough money because of the ways in which we underpay women, right? So it’s not to say that because it’s a single parent household, they were poor. No. Because they were women head in these households. Like, so I saw this, this real strain on women to parent. If anything goes wrong with the child, it’s the mother. If anything goes wrong with the female person in the relationship, the feminine person in the relationship, I was like, that’s someone necessary bullshit right here. Sorry, can I say that? Yeah,
Timmia Hearn DeRoy (08:52):
Pere DeRoy (08:54):
Right? So I, so I already made this decision since probably I was nine years old, right? To not even look at myself as ever gonna parent. And you know, when I met Timmia and I was on my own and I was just navigating life on my own and, you know, I’m like, actually I made, I chose Timmia when we met. Like I tell Timmia, one of the greatest things I feel like in my life is that I actually chose someone and they chose me without trying to persuade me to be with them, trying, feeling pressured that I’m checking a box or to keep my idea of a woman or keep my, I like not to be stigmatized or discriminated the against. I’m like, you know, this is the first time and when I start to feel that and I was able to have income to take care of myself and love myself, I actually felt like, oh, I can parent, I can do that. So that’s when I made that decision. I told her
Timmia Hearn DeRoy (09:45):
And I, I promise I didn’t pressure Pere to have kids. Yeah. She brought it up first. [Yeah] Then I was like, “oh, okay, yeah, let’s do that.”
Pere DeRoy (09:53):
So that was it.
Asha Dahya (09:54):
It’s such a big decision and, and thing to connect on. And I love how your background has a bit of the film world and grad school and and parenting the, you know, the mutual decision to parenting because it is such a big decision for anyone. You know, Pere, you mentioned where you came from and what you see. And today in America, the, the statistics that we see around maternal health are also not great which we’ll get into in a little bit. But parenting is, is definitely a hard and a big decision, but documenting that in a web series is a whole other level of vulnerability. Tell me what made you want to make this web series? Who gets to parent and document your journey to parenthood?
Timmia Hearn DeRoy (10:40):
So the moment we decided that we wanted to do that, we actually talk about a little bit in episode four which will be part of the screening. And it was when we were with our primary healthcare provider, and she was very blatantly racist towards Pere with a big smile on her face as though she was, you know, being, it was normal, not racist at all,
Pere DeRoy (11:02):
Because it is normal.
Timmia Hearn DeRoy (11:04):
Exactly. And <laugh> after that.
Pere DeRoy (11:07):
Yeah, that was, yeah, that was the, I think that was the, that was, what do you call it? The, the catalyst? No, yeah, it, yeah, like the, the stick that break broke the camel’s
Timmia Hearn DeRoy (11:18):
Asha Dahya (11:18):
That straw that breaks the camel’s back. Yep.
Pere DeRoy (11:20):
Yeah. That, that moment. And that was 2018. So let me give you this timeline. So when Tomi and I decided in 2016 we are gonna have, and you know, we were living in Toronto, we, we had rights to like marriage and same sex relationship were like recognized. So we didn’t think that we were ever, ever gonna move. so I was there. And so 20 16, 20 17, 20 18, that’s when we talked to our provider or,
Asha Dahya (11:49):
And is this in Kansas or still in Toronto?
Pere DeRoy (11:51):
This is now because we moved to Kansas
Timmia Hearn DeRoy (11:53):
Pere DeRoy (11:55):
In 2017, right? So 2018, we realized that, oh, this is gonna be a very difficult journey, right? Because we couldn’t get easy support or even stories of support from the people that we knew because no one was really using assisted reproductive technology or if they, or if they had something to say. It was a matter of why y’all want children in this world, why y’all don’t adopt, they already telling us. So it seems like the best people to go to, to get support was the physician or the health practitioner. So in 2018, we decided to start this journey officially, and we approach our, our health provider and what she said in who she asked a question, so who’s gonna carry? And we said, “Timmia.” Then she said, “Why Pere? Why wouldn’t you let Pere carry? Because Pere has hips and like African ancestry.
Asha Dahya (12:52):
Oh my gosh.
Timmia Hearn DeRoy (12:52):
She said something about because of your Afro-Caribbean ancestry means that you have good childbearing hips or something.
Asha Dahya (12:59):
Oh my gosh.
Timmia Hearn DeRoy (13:00):
And she says it with a big smile on her face. It was very, she was trying to be nice. And you know, as you mentioned, I make films and develop films and do theater. And Pere is a consummate researcher of all topics. I always joke, Pere learned everything she knows from a book. And so we decided, well, let’s use our skillset to build community because we, we are the first of our friends in queer same sex relationships to pursue parenthood. And the first that we know to do it in the way that we did. This wasn’t a charted path that we’d learned from somebody else. And it was very isolating and at times scary. And, you know, we thought, well, we might as well turn the struggles that we are having into something positive by sharing this with others and helping others take the journey that we took in a way that has some guidance. You know, like we, we, we weren’t seeing anybody else having created the content to chart through the kind of I v f journey that we were on. So we thought, well, you know, we should make it.
Asha Dahya (14:06):
Seeing someone else on screen or in media who represents your lived experiences is such a big deal. so I think that’s really powerful and and kudos to you for, you know, being willing to put that out all out there and, and share that with other people. And I wanna talk about the title for a moment. Who Gets to Parent? This feels very significant and weighted right now in America today as well as with your personal story. What made you choose the title?
Pere DeRoy (14:35):
It’s part of understanding. So the, a little bit a one second on, so I research reproductive justice held disparities and equities, right? So when I enter this, when I started my personal reproductive journey, everything that I have, like I’ve read like a hundred years, right? Back, it didn’t even matter if I was in the Caribbean. It didn’t, it didn’t matter that I was in the us it had this one tone, right? I was the socioeconomic context, the political debates around pro-life debates, you know, dominant narrative was like everywhere. And I was like, there’s so many con contradictions on, oh, we as a pro-life idea, a pro-life essence of life, yet why do I feel that I can’t do this? And when I turn to other people, you know, I turn to people, there’s a way in which I get the stories that I’m hearing is that their pregnancy or their desire to have children, you know, as a black person, as a, like a female person or a woman on their own or a interracial couple, a queer couple, a same sex.
