Letter to the Editor: Re. Dolce and Gabbana

Thank You Dolce & Gabbana:  You Have Inspired a Global Outcry In Support of the Non-Traditional Family and IVF Miracle Babies

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.

Show Comments ()
Gay Dad Family Stories

David and Ben Met on the Dance Floor — and Are Now Grooving Their Way Through Fatherhood

David and Ben, who became fathers with the help of Northwest Surrogacy Center, live in Melbourne with their daughter, Maia.

In 2003, while both studying at Reading University in the UK, Ben Suter and David Cocks met after locking eyes on the dance floor and then being introduced by a mutual friend. Ben, a meteorologist and Operations Manager, and David, an Assistant Principal, have been together ever since. They moved to Australia together in 2010, seeking a different life, and an overall better work-life balance. The chose Cairns in Queensland as their new home, between the Great Barrier Reef and the tropical rainforest, "taking life a bit easier," said David. The couple were also married in June 2016, back home in England.

While David always wanted kids, Ben took a little convincing. So they started their parenting journey with a dog, Titan, who quickly became like their first born. From there, Ben came around rather quickly.

Keep reading... Show less
Change the World

A Gay Fertility Doctor Opens Up About His Own Path to Parenthood

Parenthood is the "one and only job" held by the majority of the population, wrote gay fertility doctor Mark Leondires in a recent op-ed for The Advocate

Dr. Mark Leondires, founder of the fertility clinic RMA of Connecticut, has helped thousands of LGBTQ people become parents over the years. But in a recent op-ed for The Advocate, he discussed his own path to parenthood as a gay man, and some of the lessons he's learned along the way.

"Similar to most gay men I struggled with the coming out process," Dr. Leondires wrote. "I strongly desired to be a parent. And as a fertility doctor I knew this was possible. What was enlightening was after we had our first child is that in the eyes of my community, I went from being a gay man or gay professional to being a parent just like most of my straight friends."

Dr. Leondires goes on to say his reasons for opening up about his parenting journey is to offer some perspective LGBTQ people who are considering parenthood. "Once you have a family you will have this common bond with the vast majority of our population and something they can relate to — having children," he wrote. "You are no longer someone living this "special" lifestyle, you are a parent on a shared journey."

Being a parent is the "one and only job" held by the majority of the population, he continued. "It is also the only job you can't be fired from."

Understanding this commonality helped Dr. Leondires in his coming out process, he said. "I had to be proud of my family because I want them to be proud of our family," he wrote. "It wasn't about me anymore. The reality is that 5-7% of patients identify as LGBTQ+, and there may be a greater likelihood that your child might be LGBTQ+ because you are. Therefore, you need to be proud of who you are and who your family is, establish and maintain this foundation unconditionally."

Read Dr. Leondires entire essay here.

News

People Magazine Interviews Four Surrogates in Latest Issue

People Magazine helped humanize the experiences of surrogates by interviewing for women who carried babies for other people

There are common misperceptions about what motivates women to do the seemingly unthinkable: carry a child for another person. The only motivator, people assume, must be money. But as anyone who has been through the process will tell you — the reasons women decide to carry children for other people are varied. Financial compensation is of course a factor, but typically it is not the only one, and rarely is it even the most important.

Recently, People Magazine ran a feature on four women who served as surrogates, which helped reveal a plethora of other motivators. Sammie Diaz, for instance, carried a son for a gay couple in Seattle, because she was motivated to help people who can't have children on their own start their families — money was just a minot factor.

Keep reading... Show less
Change the World

"Dadvocates" Gather in D.C. to Demand Paid Family Leave for ALL Parents

"Dadvocate" and new gay dad Rudy Segovia joined others in D.C. recently to educate lawmakers on the need for paid family leave for ALL parents

On Tuesday October 22, Dove Men+Care and PL+US (Paid Leave for the United States) led the Dads' Day of Action on Capitol Hill. A group of over 40 dads and "dadvocates" from across the states lobbied key member of Congress on the issue of paid paternity leave for *ALL* dads. They shared stories of their struggles to take time off when welcoming new family members and the challenges dads face with no paid paternity leave.

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Photo Essays

Falling for Fall: 33 Photos of Gay Dads and Kids at the Pumpkin Patch

Oh my gourd, it's fall! To celebrate, we rounded up 33 pics (and whole lot of pun-kins) in our annual fall photo essay!

Don your checked shirt, grab them apples, and shine those smiles while perched on pumpkins — it's the annual fall family photo op! A trip to the pumpkin patch and / or apple orchard is a staple family fall outing, and we're here for it. 🎃🍎🍂👨👨👧👦

Thanks to these dads who shared their pics with us! Share your own to dads@gayswithkids.com and we'll add them to this post!

It's pumpkin season!

"So. Many. Pumpkins."

“We had so much fun at @thedallasarboretum today. Preston loves spending time with his cousins. ❤️❤️❤️ these three are the best.”

"Great morning with friends at the pumpkin 🎃patch"

"Can we just keep visiting pumpkin patches every day this week? 🍂🍁"

“Our attempt to get a good family photo at the twins’ first trip to a pumpkin patch was a complete failure. Lesson learned: take photos first thing, and don't wait until the end when they're tired and cranky 😃”

“Pumpkins... Cornstalks... Apples... Hayrides.... Loads of fun for a these 2 DADS & these 3 KIDDOS!!!! 🎃🍁🍎🍂👻”

Personal Essays by Gay Dads

Single Gay Dad and the City

When Kyle decided to take his four kids, ages 6-11, to New York City on vacation, his friends thought he was crazy.

"You're crazy, Kyle."

"You can't be serious? A single dad taking four kids to the Big Apple? Think again."

"That's bold. There's no way I'd do that."

Those were a few of the responses I heard from my friends as I told them I was thinking of booking a trip to New York City with four kids, ages 11-6. My children's fall vacation from school was approaching and I wanted to get out of the house and explore. Was the Big Apple too much of an adventure?

Keep reading... Show less
News

National's Pitcher Cites Wife's Two Moms as Reason for Declining White House Invite

"I think that's an important part of allyship," Doolittle said of his wife's two moms.

Sean Doolittle, pitcher for the Washington Nationals, declined an invitation to the White House after his team won the World Series this year. In an interview with the Washington Post, he listed his numerous reasons for staying home — and a main consideration, he revealed, was his wife's two moms.

"I want to show support for them. I think that's an important part of allyship, and I don't want to turn my back on them," Doolittle said during the interview.

Trump's treatment of a minority groups, generally, factored into his decision as well. "I have a brother-in-law who has autism, and [Trump] is a guy that mocked a disabled reporter. How would I explain that to him that I hung out with somebody who mocked the way that he talked or the way that he moves his hands? I can't get past that stuff."

Doolitttle clarified that his decision had little to do with policy disagreements with the White House. "There's a lot of things, policies that I disagree with, but at the end of the day, it has more to do with the divisive rhetoric and the enabling of conspiracy theories and widening the divide in this country. My wife and I stand for inclusion and acceptance, and we've done work with refugees, people that come from, you know, the 'shithole countries.'"

He concluded by saying he respected his teammates decision to attend the White house ceremony. "I want people to know that I put thought into this, and at the end of the day, I just can't go."

Read more of the Washington Post interview here.

Fatherhood, the gay way

Get the latest from Gays With Kids delivered to your inbox!

Follow Gays With Kids

Powered by RebelMouse