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Gay Fatherhood In The Land of Dolce & Gabbana

Gay Fatherhood In The Land of Dolce & Gabbana

By Ryan Porter, GayswithKids.com
Fashion designer Domenico Dolce proved his good taste stops at the edge of the runway when he told Italian magazine Panorama that “children of chemistry” (more commonly known as children born through surrogacy) are “synthetic children.” His comments sparked an international uproar; Elton John, whose own sons were born to a surrogate, led a boycott against the Dolce & Gabbana brand. Yet in Dolce’s native Italy, his opinion that “the only family is the traditional one” is no extremist position. Rather, it’s one that’s entrenched in law, with both surrogacy and gay adoption illegal in Italy.
“Surrogacy is such a taboo topic in Europe,” Claudio Rossi Marcelli, the author of “Hello Daddy!”, about how he and his partner Manlio Sanna welcomed twin girls through an American surrogate, told GayswithKids.com. “It’s always very theoretical: about principles, about ethics, moral issues. But when you put faces onto people, it all becomes more human. People change their minds so quickly.”
Dads Claudio Marcelli and Manlio Sanna with their children Maddalena, Bartolomeo and Clelia
 Dads Claudio Marcelli and Manlio Sanna with their children Maddalena, Bartolomeo and Clelia. Photo by GayswithKids.com
Luigi Codecasa agrees. When he welcomed his twins Pietro and Silvia, 7, the Milan-based doctor was delighted at the way his community rallied behind his new family. Codecasa recalls showing his local baker the sonogram of his two children, who were conceived with a lesbian friend. The baker was shocked that a gay man would have children, Codecasa says, but today, Pietro and Silvia are her little VIPs.
“She is always inviting them to the back of the shop and giving them pizzas or croissants for free,” he says proudly. “It’s the same in the street market. Both the butcher and the grocer go crazy for the kids.” The butcher’s wife even confided in Codecasa that she had conceived through artificial insemination. “I can tell you because I know you will understand me,” she said.
Codecasa is the founder of Papà Arcobaleno (Rainbow Dads), a Milan-based group of more than 150 gay fathers and prospective fathers who are located across Italy and beyond. Through their Facebook page, they share support and parenting tips with their members and other curious gay dads internationally. Codecasa contactedGaysWithKids.com via Facebook a few months ago.
Through Papà Arcobaleno, Codecasa met Andrea Lorenzato, a 36-year-old sales rep and new father to an 8-month-old baby girl. Lorenzato agrees that Italian law is out of step with the spirit of the people. “The community is behaving differently than what the law says,” he notes. Along with his partner, Francesco Ineppo, he is a new father to an 8-month-old baby girl, Teresa, whom they welcomed through a surrogate. This April, Teresa will be baptized in a Catholic church. “The law of the church could say that they don’t approve of gay people,” Lorenzato says. “But at the end of the day no one is going to tell you, ‘I am not going to respect this little baby.’”
Despite the momentum in the streets, the Italian government, currently lead by centre-left prime minister Matteo Renzi, hasn’t budged when it comes to updating laws for gay families. “Italians have zero civic sense,” Marcelli says. “That’s why the country is such a mess. Everyone is about their own interests. Even if they are personally okay with being gay and being a gay parent they don’t go out and make it a political statement. So the political parties don’t feel that urge to put it in the political agenda.”
Under pressure from the European Union, civil unions for gay couples are expected to be legalized in some fashion by May of this year while mayors of Italian cities such as Rome, Milan and Florence have already gone rogue by recognizing the marriages of gay Italians who wed abroad. However, for gay men, the type of international surrogacy Dolce criticized is one of the few ways they can realize their dream of fatherhood.
Dads Luigi Codecasa and Marco Mazza with children Pietro and Silvia
Dads Luigi Codecasa and Marco Mazza with children Pietro and Silvia.  Photo by GayswithKids.com
Even then it’s a minefield of legal loopholes and prohibitive expenses. Lorenzato and Ineppo immediately struck countries such as India, Thailand and China from their lists when searching for a surrogate because of concerns surrounding how the women might be treated. “We didn’t want this journey to create sadness for someone else,” Lorenzato says. They were looking closely at the Philippines, but backed off at the advice of a lawyer. “There was the possibility that one day the mother of this baby could wake up and say, ‘I want this baby back, give me money,’” he says. “And this was not a solution that we could consider.”
