Raising Hell

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Raising Hell is a 2010 documentary film by Ed Webb-Ingall that explores the experiences of children of gay and lesbian parents. Webb-Ingall specifically sought to "create a safe space where kids [could] be seen to be speaking freely and openly about their experiences [with gay and lesbian parents], without having to be poster kids for the perfect family or the perfect childhood".[1] The film also features interviews with sociologist and gay activist Jeffrey Weeks, psychologist Susan Golombok, and family lawyer Gill Butler.


Research began in 2009 with Webb-Ingall seeking to "profile the experiences of young adult and adult children of lesbian and gay parents in the United Kingdom, starting back in the late 1960s".[2] The half-hour documentary explores "themes of school, gender, sexuality, prejudice, and what the word family means [to] children of lesbian and gay parents in the United Kingdom, aged 12 to 35".[1]


Webb-Ingall made the film with the dual purpose of investigating the "personal and political history of kids with LGBT parents [and giving] himself a lesson in the film theory and techniques of queer filmmakers of the 70s, 80s and 90s".[1] This stylistic decision was not for nostalgic purposes, but to instead "embed the film in a wider queer history, [allowing] the film [to be a part of it]".[1]

Interviewed Subjects

The film was made with children in mind. Though parents and parenthood are strong themes, they are evoked by situating the kids in a social and political context; no parents actually appear in the film. Webb-Ingall was interested in demonstrating that "whatever [these children] felt about their families, [they] didn't want to change or hide them, but [were] proud of who and what [their parents] have made them".[1]

Jeffrey Weeks was the first academic subject Webb-Ingall approached. Weeks, currently the Executive Dean of Arts and Human Sciences at London South Bank University, has been on the editorial board of several journals, including the Journal of the History of Sexuality and the Journal of Homosexuality. He is among the school of academics that emerged from the Gay Liberation Front (GLF), which he joined in 1970.[3] He coined the phrase "families of choice", a concept Webb-Ingall explores in his film.

Webb-Ingall next approached Susan Golombok, head of the Centre for Family Research at the University of Cambridge. Her research "focuses on new family forms with an emphasis on parent-child relationships and children's social, emotional and gender development in lesbian mother families".[4]

Gill Butler, a solicitor since 1979 has "represented lesbians and gay men for almost 30 years. In the 1980s and 1990s, [she] represented many lesbian mothers fighting for custody of their children and gay fathers seeking contact".[5]


Raising Hell is still awaiting a release date, but has shown at the British Film Institute as part of Film London's Best of Boroughs Film Fund competition. The film is pending contribution to the Lesbian HERstory Archive in Brooklyn, New York. The film was shown at the Voices of Children Conference on September 8, 2010, in Dublin.[6]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 http://raisinghellfilm.wordpress.com/about-raising-hell Raising Hell
  2. http://www.mombian.com/2010/04/30/raising-hell-the-children-of-lesbian-and-gay-parents/ "Raising Hell: The Children of Lesbian and Gay Parents" Mombian 30 April 2010
  3. http://gayleft1970s.org/intro.asp Jeffrey Weeks "Gay Left: An Overview" May 2007 Gay Left Collective
  4. http://www.ppsis.cam.ac.uk/CFR/about/people/golombok.php "Susan Golombok" Centre For Family Research University of Cambridge
  5. http://www.queerpod.co.uk/gill_butler.html Gill Butle "Lesbian & Gay Collaborative Lawyers" QueerPod
  6. http://www.marriagequality.ie/ourfamilies/ "Voices of Children" Marriage Equality