Academic journal article Italian Sociological Review

The State of Studies and Research on the Homosexual Parent Family in Italy

Academic journal article Italian Sociological Review

The State of Studies and Research on the Homosexual Parent Family in Italy

Article excerpt


Homosexual parent families are families with one or more homosexual parent. The term LGBT parenting, more precisely Homoparentalité (Gross, 2003) is a neologism created in 1997 by the French Association of parents and future lesbian and gay parents (APGL) to designate all those family situations in which at least one adult who defines themself as homosexual, is the parent of at least one child within the newly formed family. Homosexual parent families can be very different within themselves and may be the result of different choices: if more frequently in the past there were those who have become such within previous heterosexual relationships and are now living the dynamics of separation sometimes supported by a new partner, becoming more widespread today are families founded by homosexual parents where they seek to parent within the homosexual couple.

Roberta Bosisio and Paola Ronfani (2014) propose a classification of different configurations of the homosexual parent family based on parenting and relationships between generations:

- Gay or lesbian couples with children born of the previous heterosexual union of one partner. These mostly involve lesbian couples, particularly in Italy, because in cases of parental separation custody of children is less frequently awarded to fathers.

- Same-sex couples with children born through artificial insemination or self insemination for women and gestation of 'support' for men.

- Families composed of two family units and their children. This refers to co-parenting projects involving two homosexual persons (with or without a partner) intending to have a child through new reproductive technologies and to share the educational role of the child between the two family units, maternal (exclusively female) and paternal (exclusively male). It can thus constitute three-parent families (a gay man who has an arrangement with a lesbian couple and vice versa) or four-parent families (a gay couple that has an arrangement with a lesbian couple).

- Multi-parent families that consist of same-sex couples with children born through new reproductive technologies that share, in different ways and with various degrees of involvement, parenting with those who have contributed to the birth of the son or daughter by donating gametes and/or carrying the pregnancy to term.

- Same-sex couples with adopted children.

With the changing composition of the family, observe the Authors, from both a structural and relational point of view, the manner of exercising parental responsibility also varies, which is also affected by other variables such as social class, cultural level and ethnicity.

Homosexual parent families in our country are increasing, according to data from the 15th Population Census in 2011, ISTAT state that 7,513 couples of the same sex declared that they were united by a type of connubial affective bond, 529 of which had children. In 2005 the MODI.DI survey funded by the Higher Institute of Health reported that of 7,000 homosexuals, 18% of gay men and 21% of lesbian women over 40 stated to have children. In Italy, it is estimated that approximately 500,000 children live with at least one homosexual parent.

Despite the proportion and magnitude of the phenomenon in Italy it has taken a long time compared to other Western countries - especially those Anglo-Saxon - before scientific reflection on homosexual parenting has found adequate space.

According to Barbagli and Colombo (2007) in Italy there is a very big difference between what is said daily about homosexuals and how much one really knows about them. The press and the media devote considerable space to this topic often fueling stereotypes and clichés. In Italy, apart from a few exceptions (Fabris, Davis, 1978), it is only since the mid-nineties that we have seen actual growth in scientific and academic interest in psychology, law, sociology and anthropology relating to homosexual family parenting. …

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