Like they continue that they share their experiences in such, like in secrecy or that they’ve had so much pain and they haven’t processed it, or they’re afraid to even talk about how much money they spent because they don’t have a child to show, you know, and they’re afraid to share this with other people. Cause people would say, well, you wanna go make a child and you won’t play God and it bring in this fertility and now you don’t have anything. So then there is the issue of housing, right? People don’t have safe place to live. We are all about, okay, bringing people into the world. Pe some people don’t have great or good standard of living. Like, you know, their income is below the poverty rate, or the poverty level is very high in where they live. Their access to housing is determined on their race, on their sexuality, how they express gender, whether they’re married.
I’m like the decision to parent actually. And then you have other women sharing their experiences with me are with both of us on, well, I didn’t really decide to have this child, it just happened and I didn’t really wanna have abortion because I didn’t really want no problems. And they literally had nothing to give this child or even had themself. The idea now of who gets the parent really speaks to the capabilities and the power one has to self determine to be present to who gets the parent provokes questions on when you see someone, what is their ability to say, yes, I’m, I would like to be a parent, I would or I would like to conceive. And what are their capabilities to protect that child, to be accountable for that child to say, okay, well I have to send them to school because if I don’t send them to school, I’m probably gonna be jailed for, for not sending my child to school. But yet you, your, your job cannot afford it. Or that, you know, people hold narratives around you being a bad person because you are queer. You are just, yeah. So all these things determine who, who can really parent in a healthy environment, be present in a healthy way, psychologically, mentally, emotionally, hug their child and kiss them. You know? So everything about your identity affects your ability to self-determined and be self-possessed. And that is where that, those are the factors that influence the title of the name and what it holds. The series.
Timmia Hearn DeRoy (18:32):
I think, I think that what Perece bringing up at the end there, I just wanna shine a little spotlight on it, which is this concept of choice. There’s this point in the documentary series, we use all these kind of like flashy bubbles, which are fun on the screen, and there’s like a still shot, that’s my favorite in the series it says magical gay parenting choice if the four bubbles, they’ve all popped up at different points, but that’s what the screen says. And I think that with that whole episode, we’re talking a lot about choice, choice, choice, choice, choice. We bring up the fact that my parents chose to have me together. They said, oh, we wanna have two children. And they made that happen. And PI’s mom didn’t get the option to choose how many kids she wanted or with whom she wanted to have them.
And how so many people get to choose to have children and other people don’t get to choose to have children or if to have children. And then on top of that, the idea of getting to choose your own path and how you’re gonna raise your kids, both contemporarily and historically is like this luxury, right? You know, you’re a woman, you get pregnant, you have to take that child to term, and then you have to become a parent. Or if you are infer teller, if you’re queer or whatever is in your way, you don’t get to parent. And even though you might want to, you know, you aren’t allowed to adopt. You aren’t because you’re a single parent or whatever it might be. And we wanted to draw, draw the spotlight onto this, who gets that choice. And all of those they’re getting is based on our systems, which are larger than us, as Pere pointed out all of the different identity questions.
And then also we wanted to put parent as a verb, not as a noun, because there’s this very biological determinist view that we hold a society about what it means to parent. And that simply means you either gave an egg or a sperm to a gammy, which became an embryo, which became a fetus, which became a baby. And so whether or not you were involved in that choice for that baby to be born, you are now a parent. And even adoptive parents who have rights and they have history, people will often ask, are your real parents Right? Even though those are your real parents. And so, and
Pere DeRoy (20:51):
Yeah. And they’re consenting to be there for you and they’re consenting to love you. And they’re con you know, we, we are still thinking that if you don’t have my genetics, then we are not your
Timmia Hearn DeRoy (21:06):
Parents parent. So we wanted to make parents,
Pere DeRoy (21:08):
Timmia Hearn DeRoy (21:08):
Parents. We wanted to make real parents. [Yeah, yeah.] We wanted to make a differentiation. We have this thing that we call consent based parenting that we’re emphasizing because we wanna emphasize the difference between creating a child and being a parent or getting, getting the right to parent. And to say that nobody should be forced to parent just as nobody should be denied the right to parent, not in the way that they want or the way that’s good for the child, and not all of us because of, you know, the larger systems we live in, even if we do choose to have that child and to give birth to that child is to bring it into the world. Then sometimes you have to work so many jobs that you don’t actually get to parent that child. Your child gets raised by the media, the streets, the schools. You aren’t getting the right to raise your child in your healthy and safe environment of your choosing. So we really wanted to emphasize this idea of consent and choice and of getting, being, I mean, if, if there’s a point to what we’re saying other than to share our journey, it’s to advocate for parenting, getting to be a choice that every parent should have the right, nobody, no man, no woman, no non-binary person should be forced to parent or denied the right to parent. And that’s really what we’re trying to say.
Asha Dahya (22:28):
That’s so powerful. I just love the idea of parenting as a verb, not just this idea which comes with all the stigma and pa you mentioned the, the pro-life ideas, quote unquote pro-life. I feel like I always have to put quotes after that, you know, and, and the amount of hypocrisy historically and the racism that has come with that political movement. And so I a as you’re talking, I’m hearing what we need is reproductive justice, and that’s what the reproductive justice movement stands for. All of those things that who has the right to parent and who has the safety and support and community and or the right not to parent. And so I think that’s such a, a beautiful issue that’s interwoven into the series. And, and what you’re telling me too, as a queer couple, as a biracial couple, there are multiple intersections you’re navigating when it comes to the medical system. And you touched on this just before. Let’s talk about what it means to be a, a queer couple utilizing assisted reproductive technology. Can you talk about what is a r t and how difficult it was to navigate and access in in Kansas?
