Entry Title: "Fiordispina"
Name: Eleonora Calvelli , Italy
Category and Expertise: Social Cause|Deeper Perspective|Photo Essay and Feature Story|Family, Professional
Entry Description: January 20th-24th, 2009. Sonia and Ilaria have been living together for two years in Italy. Sonia and Ilaria decided to have a child and they are planning to have an assisted reproductive treatment in Denmark. In Italy, only married heterosexual couples can resort to artificial methods of insemination. Therefore, homosexual couples wishing a child are forced to fly abroad to countries that let them have full family rights (assisted reproduction, marriage and adoption), such as Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada and the US. Sonia and Ilaria went three times to Copenhagen, at the same clinic, but Ilaria did never became pregnant. In 1989 Denmark became the first country to recognize the homosexual marriages and to give gay couples the right to formalize their relationship through a civil ceremony. These couples have the same rights regarding public housing, pensions, immigration and adoption. The law, passed with the support of 60% of the population, gave gay unions many rights that had been previously conferred only to married couples: inheritance, insurance, pension, social benefits, tax cuts, unemployment benefits, alimony payments in the event of separation.
Story: In Italy and in the rest of the world are emerging new family models, with nuclei consisting of a single parent, same-sex parents, de facto couples and extended families.
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, Giuseppina and Raphaelle, and Sonia and Ilaria are just a few of the couples of same-sex parents who live in Italy.
Commenced in 2008, the Rainbow Families project recounts the daily life of 13 Italian families with same-sex parents and children born thanks to assisted fertilization techniques.
The project, while referring to the Italian context and directly inspired by it, testifies the situation of LGBT rights in other countries through the journeys of the Italian families who got married abroad or have carried out the artificial inseminations in other European countries, in Canada and in the U.S.
The book, curated by 3/3, was published by Postcart in 2013 with the title “In Bloom” and has received the support of Amnesty International Italian Section.
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.
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.