Entry Title: "In Bloom"
Name: Eleonora Calvelli , Italy
Category and Expertise: Documentary|People|Deeper Perspective|Photo Essay and Feature Story|Family, Professional
Entry Description: Paolo and Moreno have been living together for 18 years. They married in Montreal in 2008 and have two children, born thanks to a surrogacy agreement in Canada. Ilaria and Antonella have been living together for 11 years. They became mothers in 2005 by means of artificial insemination carried out in Belgium, and married with a civil ceremony in Barcelona in 2010. Chiara and Roberta married in Barcelona in 2010, after living together for 12 years. They have twin girls, Emma and Giada, conceived in a clinic in the Catalan capital. Paolo and Moreno, Ilaria and Antonella, Chiara and Roberta, but also Marco and Giampietro, and Giuseppina and Raphaelle, are just a few of the couples of same-sex parents who live in Italy. This is the description of a rapidly changing situation characterised by new family models, with nuclei consisting of a single parent, same-sex parents, de facto couples and extended families.
Commenced in 2008, the project recounts the daily life of 13 Italian same-sex couples with children born thanks to assisted reproductive technology (ART). The work, while referring to the Italian context and directly inspired by it, testifies the situation of LGBT rights in other European countries through the journeys of the Italian families who got married abroad or have carried out the artificial insemination in other European countries, in Canada and in U.S.
The book In Bloom, curated by 3/3, was published by Postcart in 2013 and has received the support of Amnesty International Italian Section.
Story: With this work on families with LGBT parents, I wished to explore an aspect of a vast new sphere of social possibilities. I wanted to understand how the traditional family paradigm, the Italian “sacred family” (from which I come myself ), was evolving under the stimulus of these possibilities. I intended to probe the theme of the conscious choice to give life; a choice that, in the case of families with LGBT parents, goes beyond the confines of biology to become political, as it clashes with the limits prescribed by laws and by those who approve them.
Those unfamiliar with the day-to-day life of families with LGBT parents fear that their children are destined to be “different” because they were born in a type of family that will undoubtedly lead them to question themselves about their origins. But aren’t these the same questions that all children ask themselves, regardless of their “birth”? Why am I here? Why do I exist? Am I the product of chance or choice? And aren’t the doubts that assail all future parents equally universal when they ask themselves whether it’s right to bring a new life into the world?
I was guided not only by an emotional, intimate and personal dimension, but also by the wish to explore man’s ability to choose and determine his own destiny; the need to analyse “the outside”, the world, society; the process through which inner motivations find their space in the outer sphere. And, because the “world” sets absolute limits, the question becomes “where do we stand in relation to these limits?”
Families with LGBT parents have to tackle many barriers, in terms of social approval, rights and equal opportunities. Those that I met had dealt with and overcome the constraints that had been imposed on them. They have personally enacted a political choice with their body, shifting the ontological, existential, political and social boundaries of what is permitted in our country today.