@issue on ichannel

Toronto – September 30, 2008 – ichannel producer and host Kevin O’Keefe determined that the exponential increase in gay parental households or “The Gay-by Boom”, was a movement that warranted more examination and better understanding by the masses. He pitched the topic as a story idea to ichannel’s Head of Programming for the social issues show @issue. O’Keefe was delighted to receive support for not just one show, but a series.

“I attended a gay parenting class and met a number of gay couples who intended to have children. I thought ‘we have reached a time in our society when this is a subject that is suited for more media coverage’.” He adds that the show’s timing for broadcast on October 13th, 14th and 15th, was decided because of “National Coming Out Day” on October 11th.

The three part series, airing at 8:00pm each night, begins with O’Keefe’s own disclosure about being a gay man, who is considering fatherhood, “I figured it’s a series on gay parents, and it’s for National Coming Out Day. I can’t pretend I don’t have a vested interest in this topic, so I felt I had to say ‘I am gay’.”

In episode one, “Adoption”, we meet Mario and Stephen Howard a married couple who adopted a little girl. However, their new family has not come without a cost. The Howards say that they have lost about 90 percent of their gay friends, who are unsupportive of their decision to be parents.

In episode two, “Surrogacy”, we’re introduced to a family that took two women and two men to create. Drew Gyorke and Sam Wong fertilized eggs donated by one of the women; then, the eggs were implanted into a surrogate. Eight months later, she gave birth to twin girls. The cost of the surrogate / donor recruitment processes, medical procedures, and legal services is generally between fifty and one hundred thousand dollars, and according to one reproductive lawyer, surrogacy is a “legal minefield”.

The final installment is called “Co-Parenting”, and it looks at lesbians and gay men who have children together, although they are not married or romantically involved. The program features Heather Carlson, Mike Hall and their three-year-old son Shaw, whose lifestyle is similar to any other traditional nuclear family unit, except Heather has a girlfriend and Mike is a gay man.

The three-part “Gay-by Boom” series is one of ichannel’s new fall @issue shows; @issue airs weeknights at 8 and 11 Eastern and Pacific times. ichannel is available by subscription from cable and satellite providers across Canada; for more information on ichannel programming, visit www.ichannel.ca.

For further information, contact:
Rosemary Fusca, Head of Programming, (416) 756-5523, rfusca@stornoway.com
Kevin O’Keefe, Show Producer and Host, (416) 756-5505, kokeefe@ichannel.ca