For many, Christmas is a family feast. Even in the gay family, we add. Perhaps we’re still far from the day we will simply use the term ‘family’, purely and simply to indicate the various types imaginable, and therefore we want to reiterate that this is a gay family and many of the same-sex families celebrate Christmas. And if in a gay family there is also a baby, then the celebration is bigger.
Marco, for example, is a gay father and lives in London, he has been married for six years to his husband and they have a child born through surrogacy in the USA. Marco is a full time dad - The Queenfather, how he calls himself in his interesting bilingual blog.
By way of Christmas greetings to all those readers of Queerblog who celebrate it as a family occasion, we met Marco and we have thrown some questions at him about being a father, how does the life of a gay couple with a child works and how he sees the italian ‘gay reality’ from London.
- How do you celebrate Christmas as a gay father?
Well, apart from the fact that we dress all in black leather, get drunk and dance around a Christmas tree adorned with whips and vibrators, the rest is pretty straightforward ...
Joking aside (I could not resist the sarcasm, forgive me ...), Christmas at our house is an Italian affair with the whole family gathered around the table. My parents come from Italy with a suitcase full of goodies unavailable here in London as two Russian spies, always praying that they wont get held at customs and arrested for illegal food-trafficking...
My husband's family that tries to keep up with the italian noise and our little one that waddles all excited about the house, chased in turn by his grandparents.
Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without him... Thanks to the arrival of our son (born via surrogacy in California), we’ve put aside the cynicism that characterizes any adult struggling with everyday life, bills to pay, and various problems. We’ve gone back to live the holidays with the enthusiasm of the past. Remember those days when we felt just a great excitement on Christmas morning? I think that to enjoy in full this kind of occasions, we all need a considerable dose of innocence. Religion has little to do with it, at least for me ... I do not think that being Christian is a necessary condition to enjoy Christmas. But the family is. In any form. Spending Christmas alone is one of the saddest things I can imagine.
- How has your married life changed with the arrival of your son?
Rather than changed, let’s say more honestly that it’s been upset, but enriched.
With the birth of a child, all those that were the priorities for a time, cease to exist. The little one becomes the center of the universe. Not to mention all the hours of sleep hopelessly lost, or the fact that, as a full time dad as I am, sometimes it seems impossible to take a shower every day. The arrival of a child is a call to grow up and become adults for real and to learn to always put yourself aside. Then of course, the dynamics of the couple are a little re-evaluated and often replaced by the dynamics of the family.
Finding time to be alone and enjoy some intimacy with your partner becomes more difficult, but you accept it, however committing not to set aside the couple and their needs.
- In your blog you have a wonderful post, I think, when you talk about the fact that the first "surrogate motherhood" was precisely the Virgin Mary who gave birth to Jesus for a "third parties": how do you react before the "shocked" looks (mostly of Italians, I guess) of who feels entitled to judge two men that have a child?
I get shocked and angry towards every opinion based on ignorance. Surrogate motherhood in Italy is still a subject of science fiction and little is known of the difficulties involved in a similar path.
Even less well understood and accepted are the reasons that push us as couples to want to start a family. I get angry at the opinion of people who hide behind alleged scientific findings or statistics to validate the fact that "two men cannot raise a child" or that "everyone has the right to a father and a mother”, or that "The child will never be happy and balanced as if it were raised in a heterosexual family. "
The basis of these assumptions is nothing but ignorance, meant in the purest sense of the word: to not know, or information manipulated by religion and politics.
Believing that the reasons for a gay couple to have children may be different from those of any other couple who cannot reproduce is not only deeply offensive but stupid.
Of course, what for a heterosexual couple is resolved, at best, with a 'shag' in the privacy of their bedroom and nine months of waiting, for a gay couple encompasses a much longer and arduous path, involving several people and usually clashing with public opinion, religion, and in some countries, with the law.
What shocks me more is the reality of many families "conforming to standards", but without love, unity, values, and their children alone and bitter, who do not know what it means to be loved.
About those families and about the "social evil" they represent, nobody speaks (...speculates?).
-Carlo Giovanardi, Associate to the Prime Minister with responsibility for family policy, said that "if gays will be able to adopt, then there will be an explosion of the sale of children." Imagine gays having a child! Do you feel like a "buyer"?
I honestly cannot understand how the two things (gays adopting children and buying and selling) can be connected ... Adoption as trading? You must be kidding ... For me, if for every child abandoned in an institution there was a loving family ready to welcome him and a legal system that would support this initiative, it would be absurd to compare it to a sale.
But perhaps the adoption, for Mr Giovanardi takes these traits only when gays come into play ....
In the end, perhaps he, like so many others, thinks that a gay couple adopting a child is like a gay couple buying a dog ... Am I wrong?
Maybe he just sees us as beings who are divided between the gym, discotheque and the boutique of Dolce and Gabbana. Am I wrong?
Perhaps he considers the adopted child of a gay couple as an accessory. Am I wrong?
Maybe he considers wishing a child by a gay couple as an act of pure selfishness. Am I wrong?
The truth is, unfortunately, that what many do not say, but think, is that homosexuality is bad and this remains the basis of all decisions and statements of those who are against adoption by gays. The love of a heterosexual couple is fine, the love of a gay couple, it’s not, because there is always that element of perversity inherent in the nature of homosexuality, as it is perceived by the wider public.
-How do you see the reality of gay Italians from London?
As I said above, even if things have evolved over the past ten years (I'm in London since '97 ...), Italy remains a backward country with regards to the rights of homosexuals. I'm not saying that it’s because of the proximity to the Vatican or the strong Catholic flavour of the country, at least not just for this.
But honestly, I cannot find other equally compelling reasons why a country like ours, which owes a lot of his own brilliance and prestige to the genius of many homosexuals, historical and not, should languish in the Middle Ages in some respects. Gays are more tolerated than understood in Italy . Now that we begin to claim some human rights, things get complicated.
It’s no longer enough being invited to the party, now we want a slice of cake as well....
It amazes me even more that most politicians do not strive to ensure that all citizens enjoy the same rights and are equally safeguarded and that the public who think like me do not act to change things. It saddens me to think that perhaps many homosexuals have resigned themselves and think that this is the best they can get from a government they pay taxes and vote for.
When I talk to my Italian friends and ask them if they ever intend to marry or raise a family, their answer invariably is never: "No, no, it’s not for us!", but: "In Italy it will never happen....". This saddens me.
If I think about people like Berlusconi, for one, who always manage to circumvent the rules of the game to come out winners, just because they believe themselves untouchable, and then about a lot of honest people who expect nothing but the freedom to build a life like others, but cannot ... Forget it, I’m getting pissed ...
-What would you wish to our readers?
My most sincere wishes for a Christmas filled with everything your heart desires. Enjoy your families, your parents, your friends and all people who love you for who you are, because it’s them that keep constant the wind beneath your wings!