Timmia Hearn DeRoy (23:32):
Yeah, absolutely. So ART or assisted reproductive technology, or as I like to say art,
Pere DeRoy (23:38):
Everyone says that
Timmia Hearn DeRoy (23:39):
I know, but I, not
Pere DeRoy (23:40):
Everyone, but lots of people
Timmia Hearn DeRoy (23:41):
<laugh>. I like to like art because it implies this process creation that is beautiful. It’s a series of medical procedures that are designed to treat infertility, right? That’s what they were designed for. And so in episode one, we give a more full history of it. So I won’t go into all of the kind of strange twists and turns of the story, but suffice it to say there are two main kinds of art that are used generally today. The first one is artificial insemination, and the second one is in vitro fertilization. So AI or I v F. so this is a medical third party management of sperm and egg fertilization, conception. And the way that each one of them works is, in either case, sperm are taken outside of the body and preserved and kept and tested and, you know, kept in a specific place.
And in artificial insemination that sperm is taken and injected or planted into the female reproductive system inside somebody’s live body. so similar to how natural conception takes place, the sperm is put into the female body. Yeah, it’s a system, yeah. Yeah. By exactly biomedical procedure. but the fertilization takes place in the female reproductive system in the body, whereas in vitro fertilization, you take the egg out of the female body and you take the sperm out of male body and the fertilization takes place in a lab. And then once there’s a viable embryo that is implanted assistance into the female body where hopefully it takes hold and grows into a fetus. and so we did the second one, which is I V F and we chose that one because we wanted to use Peres eggs and I wanted to carry, so there was no way to do it without I V F. So that is what we did. And you know, maybe Pere wants to talk a little bit more about the difficulties we faced in this
Pere DeRoy (25:40):
Process. Yeah. I mentioned earlier that you can just maybe have a conversation. You’ve seen someone pregnant in your house before or you know, you can just call ’em up and say, mad, let me talk about this thing. Let me, let’s just stop. That was an option for us because we first have to go through narratives of what our body should be like, why we wanna get pregnant mm-hmm. <affirmative>, or why don’t we adopt? So, so we were like, okay, let’s cut, cut that out. And then we went to the medical practitioner and what the medical practitioner, to be honest, that was like me saying, no, I don’t wanna go forward with this. Like mm-hmm. <affirmative> at every step I felt like, oh, okay, you, you’re telling me that I’m not fit to parent because I am gonna die. You already telling me that I’m gonna die. Like you are saying signaling things.
Timmia Hearn DeRoy (26:23):
Let, let’s, let’s, let’s look at it. Can I just like recontextualize that a little bit for you? Because I think what the medical practitioner was telling you, you, it is so easy for you to have a baby to be pregnant that we’re not even gonna pay attention to you. And so that’s, yeah, that’s what the medical person was saying. Remember she said, remember she said that Pere had the child bearing hips, right? Completely.
Pere DeRoy (26:43):
So if I’m in pain, if I’m in pain, it’s trying to say that my pain tolerance is higher than any other racial group. Which means that if there is something, a specific complication that I am calling out for attention, then it’s okay, it’s going to get better. Right? So I already read what the comment that she made as neglect, right? Invoking like even Dorothy Roberts and like Loretta Ross and these artists that talk about reproductive justice and, and so forth. Like you, they already letting us, they already told us the context in which are described, the context of which who’s given birth, right? So the, when I couldn’t get support from the close friends and family and I couldn’t get support from the person who basically should be the direct contact person, which is our practi our care provider, I’m like, okay, it’s time to research. And this is where my research skills came in cuz like being a lifelong student, <laugh>, oh my goodness. Yeah. Like I rely on research to get me through. And first thing I found out is that this is not a concrete everyday conversation. Assisted reproductive technology or walk in this journey is not just a part of like family planning conversations, right? It’s like on the extremes of okay, you want this and all else fail, but we know something else and it’s in the corner of way over there, right? And it’s
Timmia Hearn DeRoy (28:09):
Also generally reserved for the economically privileged
Pere DeRoy (28:13):
After navigating those like, okay, this is not a support system that can give me answers. I decided I’m just gonna start research on my own. January, 2017, 2018, I was on this rough. Like I was just, okay, is there one facility that can move us through the Cairo bank situation to the I V f to the management of the pregnancy or to the fertilization situation? No. So like, okay, Timmia, we’re gonna break it up. So we are gonna do the Cairo bank first, which is focus on our donor. Cuz that’s gonna cost a lot of money. That’s like roughly we are gonna pay between five to 7,000 is gonna come out our, our pocket just dealing with that part. And then, but before we do that to Mia, we need to look for a place that’s very L G B T friendly and not only friendly, that starts with the assumption that parenting is not something that’s, is like, it’s not a biological, just a biological thing, right? So it doesn’t make us feel that whatever we conceive is not ours. So we need a, a Cairo bank that can able to help deliver that. We need a chiro bound that can understands that same sex relationship. There are politics around it and therefore they might need to inform us or depend on where you live. There’s policy saying who has right parental rights. So
Timmia Hearn DeRoy (29:27):
We did find that place. Yes. We went to the sperm Bank of California, which is a great space in in Berkeley, California Pere. Found it. Yeah. And she sent me this website and it’s this beautifully constructed website. You can see clips of it in our series. And we thought that it was like this huge place and it’s this time very personal, very sweet run. I mean the director sat us down and gave us information and talked about her parenting journey. so by the time we finished working with this cryo back, we really felt supported by
Pere DeRoy (30:03):
Them. And that’s the first stage. Now again, this was not easy, right? So I’m pushing through like lots of research online, people saying this, how much it costs cuz I can’t get this information in one place. So we are, we returned from California. I’m like, okay, Timmia, we are ready to go in the second half of it. The second half includes basically our bodies because we are carrying, and eggs will be extracted from one of us. We need someone, an institution. So we did some of our research, this is like basically calling up professors who I know work on reproductive technologies. And I was just asking questions and I’m like, okay, I will now move, make my move. And that’s how, and like we are graduate students, so we are like, we got like that tool to, to do research and get us answers, but so we train.
