After many years of trying to start a family Brian Dowling and Arthur Gourounlian welcomed their daughter Blake back in September. While it was undoubtedly a joyous experience, Brian is opening up about the homophobic attitudes they experienced on the journey to parenthood and after welcoming their baby girl.
He revealed they had experienced a lot of shaming as a gay couple starting a family, while Brian’s sister Aoife, who acted as surrogate, also received a lot of hate.
Speaking on Kate Ferdinand’s Blended podcast, he said: “There’s been a lot of shaming. The amount of homophobia that Arthur and I… it’s been so odd. Aoife also put herself out there.”
Voicing his frustration as others are allowed so much of a say in his decision thanks to Ireland’s previous surrogacy laws and gay marriage laws.
Explaining: “Our journey to parenthood is very unique and with the lack of legislation in Ireland, who dictates who can have families and who doesn’t? I remember coming out in 2001 and we couldn’t get married; there was the (marriage) referendum in 2015. Who dictates that I can get married?”
“Who dictates when I can have my family? I just thought, ‘No, we’re going to do this’. There were times we did pull back, where if we were doing an interview or something, I’d say, “Can you avoid those questions?”’
Brian also reveal the couple have to deal with extremely invasive questions, regarding Blake biological dad. Saying: “There was interest regarding who the dad is. People are obsessed with DNA and biology.”
The Big Brother champion also opened up about the rude comments Aoife recieved, when she was announced as their surrogate.
Sharing: “Aoife never thought the baby was hers. Aoife knows it’s her niece. We have eight other nieces and nephews and it’s the exact same relationship.”
“When we made this public, we got all this stuff like: how could she give her baby away? Shameful. She was like, ‘It’s not my baby.’ Aoife doesn’t think motherhood is for her but as a woman, she wanted to experience pregnancy. She was very emotional when she gave birth. She always wanted a C-section.”
While Aoife carried the baby, the couple used an egg donor.
Brian also shared his admiration for his sister after she help them start their family, seeing how strong she was while giving birth. Explaining: “We were there with her… There was a moment we had the baby with Aoife and we held Blake quickly and she said, ‘You go, I’ve got this.'”
“She was physically cut open and was bleeding and I thought: she’s so vulnerable now in hospital and she’s telling me ‘go’. I thought: how brave is she? ‘I look at her so differently. She could tap me for anything at this point and she hasn’t.”