Like many gay Italians looking to become parents, they ultimately found their surrogate in California. Teresa was conceived on their first try and had a perfectly healthy gestation. Then, three months before her due date, the daddies-to-be received a text from their surrogate’s husband. “We are in the hospital. The baby will be born in three hours by C-section. Come here.”
They were on the first plane out of Venice the next morning, and when they arrived at the hospital in Redwoods, Calif., they found a child fighting for her life. “You see this very little baby with all these tubes, all these computers and machines around her,” Lorenzato remembers. The couple tried to prepare themselves for the worst, telling each other, “We’ve survived so far without this baby.” “But it’s impossible,” Lorenzato says, “because your heart is inside that crib.”
Teresa was in the hospital for two months before she was well enough to travel back to Lorenzato and Ineppo’s home in Vicenza, 45 minutes west of Venice. Today, she is a model child. “She’s sleeping all night from 8 o’clock in the evening to 6 o’clock in the morning,” Lorenzato says. “So far she’s so good. We are expecting her to wake up one day and say, I am going to make your life a nightmare.”
Surrogacy is not an option for everyone, however. “Unfortunately there’s an economic aspect to the situation that doesn’t allow all gay couples to become dads,” he says. Expenses for an international couple using a California surrogate can range from $70,000 to more than $91,000 (not including insurance). Fees cover everything from psychological screening to agency fees to a housekeeping allowance for the surrogate.
Co-parenting is another option. Codecasa was lucky enough to meet Alessendra di Minno, a gay woman who was also dreaming of having a child. They spent three months getting to know each other, discussing their views on everything from religion to education before they agreed to try to conceive a child they could co-parent.
For five years they tried what Codecasa calls their “homemade attempts,” with a turkey baster. They also saw a doctor for artificial insemination. They finally conceived on Christmas Day and on August 15 welcomed not one but two babies: Pietro and Silvia. Today di Minno and Codecasa take turns co-parenting: the children’s permanent residence is with their biological mother, but they spend Wednesday nights and one afternoon a week with Codecasa in between soccer practices and gymnastics classes, as well as every other weekend.
Dads Francesco Ineppo and Andrea Lorenzato with their daughter Teresa
Dads Francesco Ineppo and Andrea Lorenzato with their daughter Teresa.  Photo by GayswithKids.com
Despite what Dolce voiced about “traditional families,” Marcelli believes it’s precisely because family values are so entrenched in the culture that Italians are more willing to embrace gay parents in their communities. “Paradoxically, it’s even easier to be gay parents than a gay couple,” says Marcelli. “When you have kids you can show your neighbours that their lifestyle is so similar to yours. When you have kids, the schools, the doctors, they welcome you into the family club.”
Despite this secret pass, the lack of legal protection has meant Marcelli and his partner Manlio Sanna have had to improvise. Only one father can be listed on the child’s birth certificate, and with their 7-year-old twins Clelia and Maddalena, they decided that Marcelli would be the biological father: his flexible schedule as a professional writer would allow him more time at home during the children’s infancy. But when it came time to conceive their third child, a son named Bartolomeo, now 3, Marcelli was uncomfortable.
“I always felt that the lack of a legislation over the legal status of our family gave me a lot of power over the legal status of our kids,” he says. “I always told Manlio, ‘One day I could just freak out and decide I don’t want to see you anymore. I have the power to keep these girls from you.’ I always felt this was really disproportionate. When it was the second time around I said, ‘Let’s make you the legal father of this third kid so we’re all tangled and creating a guarantee.’ It’s kind of a weird thought because you don’t want to think about the worst.”
However, the issue highlights why it is so important for parental rights not only to be informally recognized by knowing neighbors, but also to be enshrined in law. “They say that the real fight for gay marriage is the fight for gay divorce,” Marcelli says. “When all of a sudden things go wrong you need the law to protect you from becoming the worst part of you.”
If only Domenico Dolce had a law like that to protect his foot from getting stuck in his mouth.