So what I’m trying to say is, if you were not trained to be a researcher to go, like asking specific questions, you wouldn’t know where to start if you weren’t in that position. So after we finished, I, I, I called up so many people, I was like I said, I introduced to me, to some people I knew. I’m like, listen, this is someone who wrote an article on this subject, can we have a meeting? And, you know, so it was something like that’s how we navigated very like peace. And then after that we decided on in Kansas, the medical institutional that did the IVF management to conception, right?
Timmia Hearn DeRoy (31:30):
So the University of Kansas Medical Systems, there is a specific IVF clinic or assisted reproductive technology in general clinic that we ended up working with over a series of years.
Pere DeRoy (31:42):
I should wrap this up on this point though, when we actually got to this part, another big chunk. So when we said it was it difficult to access first, if you got to the first hurdle of lack, lack of support or lack of information, you got through those first hurdles. Now you got, you are at the door. What’s gonna make you push that door is how much money you have in your pocket. What’s your mental, mental sta stability at this point? Are you frustrated by all this now? Do you feel you can go forward? Do you feel loved in this process? Can you actually show up without cussing everybody out and telling them what, what, like how their harm in you? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So like you, you must have, and this was, this was known cause after the consultation or during the consultation, you put an i IVF team that will, that did the, the management part, bringing the embryo and the sperm together. They let us know the price for everything. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, right? So you basically gotta go home and do a budget, a quick budget. Remember this is no extra like we are not including the Cairo bank. This is already paid for. This is the new, the new part, the second part, right? So you better have 20 grand ready.
Timmia Hearn DeRoy (32:57):
Asha Dahya (32:57):
Pere DeRoy (32:58):
Yeah. Ready. And you must have medication fees like the, the like maybe 5,000
Timmia Hearn DeRoy (33:04):
That’s within the 20 grand.
Pere DeRoy (33:06):
You must have this to pay out. And this is like a chunk. You must have that. so when I say if it’s difficult, I would like go off and say it is difficult,
Timmia Hearn DeRoy (33:17):
Right? And then on top of that, the last stage of inaccessibility that I would say we were encountering to get through each one of these stages, you’ve got the money, you pay the money, and then the I V F clinic has all of these forms that are asking to be filled out by husband and wife and Pere. And I couldn’t figure out who was the husband and who was the wife at what point in the IVF process, because remember Pere went through half of the process and I went through the other path. So we filled out the forms with Pere being the wife, the part of them, and me being the wife with the other part. And we sent and, and, and they’re, you know, dozens of forms. They’re very long, they’re very annoying. And then we send them all in and then they cry back.
I mean, the I P F clinic calls us back and tells us we filled them all out wrong and we had to start all over again. But it would be so much simpler if the forms were designed for who’s getting egg extract, who’s carrying, like, based on the actual things that we’re doing, as opposed to the assumption of man and wife. There’s actually a part in the, you haven’t seen it yet because these episodes are in post-production right now. But in the later episodes where we filmed me on the phone with the I V F clinic and they say, you know, I said, can, can my partner come in? And the person on the phone says, yeah, hubby is welcome and this is like, I’m already pregnant at this point. So they know who, you know, they have all the information over and over and over and over again.
The clinic referred to Pere as my husband, despite the fact that she’d literally given the egg. And then another thing that happened, this is actually earlier, is when Pere was going through the first part of the medical procedure, they kept asking me for permission to do things to Pere even though it was her because I was the one who was gonna be pregnant. Wow. So they couldn’t conceptualize that their two bodies, even though I will say that so many of the other clients that we saw at the clinic were also queer and or trans people. So it’s not that they don’t have that clientele, it’s just that systems have not been designed for us, with us in mind. So yes, pretty inaccessible, despite how much money we paid for everything. Yeah.
Asha Dahya (35:32):
I think you just kind of summed it up with the systems are not designed for all bodies and all people and all types of relationships, which goes back to the idea Pere. You mentioned Dorothy Roberts and Loretta Ross, who are considered the godmothers of the reproductive justice movement. Their book is literally called Reproductive Justice. And you know, they’re outlining the way that the systems are not designed for. I mean, they’re specifically talking about predominantly black women in the United States and what you went through Pere, and just those attitudes from the doctor. That’s where you see, that’s why we have such a high maternal mortality rate in the US disproportionately toward black and brown women. And so it all goes back to the system. The system needs an overhaul and it needs to reflect the clients that are coming in. And clearly there are, you know, multiple queer people and trans couples.
And so that’s, it’s, it’s like they need to reflect the reality of the world and the language that we use and the systems use as well is just so that needs to change and update a lot. So I’m really glad you focus on that in episode four. The, you know, the systemic racism and also you mentioned the idea of conscious and unconscious bias, whether it’s racism, but also comments like, why don’t you just adopt? And you, you talk about how you know, some of your friends and people in your social circle, some of the comments that, you know, they’d come out with you were surprised that, you know, they’d said certain things like, oh, why, why would you wanna do that? Or why don’t you just adopt? Or, you know, what, why have children, this world is going to hell in a hand basket. You know, all those kind of things. How do you navigate all those, you know, the comments and a, along with all the complexities of just the a r t process.
Pere DeRoy (37:18):
I’ll tell you, we just start pouring so much more love into each other and patience into each other because we realize how alone we were on this journey. It’s just like a mirror every time. Here I am, I’m the black person. I’m the immigrant here. I’m the one that came from the working class background. I’m the one whose family wasn’t even speaking to me, really, or had nothing to offer because homosexuality is, you know, not right, not godly, not holy. So I was on my own like the layers of the, the marginalized position, which I took on just cont. And then there’s to Meia, she’s also affected by this. Like when she talks to family and they’re like, well, why don’t you use your eggs instead of prx, because this is, now I know exactly where that comment come from. Pere’s body comes from a history of, of trauma. It’s tarnish, it’s contaminated. Like, you know, it’s damaged inherently by being what it is in this form. So to me, us understand when people make comments like that. So it affected her negatively. I I, I’m also her partner and here we are realizing that we are alone. At one point I got so angry because I’m like, why? Look, look again to me. Look, it’s you. Even though the white presenting person here got like the least scars. I, every time I go to a meeting, every time I see a medical practitioner, I if I went to war and come back with scars all over my body. So what we did, we like, we’re gonna drop all arms now. That’s how I feel. I feel correct. I was going to war on this i v F journey, right? And tomy and I, we meditated more. I actually turned to to be real, like honest.
