Dear Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana,
As a gay parent to a wonderfully delightful 14-month-old daughter, I wanted to personally address your recent comments.
I’d like to state that I agree with you both that everyone has a right to their opinion and the expression of it. Even when those opinions are dangerous and detrimental to others, like yours are, you do have the right to your views.
However, I also must point out that when someone does express their beliefs — especially individuals in the public eye with a broad reach like yourselves — they need to also therefore be prepared to allow and accept feedback and rebuttals. Open conversation and disagreement is the stuff of a democratic society.
Based on your recent behavior and defensive statements toward Elton John’s efforts to boycott your fashion brand, you both seem to have missed this key point.
You claim John is being ignorant in his efforts, but are you not also being ignorant because you yourselves are upset that he has a difference of opinion? Is his desire to stand up against your comments not worthy of the same respect you are demanding?
Now, I’m just your average parent, husband, brother, and son, just living my life. I’m no celebrity. And I have never made enough money to purchase anything from your brand. But I hope you will agree that my counterpoint and view of my reality is of no less value than yours.
That being said, I’m so tired of the term “traditional family.” Ugh. This “traditional family,” like the equally sinister term “traditional marriage,” is a decisive and hateful talking point aimed solely at making a same-sex couple an “other.”
How do you demean and keep a whole class of people down? You make them an “other.” You use words like “traditional” to point out they are less than equal to you.
I don’t see how my family is any less traditional than the one you claim is the only one with value: one with a mother and a father. My husband and I take care of my daughter, we feed her, we teach her, we bathe her and dress her, we go to the park, we hug and kiss her, we do everything that I’ve witnessed firsthand other families do. How is this not traditional?
I grew up in a single-parent home. My mother took care of my three siblings, except every other weekend when my father took us over to his house. Based on your views of a “traditional family,” my family growing up was not a family of worth because it lacked the daily presence of a father.
How can you diminish my childhood family and the family I’m creating now when they are both based on love?
When my husband and I started the IVF and surrogacy journey, my husband received a call from every single member of his family pleading with him not to go through with it. He had been raised a Mormon, so his family viewed our pursuit to have children as a negative. We were going against God’s plan. And by bringing a child into the world without a mother we would be ruining the life of an innocent.
Thankfully, my husband had the fortitude to not only disagree with his family but to continue our path to parenthood undeterred. And praise the heavens he did, because our daughter has brought so much light and love into our lives. She is a walking miracle. Each time his family tells us how lovely, sweet, and wonderful she is I smile and cheer inside.
When you refer to our daughter as a “synthetic” child and deem “chemical offspring and rented uteruses” unworthy, I can’t help but take issue.
You claim a child needs to be conceived via a “natural flow”; a natural flow involving two people who produce a child. Two human beings. But you’re missing a massive point with IVF and surrogacy. When a child is conceived via modern science there is a very human, very real element to each and every step along the way.
An IVF child is not created and delivered in a sterile laboratory via robots and machines. IVF requires the human touch to succeed. An IVF child is nurtured every single step of the way by a host of talented, loving, hopeful people.
A kind-hearted human has to be willing to donate her eggs to a couple in need. Another human being has to have the knowledge and the ability to mix those eggs with our sperm to create a viable fetus. A wonderful, giving, and powerful human woman welcomes this fetus into her body to nurture it. Human doctors care for and deliver the child. And finally, the child’s human fathers welcome and bring the baby home.
So please know, Mr. Dolce and Mr. Gabbana, that while I recognize your right to freedom of expression, I also must stand up and hopefully educate you. Words have power. Opinions have power. And at the end of the day, it is love that makes a family. Regardless of how that family is shaped or formed, it is love that makes a family a family.
Love, you see, will always win.
Brian, Preston, and Pence
Brian Andersen lives in San Francisco with his husband, daughter, and two cats. (via The Advocate)