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.

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Daughter of Married Gay Couple Who Used Surrogacy Abroad Isn't Citizen, Says U.S. State Department

A decades-old law can be used to discriminate against gay couples who use surrogacy abroad.

James Derek Mize and his husband Jonathan Gregg are both American citizens, but their daughter, born via a surrogate, may not be, at least according to the U.S. State Department.

The New York Times took an in-depth look at this case in a piece that ran in the paper yesterday. While James was born and raised in the U.S, his husband Jonathan was originally born in Britain. That may be enough, according to the State Department, to deny their daughter citizenship.

"We're both Americans; we're married," James told the New York Times. "We just found it really hard to believe that we could have a child that wouldn't be able to be in our country."

According to decades-old immigration law, a child born abroad must have a biological connection to a parent that is a U.S. citizen in order to be eligible to receive citizenship upon birth. Children born via surrogacy are determined to be "out of wedlock," according to the Times report," which then requires a more onerous process to qualify for citizenship, such as demonstrating that a biological parent is not only an American citizen, but has spent at least five years in the country.

The intent of the law, which dates back to the 1950s, was to prevent people from claiming, falsely, that they are the children of U.S. parents. But LGBTQ advocates argue this archaic policy is being used intentionally to discriminates against same-sex couples, who often have to rely on donors, IVF and surrogacy in order to have biologically children, and are thus held to a higher standard.

"This is where our life is. This is where our jobs are," James told the Times. "Our daughter can't be here, but she has no one else to care for her."

Read the whole story here.

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Filmmaker Hao Wu's latest documentary, released on Netflix this past week, explores his coming out story and his path to becoming a gay dad via surrogacy in the United States. Viewers watch as Wu comes out to his Chinese parents, who are not accepting of his sexual orientation.

As the film's synopsis notes, Wu, the only male descendant in his Chinese family, was "raised with a certain set of expectations - excel at school, get a good job, marry, and have kids." He achieves each of these goals, but as a gay man, he hasn't done so in the way his family had hoped. The film follows Wu brings his husband and children to China to meet his family, many of who are still unaware of his sexual orientation.

"I wanted to show the challenges for gay people of Chinese descent, what kind of cultural and generational barriers and differences they have to negotiate in order to build a family of their own," Wu said in an interview with InkStone.

Watch the moving documentary in full here.

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Couple That Met at the Gym Now Spotting Each Other Through Fatherhood

How two real New-Yorkers became two soft-hearted dads

This article is part of our family feature series with Circle Surrogacy, a surrogacy agency that has been helping LGBTQ+ singles and couples realize their dream of parenthood for the past 20 years.

Byron and Matthew Slosar, both 41, met ten years ago at one of New York City's Equinox gyms. "I asked him for a spot on the bench press," smiled Byron. The couple were married September 22, 2012.

Surrogacy was always the way Byron and Matthew wanted to become parents. They chose to wait and become dads later in life, until they had established careers and the financial means to pursue their chosen path.

They signed with Circle Surrogacy after interviewing a few agencies. "We immediately connected with their entire staff, particularly Anne Watson who lovingly dealt with my healthy neuroses on the daily for 1.5 years," said Byron. "They definitely personalized the service and helped us understand all 2,000 moving parts." The dads-to-be were also very impressed with how much emotional support they received from Circle.

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