 

Posted in Fashion, News, Opinion, Urban Culture0 Comments

Atlanta Locals Say No To Discrimination

Atlanta Locals Say No To Discrimination

By Dino Thompson-Sarmiento

Local Atlanta activist and businessman, Bru Krebs, denounces Dolce & Gabbana bigotry by taking a stand against their products. Gay D&G founders claim they do not support non-traditional families and insulted  millions including heterosexual families worldwide who have sought non traditional methods of conceiving. The outrage has led to a boycott spearheaded by notables such as  Sir Elton John, Ricky Martin, and Victoria Beckham against the fashion icons. All three mentioned celebrities have their families thanks to modern science and technology.

Bru Krebs, a member of the Atlanta GLAAD Leadership council and fervent supporter of equality and LGBT issues in Georgia has had enough of folks speaking from both sides of their mouths. I joined him today at the Rally for Equality at the Georgia State Capital and his usual gregarious demeanor was absent. He claimed that we as individuals need to stand up and say NO to those who try and suppress anyone based on race, creed or sexual orientation. “The time to act  is now”, he voices adamantly. He has extended a challenge to folks to post on his Facebook page  https://www.facebook.com/bru.krebs  videos such as his featured in this article and his company, PRIME Real-estate will give away a luxury  weekend getaway  to one lucky advocate standing up against discrimination.  Click here to watch video  http://youtu.be/LQBTzqA55yA

Posted in Fashion, News, Opinion, Urban Culture, Video0 Comments

More Than Half-Way: SCOTUS Move Widens Same-Sex Marriage To 30 States

More Than Half-Way: SCOTUS Move Widens Same-Sex Marriage To 30 States

By Mikkel Hyldebrandt

We were hoping that the Supreme Court Justices would take up the question on whether or not states should be allowed to ban gay marriage. Instead, the justices refused to review lower court decisions that struck down state bans on same-sex marriage on October 6. But without saying a word they still made a pretty loud and clear statement on the issue by choosing NOT address the issue just yet.

Because the effect of saying nothing on the matter means the rulings of the lower courts stand, which, in the case of 11 more states – Utah, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Indiana, and Wisconsin – will allows same-sex marriage. The here-and-now effect? As of Monday same-sex couples could get a marriage license and get married in those states – legally. And the total number of states where same-sex marriage is legal is now up to 30 – more than half of all American states.

So what happens if some of the lower courts move to uphold the ban on same-sex marriage? That’s when the Supreme Court is likely to step in and officially address the issue – or at least make it clear that couples that have been married and have marriage licenses will stay married. Under all circumstances this decision (or indecision) will put additional pressure on the remaining states that do not yet allow gay marriage. Even though this is not a national constitutional right just yet, this move has paved the way for freedom to marry in what accounts for 60% of the American population. And that’s a pretty big step on the way.

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Court In Session: The End of Gay Marriage Bans?

Court In Session: The End of Gay Marriage Bans?

By Mikkel Hyldebrandt

Today the nine Supreme Court Justices met privately to discuss whether or not they should take up cases that challenge state same-sex marriage bans.

Right now a total of seven cases challenging state bans on same-sex marriage are pending in the states of Indiana, Wisconsin, Virginia, Utah and Oklahoma.

And this time around the potential outcome could be the greatest yet, because should the nine Supreme Court Justices decide to take up the question of whether states are allowed to ban gay and lesbians to get married, their ruling could be applied to all the states, which ban same-sex marriage. Georgia, along with 30 other U.S. states, is among the states that still ban same-sex marriage.

