Dogma&Gaybana: Italian D&G’s Traditional “Crusade” on Gay Families

Matt Bomer with partner Simon Hall and children Henry, Walker and Kit
Matt Bomer with partner Simon Hall and children Henry, Walker and Kit

The Media

Listed as 5th and 6th Richest LGBT People of 2015 at $1.7 billion each, Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce are under fire from the gay media for their comments about ‘non-traditional families,’ Gabbana, age 52, and Dolce, 56, spoke to the Italian news magazine Panorama (link translated via Google Translation) for their 12 March 2015 edition, headlining “Dolce and Gabbana: The only family is the traditional.”

The topic was introduced to me on the cover of The Advocate‘s webpage, which gave the basic information (which they got from The New Civil Rights Movement) to outrage the gay community. Vital information from this article would be the stated:

Dolce is a practising Catholic, and does not believe in marriage equality. Gabbana gave an interview in 2006, where he said he was opposed to same-sex couples raising children.

Further research into the topic led me to three other English news sites: Pink News, a gay news service; Fusion, a ‘millennial’-focused media company; and First Things, an interreligious, nonpartisan news website.

In Pink News, the information was the same as in The Advocate, both wanting to cause an uproar from their gay demographic. They were not disappointed, as most of the comments are made in anger, hatred and bitchiness for the designers of the famous D&G brand. Below are a couple of the comments (please note, comments are from complete trolls):

There is nothing to laud in expressing ignorance and self-hatred, especially in support of an organization (RCC) that calls for their destruction and promises them eternity in the fires hell. That’s not a(n) opinion to be respected. All opinions are not equal, and I hate when people laud monsters for being “honest” monsters. After all, Adolph Hitler made no secret of his feelings about Jews, but I don’t see you being glad that he didn’t “back down from his opinions”…This is both pathological and terminally stupid. Nothing to be praised here.

                 – Alan Arthur Katz, Self-Employed from Binghamton, NY

How profound their thoughts are – they are the Socrates of our time. Whenever there is a great moral problem or an advance step that society needs to take (eg gay adoption, euthanasia, pre-emptive military action) we should stop for a moment and say “What would Dolce & Gabbana do?”

                 – Stephen Harvie, self-proclaimed ‘Scottish Gay Atheist Rubber FF Skinhead’

Fusion‘s article, written by Jorge Rivas, also quoted The New Civil Rights Movement, but continued to state:

The American Psychological Association and countless other health professional and scientific organizations have concluded that there is no scientific evidence that parenting effectiveness is related to parental sexual orientation. That is to say that gay parents can provide the same supportive and healthy environments as a heterosexual couple.

Rivas continued the article with correlations to D&G’s comments to their Winter 2015 collection, where they celebrated mothers and their children. He ended with LGBT News Italia‘s plea to ‘assert our money by helping brands and businesses that repudiate discrimination,’ as well as support for hashtag #BoycottDolceGabbana.

For a break from hostility, First Things focused on the duo’s hardships in business, where they built up their international company from the ground up. Matthew Schmitz, the writer, continues to write:

I tend to loathe the sub-democratic habit of expressing political preferences through consumer choices, but it would be hard to object to the victory won for elegance if conservatives were to start wearing D&G in solidarity with these two brilliant, independent-minded Italians.

 

Neil Patric Harris and David Burtka with Family
Neil Patric Harris and David Burtka with Family

Having been personally subjected to second-hand information, I wanted to find the article itself from Panorama, rather than the chopped-up versions, where the writers merely pick from the buffet line for their own agendas. However, since Panorama is keen on keeping in the printing business, the article is nowhere to be found online. However, the editors of Italy’s Huffington Post blessed us with more direct quotes (linked, translated via Google Translation).

To quickly summarise, Dolce stated that a child should be the product of love between a woman and man, whom should remain as their proper mother and father. He did state that children (presumably, that are artificially inseminated) are “children of chemistry (and are) synthetic” and that those children are products of “wombs for rent (and) seeds selected from a catalog.” He continued to say that psychiatrists should prepare to deal with same-sex couple’s children’s parental issues.

The duo continued with talks about their mothers. Gabbana told of his love for his mother Piera and how she cleaned homes to support him. Dolce reminisced about his mother Rosaria and the assistance his parents gave in the start-up of the D&G company.

When asked if they wanted to be fathers, Gabbana immediately answered yes. However, Dolce responded with the following:

I’m gay. I can not have a child. I believe that we can not have everything in life… It is also good to deprive yourself of something. Life has its natural path, there are things that must not be changed. And one of these is the family.

