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Cross-cultural Attitudes toward Couples who are Planning to Adopt Children: LGBTIQ+ parenthood in Italy and in the UK

Venue: Online

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Speaker: Dr. Silvia Di Battista, Social Psychology Research Fellow at the University of Bergamo Italy, who is visiting the Department of Psychological Sciences at Birkbeck as an Academic Collaborator.

The 2022 International Lesbian & Gay Association (ILGA) Rainbow Europe Map shows positive increment on the indexes measuring the legal and policy situation of LGBTIQ+ people in Europe. The presentation highlights the similarities and differences in the positions of two European countries – Italy and the UK – regarding attitudes toward LGT parenting. In 2002 the UK was one of the first places in the world to permit same-sex couples to jointly adopt a child, yet in recent years the UK has slipped down the International Lesbian & Gay Association (ILGA) rankings in terms of legislation and policy recognizing LGBTIQ+ human rights. While some rights have been recently granted to recognize same-sex partnerships, Italy still shows significant gaps in terms of fundamental protection against discrimination and violence and family rights. The lack of rights and protections for Italian LGBTIQ+ families with children is one of the most contrasting differences between Italy and the UK, highlighting a strong social and cultural difficulty of Italians to recognize forms of parenting other than that of two people of different sexes.

We conducted a study aims to explore attitudes toward transgender and same-sex parents in the UK and Italy. Some participants (Italian: N = 214; English: N = 259) read one of five vignettes regarding a couple – gay, lesbian, MtF, FtM, different-sex couples – seeking child adoption. After reading the vignette, the participants rated expectations about development for two adoptive female and male candidates and their willing to grant custody of the two children. Results showed the levels of support for LGBTIQ+ people were higher in Italy than in the UK. However, both Italian and UK individuals high in sexual prejudice were in various ways less supportive concerning the adoption for non-traditional couples compared to adoption for different-sex couples. This seminar intends to contribute to promoting an awareness on the importance to spread a culture of inclusion and to implement ad-hoc interventions and policies to help LGBTIQ+ families. The presentation will be accessible to anyone interested in social research in relation to adoption and parenthood or how psychological science can be applied to investigating cultural attitudes toward LGBTQ+ rights. It requires no prior experience.


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