A comparative study on social stigma associated with same-sex parenting in Italy and in Norway
This comparative study aims at providing an insight on the way in which same-sex parents have experience of social stigma associated with same-sex parenting in the Italian and in the Norwegian contexts, highlighting similarities and differences. The comparison is based on the the fact that, while they both represent developed countries of the European continent, they differ significantly in terms of legal provisions for same-sex parents families. In particular, the goals of the present study include describing the characteristics of such stigma, the effects it causes into same-sex parents’ lives, and what types of intervention exist to help stigmatized same-sex parents in both countries. In order to do so, five Italian and five Norwegian couples of same-sex parents have been recruited to conduct semi-structured interviews in the cities of Oslo and Turin, which are similar in terms of population. For each country, four female and one male couples have been selected using the purposive sampling method. All participants were members of the Italian or the Norwegian Rainbow Families Association at the time of the interviews. The collected data was then coded and analyzed referring to the thematic analysis of the material. Finally the themes that emerged from both groups of participants were compared. The conclusions of this study are that the characteristics of social stigma associated with same-sex parenting were listed similarly by both groups. Participants referred also to similar domains of lives that are affected by it and similar forms of support that same-sex parents can refer to if stigmatized. However, Italian couples reported to be subjected to an array of stressors and forms of structural discrimination due to such stigma that were not mentioned by Norwegian participants, who instead showed to be more trustful toward the state’s protection. From the comparison of the content of the interviews, it emerged that the characteristics and the effects of social stigma associated to same-sex parenting are perceived as stronger among Italian participants, and that the main causes can be traced into a lack of legal protection in the context of the Italian law.