My research is start helping me to explore traditional care practitioners who are doulas or the people who are not midwives in the hospital, health workers who are able to talk about stuff like what rest does to the hormones, what rest does to the body in reproduction. Like, you know, like bring that technical knowledge but also not use very technical words. So I start, go reaching out for books and I said to Mia, we have to do this and we actually gotta be there for each other. We went to couples therapy on like talking about reproduction and what that means to me. Start relying on me a lot more for research and trusting the information I bring to us. And we will discuss it. We start mapping out a, a plan. And one thing that we had and we checked in with each other, the constant bo like hustle to get work done.
We’re like, listen, if we fail a course or we don’t deliver in a particular way or we super because we can’t take on other jobs right now, let it be because we are only gonna feel like if we need an outcome, a very specific outcome. And this pregnancy is not guaranteed, this baby is not guaranteed. So we just gotta pour love right now into ourselves and into each other. We need to remember the context in which we are given birth and the context being very heterosexist, very racist, anti-black racist, very classes, very ableist is so many narratives we are about to navigate. And I think the best thing to do when, so one for example, after we came off on the second lap of like the IVs journey, the nurse called to me, called us, it was my turn to get screening to start my treatment.
And they called the phone and they asked to speak it to me, up to me. It’s not available at the moment. Then they left their name. I’m like, are you calling from here because I am Pere Droy, I’m the person who’s next on the, the pro in the procedure. Like it’s my body that will be going through this first. And she’s like I don’t think I have a permission or consent to speak with you. And it’s things like that. I’m like, how can you not have that? I’m like, first of all, you didn’t give me my, my portal you have to me is speaking for me. This is my body. Why can’t you speak to me considering that I will be writing those checks? What? You know, so then so why? And and then at that same moment to me it said to me, Pere, we will deal with this.
So she went and she did what she had to do. She’ll tell you a little bit about that. But then it was that moment where she stopped and she realized that the child was like being pregnant. Pregnant wasn’t the thing. It was about holding each other. Because if we can’t have that support for each other right now and see each other’s pain, then her fighting on my behalf will not even make any sense what was, what would be the value, right? So she ev at every moment in this process, in this process, we stop to check in and then retool to support each other.
Timmia Hearn DeRoy (42:15):
Go ahead. No, that’s cool. I appreciate that. I think another reason that we wanted to make this series is because with, we see a lot of people either talking from opposition of privilege within a racist system or we see people talking from a position of marginality within this is different. I call us interracial couple or multiracial couple instead of biracial because I’m mixed but I look white. So I still receive the privilege of that. You know, I called the medical institution and yelled at them and said, you know exactly what Pere said, just I said it. And then they apologized and talked to Pere from then on. But she’d already said that. But I think that what another thing we wanted to look at is being very transparent about like we literally can see the mechanisms working in the system because we’re actually talking to the same people about the same things and receiving different treatment. Because I have a pro block lens, I’m able, I don’t just think it’s normal. I’m able, we’re able to assess why am I receiving this treatment and why are you receiving this treatment? As opposed to assuming that doing something right in Pere’s, doing something wrong, which I think is really easy to do when you’re not seeing it all laid out right in front of you based on the two different experiences with the same system.
Asha Dahya (43:45):
I just wanna make a comment that I wish people could see you both as I’m interviewing you now because the love is and care for each other is so tangible and you can see it. And, and it really is true when they say having a child can make or break a relationship. And for you to navigate that space and be mindful about it before the child even comes along is so powerful and beautiful to see. So thank you for sharing that part and talk about parenting as a verb. You were doing it before a child was even part of the picture, you know, taking those intentional steps. So I wish people could see that, but hopefully they can get this through hearing your voices. Something a little bit more positive that I would love people to know about is the landscape in Kansas. I mean everything is changing right now in the U us.
Everything is, you know, every state is very different. Roe v Wade has been overturned and so now every kind of state is doing their own thing. some are going backwards, some are doing some really exciting things. But one of the things we talked about was that don’t sleep on Kansas because you know, they passed this major abortion rights amendment last year in 2022, which was huge step forward. So can you talk about what’s happening in Kansas? What are some of the important things that people should know about and that maybe they don’t know about that are happening in Kansas?
Timmia Hearn DeRoy (45:02):
We talk a lot about Kansas being this like secret secret. But again, you know, so let’s talk a little bit about the reproductive rights bills. Kansas made abortion a constitutional right years ago. And then when the, with the overturn of Roe v Wade, there was a referendum where they tried to overthrow that amendment so that they could pass anti-abortion legislation. And you know, as many people I know in Kansas said finally we made the news for something good. Oh my gosh. because the, you know, there’s definitely a lot of other things going on in Kansas that aren’t always great, but the fact that this attempt to overturn this amendment failed in a significant way, it wasn’t close. Mm-hmm <affirmative>, it was very clearly we want abortion to be a right was a really big step to protect that choice that Pere and I are talking about.
Cause it’s not just about abortion rights, it’s about the right to control your own body and your own reproductive life. And people generally simplify it to, oh it’s the right to have an abortion. No, it’s the right to actually consent to what you wanna do with your body. That is really important in Kansas. And also there are, there are provisions Pere was mentioning when we went to the cryobank, you know, we’ve learned about second parent adoption and intent to parent and in some places I would’ve had parental rights because I was the gestational parent. But Pere wouldn’t have, and in some places Pere as biological parent would’ve had parental rights and I wouldn’t. But because we are married in Kansas, we both, without question became the defacto parents, is what the legal term is. So we are def defacto parents. And so in, you know, in both our names are on our kids’ birth certificate and there was never a question like, is there a father?
