"They want to stop me being a mother"

Imagine receiving a letter from the government stating, "You are no longer a parent."

Fragile. Society's attitudes towards homosexuality and motherhood can change quickly.

Fragile. Society's attitudes towards homosexuality and motherhood can change quickly.

Foto: Martina Holmberg / TT

Ledarkrönika2024-03-22 16:15

What would you have felt, and how would you have reacted? It's hard to imagine, but I think I know how I would have felt.

It's difficult to comprehend, yet as a lesbian mother, I can empathize. Fear would course through me upon realizing the sudden loss of parental rights over one of my daughters, simply because she wasn't biologically mine.

That I would have been invalidated as a mother. Just because one of my children didn't grow in my womb. This was reality for lesbian mothers in Italy during the autumn of 2023. Many received the above-mentioned letter in their mailboxes. Since the conservative party, Brothers of Italy, with Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, came to power, they have repeatedly advocated for the traditional nuclear family. 

At the end of last year, the prosecutor's office submitted a request that only the biological mother's surname should be listed on the birth certificate - for over 30 children of lesbian couples in the northern city of Padua - and that the non-birthing mother's surname should not be approved. 

I suppose it's quite human, that feeling that it could have been me. Especially when it comes to a country that is so geographically and culturally close to our own. That's exactly how I felt when I first heard about the situation for same-sex parents in Italy. It could have been me. 

In fact, my feeling isn't entirely unfounded. Sweden's second-largest political party has a party leader who shamelessly denies that children can have same-sex parents. In an interview with the gay magazine QX in 2018, Jimmie Åkesson (SD) says the following:

– If there are two women where one has children, then she also has them together with a father. In any case, the child has the right to know who the father is and also the right to meet him if possible.

Åkesson further claims that a child cannot have two mothers.

– A child has one mother and one father, otherwise it wouldn't be a child. There is research that says there is an identity problem later in life for children who grew up like that.

However, all the research shows that Åkesson is completely wrong. Children do not have identity problems from growing up with homosexual mothers. But the fact remains: this is his belief, however wrong. He will want to enact laws based on this fallacious belief. A conviction that mothers who have not carried their children in their wombs are not real mothers. That I am not a mother to one of my children. 

My child whom I have stayed up with at night, comforted when she was sad, whom I have raised, and whom I love unconditionally. That I wouldn't be her mother just because we don't share genes is utterly absurd, and if someone else thinks differently, it doesn't matter. I know, and she knows. 

What's frightening is that political events that deprive people of their rights are something I can't control. That a party like the Sweden Democrats has so much power in our country scares the hell out of me. 

However, things brightened for Italy's rainbow families. In early 2024, a court in northern Italy decided that children can have two legal mothers. I can only imagine the collective sigh of relief that must have escaped the Italian same-sex parents who were affected. 

I can also imagine that they will never forget how quickly things can change, how quickly life can be snatched from their hands. 

Let's not forget that ourselves. Because it could have been me. It could have been your friend, relative, or colleague. It could have been you. 

Let's vote to reduce the risk that it actually becomes our reality.