So, potentially the decision to take up this question and the ensuing ruling (should it deem marriage bans not allowed) in the current seven cases, could mean that bans on same-sex marriage wouldn’t be allowed in any state on a federal level. And that’s a pretty big deal! For Georgia it could be a kind of ‘win by default’ because technically (and legally) the state ban on same-sex marriage would be dissolved.

But don’t start hearing those distant wedding bells just yet, because the meeting was held under private circumstances and the Supreme Court doesn’t reconvene officially until next week. When back in session the justices must vote on whether or not to take up the cases and if four or more justices vote for a case, it will be heard. The fact that the justices met before actually commencing their new term goes to show that they want to be up to speed on the issue and want to be able to make the right move when the decision is made.

There’s no denying that this issue is of great importance to the Supreme Court being one of the first to be taken into consideration in the new term – so even though we’re not quite there yet, here’s hoping that this will be a step in the right direction to end bans on same-sex marriage all together.

 

Source: Queerty, Pink News

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Target Gives Middle Finger to Anti-Gay Boycott

Target Gives Middle Finger to Anti-Gay Boycott

By Mikkel Hyldebrandt

 What does a national and major retail store do after being boycotted by anti-gay organization because of signing a legal brief supporting marriage equality? Does it succumb to the pressure of a boycott and withdraw its inclusive stance? Or does it show the proverbial middle finger to those organizations that do not support basic equality by rubbing their argument in their faces? The last is exactly the case with Target, the red dot retailer, that had anti-gay organizations like The National Organization for Marriage, the Liberty Counsel and American Decency Association saying that the company’s public support of same-sex marriage was “slap in the face to millions of pro-family customers.” The so-called pro-family organizations urged a massive boycott of Target. Now, less than a month later of signing the equality legal brief that backed dissolving the ban on same-sex marriage in Indiana and Wisconsin, Target sends a very clear message to the gay haters by launching a national ad campaign promoting their ‘Made To Matter’ hand-picked products that showcases a gay couple and their kid.

The ad campaign is backed by a quote from Target Executive Vice President of Human Resources Jodee Kozlak, who wrote on the company’s blog: “It is our belief that everyone should be treated equally under the law, and that includes rights we believe individuals should have related to marriage.”

Now we get to see if an actual anti-gay boycott will manifest itself on Target’s financial bottom line, because this counter measure ought to have those anti-gay bigots stay far, far away from Target (wouldn’t that be nice?). One thing is certain, though: Target’s got my buck!

Source: lgbtqnation.com, Right Wing Watch

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A Surprising Twist Takes Gender Debate To A New Level

A Surprising Twist Takes Gender Debate To A New Level

By Mikkel Hyldebrandt

Recently Always aired an advertisement that sparked national debate about female empowerment and self-esteem. The advertisement seeks to rewrite the rules on how genders are perceived using the phrase ‘like a girl’ for example – or hitting ‘like a girl’. Instead of automatically assigning negative connotations to the term, the advertisement wants to change that, to teach young girls that doing something like a girl should not be perceived as something weak or negative.

Blogger Ilana, creator of the popular blog MommyShorts.com, loved message fully and asked her followers to submit photos of their daughters doing “all the amazing things daughters do” using the hashtag #likeagirl. And that’s when something even more amazing happened.

Not only did the blog overflow with photos of girls, but other parents posted pictures of their sons displaying their feminine side under the hashtag #likeaboy.

Because the other side of using the ‘like a girl’ terminology negatively is also telling boys what we think is right for little boys to do and how to act – and especially doing something that’s considered feminine is often not condoned nor encouraged when it comes to acting like a boy. So when we’re telling the little girls in our lives that they can do anything little boys do, and that they should be strong and confident, we shouldn’t forget to do the same for boys and encourage them to embrace their sensitive and nurturing sides as well.