None of those things were ever asked because of the defacto parent or law laws that exist in Kansas. But again, you have to be married. So if you’re not married, there is no right to second parent adoption for queer couples without an automatic right to second parent adoption, which there are in other states. So in some places you can declare what you can get a written from a judge, which is an intent parent, which allows you to do second parent adoption immediate as opposed to in other states where one person would be the defacto parent and then the other person would to go through an entire adoption process to become second parent sometimes even if they’re married. So it’s really all over the place in the states as you say about what is legal. But I will tell you in Kansas, being a queer female sext couple who are married, it was very easy for us to get those rights to parent our child rights, those legal rights to parent our child. And we were very grateful for that because there was one less thing to stress about.
Pere DeRoy (47:56):
Yeah. and even like, not necessarily on the policy, like the part of it, the legal part of it is just that type of interactions as well. And you know, I’m also a little bit patient. I know to me it’s not as patient as I am. Cuz she’s like pregnant and she was, she went into the room, she was constantly asked, what are you having a boy or a girl? Right? And you know, we’re to me is like, I’m having a child, you know, what is a female child or a male child? So to me it would come home and say, why don’t these practitioners in this with so much more information emergent on sexuality, on gender, on sex, and, you know, why are they not understanding this? And we know as queer people how this gendering can affect your life, right? Yeah. Like we understand the, the adverse effect of this.
Even the pa like not so adverse. But one thing I wanna say, like there are like two instances which just made me feel like Kansas is gonna get better. Or three actually one is, you know, my doula, the doula that we, we we recruited her hired to work with us. She basically focused on queer and trans bipo populations. Right? So she came with a history of knowledge about what is it like for this population and really empowered gift child birth education and whatnot. So that was, two, when Timmia in was giving birth. Now this shouldn’t have happened, but it did while Timmia was in labor, they were asking Timmia, is it a boy or a girl?
Timmia Hearn DeRoy (49:32):
Oh, they did?
Pere DeRoy (49:33):
Timmia Hearn DeRoy (49:34):
I don’t remember this. Oh my gosh.
Asha Dahya (49:36):
And probably cause you were in labor <laugh>.
Pere DeRoy (49:37):
Exactly. You were on the table, like you were on the bed, right?
Timmia Hearn DeRoy (49:40):
Sorry. I was in labor for 23 hours long.
Pere DeRoy (49:43):
And then I looked at the doula and the doula looked at us and she was already there and we’re like, we are not gendering the baby. It’s a baby at this moment and we are happy to have a baby. But the same doctor that asked this question, and you know, she said, and I was proud of that moment, even though it was, it angered me. She’s like, I am sorry. You are right. You are having a child and we, you know, it has a, an assigned sex and we don’t know the gender of the child. And I, and for me, she, and she did this in the presence of other persons in that room. And to me that basically is a signal for where Kansas is going in terms of like, she taking that position saying, you’re right, you’re right. The third thing that I talked about.
Yeah. I’ve got a few things that happened that really let me know that yeah, you don’t sleep on Kansas, but you can keep sleeping, sea leave Kansas alone. Like when Ruby Wade was turned, like we were in contact with our IVF team. So even when mm-hmm. <affirmative>, they, they haven’t invested resources into the, the narratives or who’s, who’s giving birth at the same time they’re like, we are gonna let you know what’s happening with your embryo. And they were in constant communication with us, or not really constant, but let us know there was transparency and what that outcome is and they said that they were fighting and sure. That we or rights are predicted.
Timmia Hearn DeRoy (51:06):
Just to remember one thing about these sweeping anti-abortion legislations that are happening around the country. Some of them make it impossible to destroy an embryo, right?
Asha Dahya (51:18):
Yes. This affects IVF and fertility treatment.
Timmia Hearn DeRoy (51:21):
It’s very, very, very problematic for IVF clinics because for example, we have five frozen embryos right now. We do not want five more children. Right. Probably, who knows <laugh> <laugh>.
Asha Dahya (51:36):
Maybe that’s a separate conversation
Timmia Hearn DeRoy (51:38):
But the point is that we also don’t want anybody else to use these embryos if we decide not to use them because there ours, right? Some people do embryo adoption, which is their choice. But anyway, the point is it puts you in a lot of risk as a couple going through IVF to have somebody be able to seize your genetic material and just off with it if there were certain laws passed. Yeah. Yeah. So we were really happy that the IVF clinic was transparent about that and also told us they’re fighting to protect our rights and all of those good things.
Pere DeRoy (52:08):
Yeah, it was, that was good to know. And you know, another thing I find on wrapping up on the support, right? Mm-hmm. Because of that legal, and this is why, you know, reproductive justice matters so much because I can see how the inter interpersonal interactions of practitioner, even in the classroom everywhere continues to push because this legal framework continues to push as well and expands and then their interpersonal interactions affecting the policies and then they’re expanding each other, you know, because mm-hmm. As a grad graduate student, we all know TTAs or graduate teaching assistants don’t make no salary money. Mm-hmm hmm. So in our video, in our series, we said, we said how we raised the money, we said like, you know, we did different jobs, we did consultancies, we work around the clock. Right? Like for two years just saving and saving and saving. But when it was time to me it was near due the department and University of Kansas was the most ready to ensure me as a, like a laborer rehearsal to speak. They’re like, okay, tell us you need leave. You have to get paternity leave. Parental leave. You know, they did not say maternity leave. Just try to make like, you know, they were understanding a different like language. Like you are about to have a child and you gotta be there as well. Yeah. They even work with me, plan with me ahead, talk about the course. They’re like, also, you know, babies will come when babies will come. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So let’s plan with a few weeks here and there in case you have to leave before or maybe after a particular deadline. So I got paid leave off for six weeks. I mean, people get months, but listen, I’m, this is what we work, this is
Timmia Hearn DeRoy (54:00):
America, we’ll take away.
Pere DeRoy (54:02):
Right. So it’s like those little wins. And for a minute I did not feel like this was not, even though it’s a small, a little small thing, the fact that like everything was seen through a queer lens mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know, everything was seen through an anti-racist lens for me and to me an anti, like an anti classist lens. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And I was looking to see how they were meeting me at these different points. They showed up. My department basically is turned to be, turned to be my support system. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, like this is what I call family now. Oh wait, we can’t sleep on this. Listen, Timmia’s dad, he lives in Kansas,
Timmia Hearn DeRoy (54:40):
Right? Yes. Let’s talk, right? Yeah.