Italy’s Huffington Post then writes that Panorama’s interviewer asked about the relationship between themselves. Though the actual year of the end of their romantic relationship is scattered between 2000 and 2006, the essential information that they are not currently a romantic couple is considered fact. They comment together, stating that they still love each other and still have a great connection and bond– socially, privately and in business. They end with the interviewer asking if they would marry if possible, in which Gabbana replied:

No, never. How can I swear to love and be faithful to one person forever? I never believed in marriage heterosexual or homosexual. It’s a promise you can not keep.

Update: Out Magazine wrote an article on Sunday, showing the reactions of other stars such as Courtney Love, Elton John and Ricky Martin.



 My Life

The iconic photo of Phan Thi Kim Phuc, taken by Nick Ut.
The iconic photo of Phan Thi Kim Phuc, taken by Nick Ut.

When my mother was in Saigon, she attended a private Catholic school. Born whilst the war was prevalent to everyday life, my grandparents tried to raise a family the best they could. My grandparents, whom both grew up orphans through the French occupation, were both tailors that worked out-of-house. Being the fourth of six children, my mother tried  to shine in the family but fell into middle-child oblivion. My oldest aunt worked as a secretary for an American military base and married an American military man. My two older uncles joined the military, never really ranking up.

My father was a troublemaker and a rebel. Continually getting in trouble down in the jungle village in South Vietnam, his parents sent their youngest child and only son to Saigon to shape up with his father’s cousins (and his second cousins). As much didn’t improve, he thought it better to fake his papers and join the South Vietnamese/American army at age 16. He excelled in the military, becoming the sniper in his Navy Seal squad.

As a member of the USA military, my father was able to leave Vietnam safely before the Fall of Saigon. My mother’s family was able to leave Vietnam because of my aunt’s husband. In both circumstances, English was basic at best and carried hardly any money for sustainable living.

Regions of the USA
Regions of the USA

When asked where my father wanted to go, he pointed at Chicago. He got rooted in midwest America and met my mom, who travelled to midwest America only because my aunt’s husband’s family lived there. Through encouragement from my grandparents and my mother, my father converted to Catholicism.

Now, my entire family still goes to Sunday mass every week. We celebrate Easter, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, All Saint’s Day, Assumption, Ascension, Christmas, Lent, Advent, and the other countless Catholic holy days. It became our family’s tradition and custom to do these things (with the assistance of my siblings and I attending Catholic schools that now my two nephews attend). We grew up with the morals and values of the Roman Catholic Church because our friends, our family and the worlds we associated with shared them with us.

Not to say we are buffet-styled Catholics, because we believe in the fundamentals of the Roman Catholic Church. However, when it comes to the nit-picky topics, my family may not follow to a T.  Here are a few examples:

  • My two nephews were born via artificial insemination to my sister and her husband, and were C-sectioned out for their births.
  • My brother’s first wife ran out on him back to Vietnam. The annulment was declined (pending an appeal), but in the mean time, he’s soon to be remarried in July.
  • My sister’s husband was found cheating on her with prostitutes he found through Craigslist, which dates back to before her 2-year marriage. An annulment is being registered.
  • My father and mother had been divorced in 1998 due to my mother’s emotional infidelity. They stayed together for us kids, living in the same house. They reconciled and remarried in 2010.
  • I’m gay.

Obviously, my father didn’t leave Vietnam for anything except the mere fact that he didn’t want to get captured and killed when Saigon fell. He was from South Vietnam and he didn’t particularly have any fondness of living under communism, but he never speaks too ill of it nowadays. On the other hand, my mother tells me that her family left Vietnam because they were deathly against communism, the biggest controversy being that my grandparents wanted to continue raising their family Catholic.


My Opinion

St. Peter's Basilica in The Vatican, Rome, Italy
St. Peter’s Basilica in The Vatican, Rome, Italy

There are things that Dolce and Gabbana have said that are hurtful, yes. Agreed. But I understand where they get their thoughts and their opinions from, being from a similar (not exact) environment myself. They were raised in a strong Catholic environment, where being Catholic is as vital to a human being as blood. Despite this, they were strong enough to get together as a romantic couple in their teenage years (50s minus 10+ years since the breakup minus 20+ years of the relationship) and they built up a large international company in the process. Nobody can take that extraordinary fact from them.

I see people’s skepticism when I tell them that I’m gay and I’m a Catholic. I believe the host turns into the Body of Christ, the wine into the Blood of Christ, and I believe in all the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. The only thing I don’t believe is that my gay ass is going to hell. If I live a good, blessed, positive karma’ed, as well as a Catholic/Christian, life, I’ll be available to go to heaven with God. I know some may say that’s really buffet-styling my Catholicism, but if that’s the only thing I’m faulty at, I think I’m pretty solid.


