In an interview published last week in the Italian magazine Panorama, gay fashion designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana got the world’s attention when they revealed that they were against the use of IVF and surrogacy, against the creation of non-traditional families that did not include both a mother and a father, and against gay adoption. Since IVF, surrogacy and adoption are the means by which most gay men build their families, and since families created by gay men and lesbians often do not include both a mother and a father, Dolce and Gabbana’s remarks made it perfectly clear that they are against members of the LGBT community becoming parents. However, their statements were not directed exclusively at that community. Dolce and Gabbana do not support the use of IVF by anyone, including straight couples within the infertility community. To make matters worse, the Italian fashion designers referred to babies created via assisted reproduction as “chemical offspring” and “synthetic children.”
The international backlash in reaction to these statements was loud, immediate and filled with rage. The Internet was the perfect outlet through which to express it. Elton John was the first celebrity to slam the designers’ statements and to react with disgust. He created the Twitter hashtag #BoycottDolceGabbana, and it immediately began trending.
When I heard about Dolce and Gabbana’s remarks I was incredulous, but at the same time I squealed in sheer delight. I knew immediately that by publicly expressing their archaic views, the fashion duo did the LGBT and infertility communities an enormous favor. Even the most brilliant public relations team could not have devised a more effective campaign to communicate to the world that old-fashioned views of what constitutes a family are no longer in favor in contemporary society. Nor could such a PR team devise a better campaign to remind the world that IVF is a miraculous tool capable of bringing life-completing happiness to the millions of people worldwide who, but for its existence, would never have been able to bring a baby into the world. I take great personal joy in this reminder as I am one of those people, a straight married woman who struggled to become pregnant and became the mother of spectacular twin miracle, IVF sons, just over 18 years ago.
What I find most intriguing about the recent public disgrace of Dolce and Gabbana is that only a year or two ago, their statements would have been less likely to elicit quite as exuberant a public outcry. The progress made in the last few years in society’s acceptance of families of all kinds has been swift and astounding. The further strides that will no doubt be made in years to come to destroy ugly prejudices and intolerance will continue to delight me and confirm my two strongly held beliefs; first, that family is about love and nothing but love; and second, that a human being is a human being regardless of the circumstances of his or her conception.
Rhonda Levy is the founder and CEO of Empowered IVF™, a consulting firm where she fulfills her passion for helping to build families of all kinds. Rhonda is also a Gays With Kids expert and she has appeared in several informational videos on Gays With Kids' YouTube channel.