Pere DeRoy (54:42):
Yeah. Timmia’s dad lived in Kansas and to me you might wanna say anything but Okay, go ahead.
Timmia Hearn DeRoy (54:47):
No, I was gonna just give the caveat that my dad currently is with our kid and they may walk in any minute cuz they gave us an hour just so you know, we might start.
Asha Dahya (54:56):
We’ll wrap up quickly. Everything you’re saying is so important.
Pere DeRoy (55:01):
I wanna shout out to this man, right? I also want to shout out the other professors that sent me text messages, literally every day they say, “Pere, you got this Pere, you can do this Pere, you can do this.” Like, you know, just giving me that support. This has nothing to do with the academy, but they’re showing up because they understand the disparities that exist. But to me it’s that this man, this man basically challenged everything that we, we talk about narratives, about who can do what. When we said we wanted to become parents, he’s like, yay. That’s right. Alright. And then he’s like, “okay, so how are you gonna do this?” He has no idea about IVF. And we told him, he’s like, “okay.” And then he’s like, “it’s gonna be very expensive. And sometimes we might come up short.” He’s like, “I got you covered.” He would do his own research and then have conversations with us. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know, he didn’t put the burden on us. This is one, like, I always say like, “oh my goodness, this is a white man, like a white, white, white man and the heterosexual man.” And here I am.
Timmia Hearn DeRoy (56:09):
Helped teach Pere how to give me shots. So one of the things we had to go through for ivf, both of us, is months of hormones. Yeah. Hormonal shots. So for Pere to stimulate egg growth and release the eggs. And then for me to stimulate wound development so they would be ready for the embryo and then keep the embryo alive. So my dad, te Pere’s afraid of needles. She’s afraid of being stuck by needles. She’s afraid of giving people shots. So my dad taught Pere how to give me shots. Then he was there throughout the pregnancy being very supportive and helpful to both of us. He was there the night that I went into labor. He drove us to the hospital. He was the first person to hold our kid. I have a large extended family, and there were lots of people who asked what we considered to be inappropriate questions. But as Pere said in the documentary, my dad asked a lot of questions, but not the ones that we think are annoying. <laugh>.
Pere DeRoy (57:03):
Yeah. He did not. You know, and this is why I told Timmia, this is why I am a little bit more patient when it comes to this, like having an intersectional lens and growing. Because I look at this guy and he had no, he just showed up because you understand, these are two people making the decision. He showed up for us
Timmia Hearn DeRoy (57:23):
And still shows up
Pere DeRoy (57:24):
And when I look at institutions around us, all you have to do is decide to show up for people. And then when you decide with our mentality, you will bring the resources to match that. Meaning, if you have queer people come in, trans people come get the training of your staff in order persons of color, black populations, bipo population will come here and be afraid of you. Cause of what has in historically been done. They know what you do. You show and you bring your resources to sensitize to match their energy because they’re in need of that care right now because they’re coming to your door. So when they look at the support that he give, he, you know, our doula showed us how to, to wash the baby, to swaddle the baby ready to touch a baby, like touch, right? But he held the baby and I was right there.
And he is like, are you ready? He was so patient. Cause I was actually really and truly alone in that room. It was to me. And I was relying on her network of family or the people that she brought me into. And I basically, you know, was there alone. And here he was. He just like showed up. And I, and I always think of allyship when I think of him. I just think about allyship and the ways in which we brought him along this journey. Yeah. And he showed up, showed up every time. And he is far from every, every time we tell him something, he’s like, what? Oh, what is that? Because he’s like, so far, but now he goes, he goes and he write the book, he’ll read it and then he’s, you know, yeah. So I just think that that’s something I would like to, when I think of this docuseries, we mean, to me think of it. We are not trying to call out what we people already know exists. We are actually using it as an advocacy tool. Like, this is what’s happening and use this. Like, this is, we say, people saying, this is us saying, Hey, this is a situation. We already know what it is. So can we now here are some ways in which hurt has occurred. We have tools to fix it. There’s so many tools to fix these.
Asha Dahya (59:39):
I don’t wanna take up too much more of your time, but I love how your doula you know, calling out the doctor in that moment, your dad showing up and being an ally and your university colleagues saying, what do you need? We’ve got you. I mean, that community Yeah. Is really where the change happens. And where you could speak to those systems and say, Hey, don’t ask that question. Or You should know this. So that’s really wonderful. Well, the last two questions I have, what do you want? Well, okay, one of them is a two-parter and one of them is, you know, the last question, but the two-parter is what do you want viewers to know about this series and what do you want, what kind of hope do you wanna give other queer couples who are watching it?
Timmia Hearn DeRoy (01:00:15):
So depending on you who the viewers are, I think that, you know, we really want to encourage medical practitioners and people who are involved in the health system to examine their assumptions and their biases and their training methods so that they can be inclusive and so that they can be not racist <laugh> and not sexist, and
Pere DeRoy (01:00:36):
Timmia Hearn DeRoy (01:00:36):
And not essentialist. And that’s the second thing that I really want to say is I think that for me, I think for both of us, I think I speak for both of us, a large part of this series is trying to get our viewers, all of our viewers queer and not queer, to think of family in a different way. Instead of thinking about as a biological determinist family, think about family as a choice and as a as a building block and as a thing that is based on consent. you know, get told your whole life. That’s your sister, that’s your cousin, that’s your aunt, that’s whoever. You should be nice to them. And I think we think that family are the people who stick up for you no matter what and who you choose to be in community with,
Pere DeRoy (01:01:26):
Who you learn with, who you grow with, who see who, who’s who, who wants to see you.