One of my good friends, Ent, is currently in the seminary to become a priest. He and I have casual luncheons whenever he’s in town and we catch each other up and chatter about certain topics, some about the Church, some about being gay. During one of our lunches, I asked him, “Wait… Could my child be baptised into the Catholic Church if I’m gay with Perseus?” He had to think about it, but he replied, “I would think so… I mean, not performing the Sacrament of Baptism is really bad form. As long as you have good godparents, I would think it’s okay.” I like to make him think outside the box, but upon further investigation whilst writing this post, I see that I’m not the only one with this particular question.

My parents are a bit weird when they must come up against my sexuality. In the case of my mother, she feels that me being gay is her fault — that she did something to make me a faulty child. She says she’s looking out for my spiritual well-being and that she doesn’t want me to go to hell. She’s tried to shame it out of me and to take me to counselling, both from a psychologist and a priest. My father plainly chooses to ignore it unless really face-to-face with it, in which he explodes, yelling things at me like, “You know you’re an embarrassment? People out on the street just laughing at you, mocking you!” Most of the time, though, he just hints how he wants me to have kids to dub his (and my) name on.

Which is my intention — to have children with my lovely life partner, Perseus. We’ve talked about names, schooling, eating habits, extracurriculars, and even universities. Perseus and I often talk about the future. We debate where we’re living, what pets we’ll have in the house, and what sort of jobs we’ll be happy with taking. When it comes to how the children are going to be conceived, Perseus and I somewhat agree with Gabbana in his article with the UK’s DailyMail 2006 article, stating:

I want my own child, a biological child, the fruit of my sperm, conceived through artificial insemination because it wouldn’t make sense for me to make love to a woman I don’t love. The person I love today is my partner…

We understand that adopting a child is great. Honestly, as a pro-life Catholic, I believe adoption is a great method of growing a family. However, for us, we want children of our own creation; therefore, a production of our own sperms. It’s not an unnatural feeling to want that bond between your offspring and yourself, the biological bond that can’t disappear.

Sperm Racing To The Egg
Sperm Racing To The Egg

However, what I wish could disappear would be certain trolls from the comment section of the gay tabloids. Dolce and Gabbana expressed their opinions, and they should be respected as anyone else’s opinion should be. Alan Arthur Katz should look up words before he starts spam-commenting on everyone else’s comments. Comparing D&G to Adolf Hitler is an escalation of reaction that shouldn’t be praised of its logic, nor should his outlook on the Roman Catholic Church be lauded. By reading his hatred towards the Church, he obviously doesn’t believe anything that It says so why be offended if it ‘calls for the destruction and promises eternity in the fires hell (for all gays)”? Stop the Trolling.

I know the age gap between Dolce and Gabbana isn’t that much (around 4 years), but to me, it sounds like they’re nearly from different generations. Dolce generally saying that he can’t have it all because families are sacred between a child, a mother and a father feels more like an old teaching to me and something my mother would say. Gabbana’s hasty yes to being a father and his somewhat playful manner in answering his inability to remain monogamous gives him a youthful, almost millennial tone.

So honestly, I would rather listen to Gabbana talk than to Dolce. I agree with a lot of what they said, but something’s lost in the translation and I don’t accept some of the terms, whether Italian or English, that Dolce used in describing artificially inseminated children. I mean, what did Gabbana think when Dolce was saying such things, when Gabbana had stated himself that he wanted the procedure done? Sometimes, you really got to learn to agree to disagree and move on with life. 

Elton+continues+French+holiday+cfhbiRRG3qYl

I disagreed with Chick-Fil-A and their unwillingness to hire gay workers, but honestly, if I did enjoy their food, I would walk right in there and buy it. It’s America. If I like something, or something’s on sale, or if it’s the cheapest price around, I’ll support whatever’s to my benefit. I will pay money for a cause, buy a t-shirt for LGBT and such, but when it comes down to other products– if you benefit me, you got my attention.

I’m glad D&G brought this issue into the press. We praise Matt Bomer and Neil Patrick Harris for their sustaining families, but when our media becomes too one-sided, you start to lose your credibility. When you start becoming myopic, which obviously is supported by the things we follow on twitter or the likes we have on Facebook, we slowly become unable to see things from another perspective and criticise those of other thoughts. Read both sides and keep your mind open. You don’t have to agree, but take it in with respect.

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