During the last four years Gabriela Herman worked with people whose parents belong to the LGBT community. Using the genres of autobiography and family album, this project is opposed of the silencing of the existence of LGBT-parenting practices. Numerous stories, collected by Herman in the forms of photos, texts and audio records, are part of a complicated discussion about politics of family relationships, optics of the social, and about those ideas which make some groups of people invisible to others.
«We are children of gays and lesbians, and we are not hypothetical» Twenty years ago Gabriela's mother came out as a lesbian. It became an incentive to begin this project. The collected interviews are an attempt to fight the silence and solitude that surround tens of thousands of persons raised in LGBT-families. The photos, that are combined with texts, confirm the existence of such families and testify to the reality of those spaces where LGBT culture is part of a kid's life.
«There might not be so much research, but the stories are numerous».
«The Kids» aims to make the invisible visible. Quantity, diversity and content of the stories, on which the project is based, allow to claim that invisibility is not an attribute of one or another identity, but is a result of discrimination and social displacement. The Herman's project doesn't aim to explore these processes and a «political economy of invisibility» hiding behind them. Mostly the project gives a voice and identifies the problem. The project states the importance of things that are often excluded from the debate about the nature of family life. It gives an opportunity for those who had grown up in LGBT families to speak and present themselves in public space. In June 2015 the project was published in New York Times and after that it appeared in multiple media, including Russian media sources.
The stories, gathered by Gabriela Herman, show family not as a fixed number of social roles and connections but mostly as a way of discussing and thinking about the essence of relationship. It raises a number of questions. How is a picture of a family constructed and how do these ideas interact with different social backgrounds? How is a process of understanding of the essence of family relationships by means of political, economic and institutional environment transformed into certain «domestic» reality? Can a modern visual culture become a platform for dialogue and help to overcome the aggression, xenophobia and exclusion?