Timmia Hearn DeRoy (01:01:32):
Our kid is no more Pere’s kid because they’re biologically related to Pere and they’re kid. And I am no more naturally equipped to be a parent because I gave birth and I
Pere DeRoy (01:01:42):
Or because or because of your white passing position, or you know, that you might show more femininity more than me or, you know,
Timmia Hearn DeRoy (01:01:51):
There’s a lot of essentialism that goes into motherhood. In fact, Pere, and I don’t even use the name mama or mother in what we call ourselves as parents, partly to distance ourselves from this essentialized idea, you know, mother knows best. I think that people learn to parent. I, we weren’t good at it when we started. We are getting better at it because we’re learning and because we’re committed to raising
Pere DeRoy (01:02:19):
This beautiful human being. I really do want, while I’m focused on people living with disabilities or different abilities, it’s so many different population. Marginalized populations are marginalized because of the narratives imposed on us of can be and what we can be. But this particular series, there’s a way in which clear identities with different physical bodies, different mental positions, they don’t get a chance to say they want to aspire to parent. We’ve existed at such a long time to just survive, survive getting the job, survive our family not kicking us out as soon as they hear we are queer or trans or L G B T, you know, so we’re trying, we’re constantly even into our sixties and seventies in this mode of just survival and parts of our rights, our right to health, our right to like, continues to be ignored because we think that that’s too much for us to even aspire.
But that’s a part of our journey as a human. So I really would like this series to give comfort, right? While it’s informative, but also know that this shouldn’t be, and if you are having feelings to parent, you should have that right. Respected. And I hope you can find resources the same way. It’s not gonna be easy for the next 50 years. That’s how I see it. But I hope that this series can inspire, I hope, I hope this series can let people know that they shouldn’t deal with discrimination. They shouldn’t deal with like being ousted or put in the corner as if that’s their fault. Yeah, right.
Asha Dahya (01:04:00):
Just because of who they are.
Pere DeRoy (01:04:02):
Yeah,. Like, you should not be treated badly because because of how your color of your skin, the length of your arms or your physical body will you have, you are sexually attracted to how you want to dress or the genitals you have. This is not your fault. You didn’t do anything. It’s the narratives in which we hold, the beliefs we hold that continues to make people vulnerable and marginal, marginalized. So I hope this series can really force us as a society to think critically about the context in which people are giving birth and the conditions and ask the question, are we really giving this person the chance to parent in a verb using the verb like to appear. So I feel like that’s what we want with this series.
Asha Dahya (01:04:48):
Amazing. And how would you answer the question? You know, the title is Who Gets to Parent? How would you answer that question? Who gets to parent according to Pere and Timmia?
Pere DeRoy (01:04:58):
First, very short one is at this moment, if you are cisgender, if you heterosexual, if you are middle class or upper middle class, if you are living in an a global north location, if you are religious and religious from we very religious from the major religious groups, so Christian or I, Islam or Hindu, and depends on which part of world you are again. but Christian mostly if you are those things and if you are physically able bodied, a mentally able bodied with grit, you are fit to be a parent. Now I’m gonna turn that over and say, you are fit to be p a parent. If you are ready to pull the world comfortable, to give yourself permission to love yourself, to show up and to de desire to be a parent, you are fit to be a parent. You’re fit to be a parent. If you wanna show up and say, Hey, you, the facilities around everything around us, from the economic system to the educational system, to the political system, we all have a role of reproduction, of social reproduction, caring for new people. And I feel like people who wants to walk that journey, they’re fit to be a parent. You know? And that’s anyone.
Asha Dahya (01:06:20):
Yeah. That’s powerful. I think just flipping that narrative on its head like you just did is, is what we need to see more of. And I, I feel like viewers are gonna see that through your series. See, you know, your candid experience and your vulnerability and the love, you know, and the, the the love and dedication it takes to become a parent and be a parent is is really, really, it’s tough, but it’s so rewarding to see that there are people out there who are willing to help and be part of that community. So best of luck with the rest of the episodes as you release them and work on those. Thank you. And please keep us informed of all the work that you’re doing, all the advocacy. We are gonna support you with repro film and share all the all the work that you’re doing. So
Pere DeRoy (01:07:07):
Thank you. Thank you. We really appreciate this moment as well. We really appreciate this. I know in the month of June month, like we know what that really means and different people, it’s it, he’s just being present like, wow, we are here witnessing this freedom right now. Restricted freedom in some kids, still a vibe. You know, we appreciate this doing this interview with us. and we do have pleasure things and stuff and we we’re catering to bi queer and trans bipo populations. So we hope to continue to share and yeah, like we Thank you. Thank
Timmia Hearn DeRoy (01:07:40):
You for quick, quick shout out. Yeah. One of the things that Pere did when she had the experience of seeing me in labor for 23 hours and felt very helpless, I don’t remember much of it, but she does Pere one and learned to a doula in the study to become a doula and became part of the doulas for Douglas County Network.
Asha Dahya (01:07:59):
Timmia Hearn DeRoy (01:08:00):
In Lawrence. We have decided that we’re going to, we’re launching. Well we have launched sort, sort of a soft launch. Yeah. A business called Who Gets To Parent, where we’ll be using Pere’s research skills that my story skills,
Asha Dahya (01:08:15):
Who gets to, oh, that’s the name of the organization. Beautiful.
Timmia Hearn DeRoy (01:08:20):
WhoGetsToParent.com will launch, if you are interested in contacting us or talking more about to us about what can your organization actually do to make these changes or if you’re interested in a queer and trans centric Ppac doula. Hey. So we just wanna thank you. Thank you for the support and happy Pride month y’all.
Asha Dahya (01:08:47):
Whew! I felt like we really went on a journey in that interview, and I certainly learned so much. Please make sure you take the time to watch the episodes of ‘Who Gets To Parent’ featured in this month’s periodical, by heading to reprofilm.org. Share this episode with a friend and help us spread the repro film message and mission. The Repro Film podcast is executive produced by mama.film
Hosted and produced by me, Asha Dahya,
Edited by Kylie Brown,
With original music by ParisJane and Marrice Anthony.
The periodical is programmed by Neha Aziz and written by Emily Christensen
Alex Sgambati is our Social Media Manager and Rebecca Sosa is our Distribution & Impact Strategist.
You can find us on social media @reprofilm on Instagram and @reprofilmfest on Twitter.
Bye for now, and Happy Pride!