They say that fashion has a tendency to cycle and repeat itself. Fashion virtuosos Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana seem to follow this fashion rule of thumb by trying to reintroduce the trend of heteronormativity back in vogue.
Famous for their bold fashion vision, this season Dolce and Gabbana take an even bolder approach: influenced by traditional family values the Italian duo now appear to assume the roles of conservative moralists, while seemingly drawing their inspiration from ‘before the Stonewall’ and other pre-sexual revolution eras, the duo fiercely presented their slightly tailored, but certainly more edgy, new collection of anti-gay attitudes (negative remarks towards gay marriage and adoption were made by D&G in 2006 and 2013) for Italian news magazine Panorama. Here are some highlights:
“The only family is the traditional one. No chemical offsprings and rented uterus: life has a natural flow, there are things that should not be changed.”
“synthetic children [children conceived via egg donors or artificial insemination]”
“The family is not a fad. In it there is a supernatural sense of belonging.”
Even though Dolce and Gabbana later pleaded that anti-gay parenting comments made were just an opinion, this way trying to clarify IVF remarks that had incited a global outrage, the remarks, nevertheless, made by such well-known public figures inevitably pose a threat to LGBT community and their rights.
First and foremost, Dolce’s and Gabbana’s anti-same sex parenting comments increase social stigma against LGBT families and parenting. It does so by propagating an idea that “the only family is the traditional one”, which in turn helps to reinforce conservative and old Christian beliefs that marital relations are only fitting between the people of opposite sexes and any other families that do not fit this model are incomplete, unnatural or not ‘real’ families. Needless to say, such view is very much in accord with those views of opponents of the same-sex families and, hence, is based on a widespread heterosexist assumption that a child needs both a mother and a father in order to form a ‘healthy’ identity. Although various studies conducted on child development suggest otherwise (APA; Pediatrics; CPA), it is not the goal of this piece to prove how wrong Dolce and Gabbana are, but rather to point out the potential damage their comments may cause for the LGBT community.
With this in mind, while anti-gay parenting statements made by Dolce and Gabbana compliment the prejudice against LGBT parenting, another destructive consequence of the designers’ negative statements is that it helps to supply anti-gay politicians and activists with the ‘new’ anti-gay opinions coming from the prominent LGBT figures. Such opinions coming from LGBT insiders, hence, strengthen anti-gay activists’ ammunition to attack LGBT citizens’ rights for parenthood. For instance, a remark that “the family is not a fad” implies that those homosexuals who want to form a family want to do so because it is fashionable and that such desire is not serious and, subsequently, must be short-lived. Such generalisation then indicates that according to Dolce and Gabbana’s view homosexual parents are lacking parental competence and therefore are inferior parents in comparison to heterosexual parents.
In addition, social media quarrel between Sir Elton John and Dolce and Gabbana points out a dichotomy between LGBT members regarding the issue of the same-sex parenting: more precisely, between those LGBT members who are in favour of the same-sex parenting and those who are not. In other words, remarks made by Dolce and Gabbana bring the disagreement existing within LGBT community regarding LGBT rights for parenthood to light. This disagreement, as a result, strengthens anti-gay politicians’ and activists’ argument that the same-sex couples are yet not fit to raise children, this way jeopardising parenting rights of those LGBT members who are capable and ready to raise children.
Last, but certainly not least, Dolce and Gabbana’s remarks are pure discrimination of LGBT community, their children and all children conceived by IVF in general. To begin with the discrimination of LGBT community, the statements, such as: “The only family is the traditional one”; “life has a natural flow” and that “there are things that should not be changed” suggest that a family is exclusively heterosexual privilege rather than a human right.
Therefore, by supporting traditional family values Dolce and Gabbana implicitly justify discrimination against homosexual peoples’ civil right to form a family. In turn, by justifying discrimination against LGBT people, the designers support the denial of humanity, the denial of equal dignity and worth, as well as the treatment of LGBT community as second class citizens.
Finally, calling children “synthetic” or “chemical” because they were conceived via egg donors or artificial insemination shows that Dolce and Gabbana differentiate children and, hence, do they consider children conceived biologically as much more superior then their artificially conceived counterparts? Ultimately, it goes without saying that calling children “synthetic” or “chemical” is dehumanisation of children conceived artificially, not to mention that such remarks are simply mean and degrading.
In the end, while responding to the uproar and trying to clarify their IVF remarks through the news and social media, Dolce and Gabbana explained that the comments made are just a personal opinion; for example, in an interview with CNN the duo said that they respect how people chose to live their lives, later adding that others should also respect differences in opinion.
Indeed, everyone has a right to express their views and opinions. Yet, when one’s opinion is so disrespectful, degrading and has a potential to harm the other’s civil rights, such opinion is certainly not worthy of respect. In fact, it is worth of strong counter-reaction and criticism. Perhaps even a boycott…
It is not a first time that Dolce and Gabbana make negative statements. For instance, in 2006, Gabbana told The Daily Mail that he is “opposed” to the idea of same-sex parents raising a child. Similarly, in 2013, when asked if they had ever intended to marry, Dolce told The Telegraph that he “doesn’t believe” in gay marriage.
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Freelance writer and LGTB Rights activist.