The above photo was submitted by Heather, a North Carolina mom. In it her two-year-old twin boys are playing princess with their older sister and are said to love dinosaurs just as much as tea parties. There are many more wonderful examples of boys doing typically “feminine” activities, like playing house, wearing princess dresses, and painting their nails, all posted with the hashtag #likeaboy on Mommyshorts.

Even though these kids are still in age of innocence it is important to consider what we teach them, because soon enough those terms of doing something ‘like a girl’ or ‘like a boy’ can mean something entirely different. Hopefully these photos will help future generations redefine how genders are viewed so the hashtag would be #likeakid.

The photo is being shown with the permission of the family.

Sources: Mommyshorts.com, abc.com, Buzzfeed

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Sexy New ‘Survivor’ Cast Includes Gay Couple And Legendary Homophobe

Sexy New ‘Survivor’ Cast Includes Gay Couple And Legendary Homophobe

By D. David Kinney

CBS unveiled the 18 new cast members for “Survivor: San Juan del Sur – Blood vs. Water” on Wednesday. In addition to former Atlanta Braves baseball player (and  homophobe) John Rocker and “Amazing Race” twins Nadiya and Natalie Anderson, this season’s cast will also feature gay couple Reed Kelly and Josh Canfield.

Josh Canfield is 32 and is an actor, singer and writer. During a pre-interview with CBS he was asked what 3 items he would want to have with him on the island. He responded: “1) Bible – the Scripture would help in dealing with difficult circumstances 2) Piano – so that I could write songs and sing. 3) iPod – life without music is just depressing.” Interesting. 

Reed Kelly is from the Great White Way as well and the 31-year-old is a performer, model and aerialist. Just like his boyfriend, Reed was asked about what 3 items he would want to have on the island. He told them: “1) My Bible – because man cannot live by bread (or rice) alone. 2) My pillow – because it would be a super comfy piece of home and I perform better well rested. 3) A mirror – because sometimes as a dancer you have to be able to look at yourself in the eye and say “pull up and push through! You’re not actually that hungry.” I think this would work well for me as a Survivor castaway too.”

So they’re gay entertainers with a religious side. Where have we seen that recently on CBS? Oh, right…

Frank Grande

We’ve seen gay contestants on “Survivor” before. There was even a gay couple during the original “Blood vs. Water” season last year, but that didn’t work out so well. Colton Cumbie and Caleb Bankston were fiancés from Alabama with something to prove. It was Colton’s second appearance on the show and he wanted to improve his image after quitting in a flood of tears the first time. Well… he quit in a flood of years (again) on day 7. His fiancé proved to be decidedly tougher and went on to become the 9th jury member being voted out by his tribe on day 30.

Survivor CBS Couple

Will this be the year that the gay couple does well? We’ll have to wait and see. Let’s hope.

 

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Hey Girl Hey!

Hey Girl Hey!

Holler Poodles!

Return to 3 Flags Over Here (Pt 3).

Surprisingly, Selma hadn’t had enough fun yet so we headed over to the Spindle Top ( the ride that spins you around while the floor drops down. I could only think that a tragedy was about to occur but Selma said it would be fine. As we got into the cylindrical space and lined up against the wall, we both pulled our tube tops tight and mini skirts tighter. Selma was on my right and an older gentleman and his wife were on my left followed by what looked like a gaggle of their grandchildren. Selma and I looked at each other hoping everything would turn out ok.

With a sudden jolt, the ride started slowly spinning to the left and increased speed. It was then I realized this was not going to end well. Now just in case you aren’t familiar with concept of centrifugal force, its basically when things speed up to the point everything is pinned again the outer wall of whatever is spinning. (I should write a drag queen technical manual). So while my legs and hands are pinned against the wall and can’t be moved, all of a sudden, in tandem, my boobs, Selmas teeth and the old man’s teeth next to me start to wiggle out of their confines and into broad daylight. As if someone had choreographed a dance, the teeth, my boobs and the other teeth start to do the conga in a line whilst we were all spinning helplessly and horrified at the display.

