What Dolce And Gabbana Got So, So Wrong About Same-Sex Parents
In a recent interview, Italian fashion designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana made a statement in Panorama Magazine:
We oppose gay adoptions. The only family is the traditional one. You are born, and you have a father and a mother. Or at least it should be like this... I am not convinced by children of chemistry, synthetic children, semen chosen from a catalogue.
It's no surprise their inflammatory remarks have caused uproar in several communities. Sir Elton John has been the most vocal in his opposition toward the designers -- his two sons were conceived through In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) with husband David Furnish.
In response to D&G, he posted a message on his Instagram account that reads,
How dare you refer to my beautiful children as 'synthetic.' And shame on you for wagging your judgmental little fingers at IVF - a miracle that has allowed legions of loving people, both straight and gay, to fulfill their dream of having a child. Your archaic thinking is out of step with the times, just like your fashions. I shall never wear Dolce and Gabbana again #BoycottDolceGabbana.
While Dolce and Gabbana are entitled to their own opinions, it doesn't undermine the fact they're reinforcing stigmas that are prevalent in the communities they're part of.
IVF is a sought-after fertility procedure many same-sex, as well as heterosexual, couples see as a saving grace in their efforts to have a family of their own.
Considering D&G are openly gay men, it's questionable whether they truly understood the implications of the message beneath their words.
Aside from the heinousness of their insults toward countless families and calling their children "synthetic," their statement creates more of an uphill battle for their LGBT brothers and sisters.
The desire of same-sex couples to have families is not new, by any means. Over the last couple decades, the gay rights movement has created enough awareness and acceptance to finally generate enough public support to legalize gay marriage in most US states and conceive children through IVF.
Dolce and Gabbana's remarks are not only a slap in the face to this cultural and political achievement, but also to the heterosexual couples who struggle with infertility.
IVF gives couples, who would have been unable to conceive prior to this technology, the opportunity to have children. In 2012, approximately 60,000 children were born in the United States via IVF procedures, 2,000 more than in 2011. That number accounts for over one percent of all babies who were born in the US that year.
And let's not forget, how you parent is more important than how you make that happen.
When it comes to a family, the way children are raised matters more than the means by which they're conceived. The competency of a parent will always trump the conception of a child, period.
For those who question the impact gay and lesbian parents have on children, we're seeing more and more research revealing that children of same-sex couples are just as well off as any other "non-synthetic" child.
A study from the University of Melbourne, Australia found children of same-sex parents are more well-adjusted physically, mentally and socially than their peers raised by heterosexual parents.
On average, kids of gays and lesbians scored six percent higher than the general population in general health and family cohesion.
In other categories, such as behavior, mental health and self-esteem, those children reportedly scored the same as those raised by heterosexual parents. Dr. Simon Crouch from the Centre for Health Equity at the University of Melbourne shared,
We know that same-sex attracted parents are more likely to share child care and work responsibilities more equitably than heterosexual parent families, based more on skills rather than gender roles. This appears to be contributing to a more harmonious household and having a positive impact on child health.
Interestingly enough, the study also found what really harmed the children was the stigma associated with being raised by same-sex parents.
And that stigma will only be lessened if we take accountability for the agenda we support and share with others (read: D&G).
Pushing the belief "test-tube babies aren't right" only encourages others to ostracize and bully a child as he or she grows up.
After a huge wave of backlash, Gabbana further explained his opinion by saying,
We talked about our way of seeing reality, but it was never our intention to judge other people's choices. We do believe in freedom and love.
Love is what this whole story is truly about, and it's the answer to this entire debate. Ultimately, it's not about having a mother and father that is important; it's about feeling loved. And love can come in the form of a single parent, two moms, two dads or a mom and dad.