ABC Family normalizes lesbian-headed families during prime-Time TV
Two lesbian mothers raise a family of biological, adopted, and foster children. This new show is groundbreaking territory and makes strides towards normalizing same-sex families.
ABC Family recently premiered “The Fosters,” a prime-time drama that features a multi-racial family headed by two lesbian mothers Stef (Terri Polo) and Lena (Sherri Saum). The mothers are a married (not legally as they point out in episode one) interracial couple. The eldest boy Brandon (David Lambert) is the product of Stef’s previous marriage to a man. The couple also adopted twins, Jesus (Jake T Austin) and Mariana (Cierra Ramirez). Then, during the first episode the family took in Callie (Maia Mitchell) and her younger brother, Jude (Hayden Byerly).
The Saga of Two Moms
While the show necessarily includes some commentary on the mothers’ sexual orientation; overall, their orientation is not the focal point of their identities. In this way, their relationship is normalized. For many viewers, the portrayal of strong lesbian mothers is refreshing, if not over due.
The emergence of the show has not been without controversy. As Rick Kissell of Variety reported in his article, “Jennifer Lopez-produced drama about a foster family was targeted by an anti-gay group,” One Million Moms argued that the show was “pushing an agenda that homosexuality is acceptable.” When the anti-gay group failed to stop the show from airing, they urged their members to write complaints to advertisers after the first episode.
The Modern Brady Brunch
However, Kissel theorizes their campaign may have actually sparked more interest in the show. He reports, “‘The Fosters,’ which received generally positive reviews from critics, was cable’s No. 2 scripted program in the 9 o’clock hour among females 12-34—increasing 20% from its premiere to 798,000 viewers in the demo, according to Nielsen.” It was also up in viewership from 1.42 million to 1.70 million. These numbers seem to indicate that audiences are embracing this modern Brady Bunch.
As more viewers continue to tune in, the show will increase awareness about the tremendous diversity among family units and further eradicate homophobia. We applaud ABC Family for being at the forefront of recognizing and celebrating this diversity.
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“The Fosters” airs on ABC Family on Mondays 9/8c.