Then, with another jolt, the floor falls from under us and the barrell tilts on its side. Selma and I both looked at each other in horror as we realized the centrifugal force was pulling our mini skirts down exposing our hairy mounds to the crowd. I was mostly horrified. This continued on for what felt like hours but must have been just a minute. The ride soon ended and so began Selma’s search for her teeth. Whilst I was attempting to cover up, I realized the old man next to me was gumming my nipple to which his wife said “Henry! How could you?” to which he replied “They were hanging so low, I thought they were yours!” Selma quickly grabbed my hand and rushed me off to tell me she had found a newer, nicer pair of dentures. I was so happy for her.

While our time at 3 Flags Over Here had come to an end, we could only look back fondly at our time. Be sure to check out Three Flags Over Here in downtown Jonesboro and tell them Mary Edith and Selma sent you!

Love and lashes,

Mary Edith Pitts

If you have any questions, comments or feedback, please contact me at 

Posted in Columns, Hey Girl Hey, Opinion0 Comments

With One Less ‘Problem’ It’s Time For Ariana Grande To ‘Break Free’

With One Less ‘Problem’ It’s Time For Ariana Grande To ‘Break Free’

By D. David Kinney 

Coming on the heels of her summertime hit “Problem,” Ariana Grande released the music video for “Break Free” today on VEVO. The song was produced by Zedd (who you can see at TomorrowWorld this year) and Max Martin.

Check it out and see what you think. We’re already diggin’ it:

Want to enjoy some of the other songs making Ariana Grande the talk of the town?

Posted in News, Opinion, Video0 Comments

Hey Girl Hey!

Hey Girl Hey!

Holler Poodles!

Return to 3 Flags Over Here (Pt 2).

After my dear friend Selma B. Hole was thrown out released from the hospital, it took her a couple of hours days and a case box of wine to recuperate from her injuries. We returned 3 weeks later on a Sunday to continue our review of “3 Flags Over Here” in beautiful downtown Jonesboro.

Naturally, we headed to the buffet first thing because we like to eat. They had some kinda restaurant combo like Waffle House+Huddle House+Out House combined. I’ve never seen food go through people so fast in my life. Because I couldn’t find an empty stall I’m a lady, I held it in. Big Mistake!

Selma wanted to hear the children’s choir singing so she pushed her way through the tens of people crowd to see all the kids dressed in little white robes. It just so happens it was also the entrance to their version of the Sky Coaster called the Rim Shot. Selma begged for us to go on it. It’s that ride that’s like a bungee jump off a 10 story building and hang-gliding all in one.

Needless to say, we were ill prepared looking cute in our white mini skirts and matching tube tops. They hauled us up to the top with a crane while the voices of those little angels on the ground filled the air. The attendant yelled “Pull the tab when you’re ready!” I told Selma I thought I was gonna hurl cause the food wasn’t sitting right and she said she thought she was too. We asked to get down but they said the only way down was to pull the cord. So Selma pulls the cord and I immediately start spewing out my mouth and unbeknownst to me, Selma starts spewing out her rear. All I could see as we made the initial pass over the little angels below was eggs, grits, ham, pancakes, hashbrowns and sausage raining all over the kids below. But as we went backwards, Selma’s duty chute of destruction had managed to dive bomb a few of the kids and knock some of them out cold while the other children ran screaming off.

Later, as we were washing up in the kiddie pool restroom, I could only laugh at the conversation between two ladies outside talking about the new “aerial water feature” she saw from a distance. Said it looked like The Bellagio’s dancing fountains. Selma almost swallowed her teeth.

Next week is the final installment of my review! Until then…

Love and lashes,

Mary Edith Pitts

If you have any questions, comments or feedback, please contact me at maryedith99@gmail.com or on twitter @maryedithpitts.

Posted in Hey Girl Hey, Opinion0 Comments

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