Dolce and Gabbana are not Ben and Jerry. Ben and Jerry are straight. Dolce and Gabbana are gay. Ben and Jerry make ice cream fashionable, Dolce and Gabbana make icy fashions. Ben and Jerry are sweetly pro-LGBT and marriage equality. Dolce and Gabbana are rancid in their attacks on gay and lesbian families.
I buy Ben and Jerry products. To my knowledge, I have never bought Dolce and Gabbana. That is a shame, because now there is a boycott, and I would dearly love to throw my non-buying dollars at it, but, my cash never flowed that way anyway. I had a similar frustration when Huggies did its offensive “dad test” ad campaign. I would have stopped buying their diapers then, but alas, my boys were long out of them and did the stop-buying for me.
So when Dolce and Gabbana let loose their recent tirade on LGBT parents, (“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” and “I call children of chemistry, synthetic children. Uteri [for] rent, semen chosen from a catalog.”) as much as I would love to follow Elton John’s lead in calling for a boycott (#BoycottDolce&Gabbana), the reality is, I am a paper, or tweeting, tiger. I can’t really boycott that which I have never bought.
But, I do write letters.
Dear Misters D & G,
As a parent, I have resisted the temptation to place a label on my sons (you ARE familiar with the concept of labels, no?) due to something they have done. I don’t ever tell them they are “bad boys,” but rather, that they made “bad choices.” Likewise, I will refrain from calling you all the names that have temptingly come to mind since your poisonous interview.
I will chalk it up to a bad, very bad, choice on your part. I am unclear as to why you chose to lash out irrationally and arrogantly. You have of course, and predictably, issued as statement designed to mitigate loss of revenue (“it was never our intention to judge other people’s choices.”). My son’s have a similar out: “But, Dad, I didn’t mean to…”
The question is why make such a pronouncement at all? In the past, when not musing about creating children yourselves, you have declared opposition to same sex marriage, and gay parents. My guess is that we should not be surprised. Part of the genius of a gifted designer’s mind is to come out with the unexpected, the unpredictable. What could be more unpredictable than homophobic diatribes from two of the most famous and wealthy gay men?
Except that internalized homophobia is predictable, and as boring as, well, J. Edgar Hoover and Roy Cohn. You’ve gone retro.
Without any basis other than my own life experience, I have often speculated about the seeming increase of creative talents in the per capita population of LGBT people. It would be nice to think that increased talent was tied to whatever sexual orientation instinct driver made us, but that seems unlikely. I believe that it is not “nature” but self-nurture. It has more to do with a deep consciousness within many of us that knew, due to our emerging instincts, that life was not as structured as we had been told in terms of our specific sexual/gender roles and abilities, and therefore, if we gave ourselves permission internally to see those aspects differently, that we could look at other things in the world differently as well. So many of us did, in art, in music, writing and other expressions.
Looking at things differently allowed us to make great accomplishments, as you should well know and acknowledge.
While creativity in some quarters of population of LGBT people may be a common thread, how that creativity expresses itself is as diverse as the millions of individuals that we are. For you, it was in shapes, angles, fits and fabrics.
For others of us, it is in the area of love, parenting and procreation. While heteronormativity cries out for a single process of fertilization, gestation and birth, those of us, who have known that we have parenting talents despite societal voices to the contrary, have found ways of bringing our spiritual children to us outside of old conventions.
You of new visuals, colors and ideas must understand this. If we applied the same critique of you that you made to LGBT parents, we would be advocating for the return of the corset and handle-bar mustaches.
In an ideal world, creativity would inspire enlightenment and evolution. It would push the human fabric into the next dimension and towards greater possibilities. It would look to the past only for structure, and ideas, not limitations.
Studies have implied that truly the only endangered children brought into the world are ones who are not wanted. These are children whose parents feel trapped and disinterested in actually being parents. The parents you attacked are not in this category. Your insults were directed to parents set to adore their children.
Your comments around traditional families ignore the realities of millions of kids in fostercare and adoption. Your theory of only a male and female led family’s capacity for a “supernatural sense of belonging” has failed these innocents. Who is stepping up to give them the love they deserve? LGBT parents in “non-traditional” families, that’s who.
I can tell you that for me personally, a “supernatural sense” is exactly what I experienced the moment I saw each of my sons for the first time. The oldest was born pre-maturely to a heroin addicted mother, the younger to an meta-amphetamine addict. Their background did not matter, the cosmic voice telling me that I was their dad — that was what mattered.
My family story, although creative in terms of the “traditional family,” is not unique. It can be matched by thousands of LGBT households that have saved millions of kids from lives of devastation, neglect and death. LGBT families by in large are giving hope and real chance to children already born, and unique life to others, like Mr. John’s, who would not exist otherwise. There is an innate generosity in all of it.
I only wish you felt a calling from a similar sense of spiritual giving and magnanimity.
I really don’t expect that you would understand this. To be fair, I don’t understand your world either. I am personally OK that I could not design something fashionable out of a paper bag, and that my fascination with the movie “The Devil Wore Prada” was that a fashion industry existed at all. I am also OK with you showing complete ignorance to the worldview required to be a gifted parent.
We don’t all need to be all things. Your creations are your designs, my creation is my family. My hope is it is that we both choose to respect and give each other our due.
There is one thing that I DO know about today’s fashion, however: Love is the new trend.
Bigotry and homophobia are out this season, and if I have anything to say about it, they won’t be in style again. This is to say that if I was Meryl Streep’s Miranda Priestly right now, I would be pursing my lips and glaring.
And you would be back to your drawing boards.