Gay Pride by Renato Iengo -
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Gay Pride

  • Joined Apr 2019
  • Published Books 3

The English expression gay pride (literally gay pride) recalls two distinct concepts in Italian: that of gay pride and that of pride parade (parade of pride), the march of gay pride that keeps alive the memory of the 1969 Stonewall uprisings. At the moment it is often preferred to use only the name pride, which includes all rainbow realities.
The pride of being what you are, on the part of homosexual people. The rendering of the English word pride has created numerous misunderstandings in Italian through the most used translation, “pride” (which in Italian is also synonymous with “pride”), while the most correct translation would be “pride”, that is, the concept opposite to shame, seen as the condition in which they were, and still are, forced to live most of the people belonging to the LGBT community.
Pride” is based on three assumptions:
that people should be proud of who they are,
that sexual diversity is a gift and not a shame,
that sexual orientation and gender identity are innate or otherwise cannot be intentionally altered.


The most widespread use in Italy, and abroad, is as an abbreviation of “Pride Parade”, that is “March” (or “Event”) “of Pride”. In this sense, in colloquial language, “Pride” normally indicates the event and the initiatives that take place every year on the occasion of “LGBT Pride Day”, in the days before or after June 28th, which commemorates the Stonewall uprising in New York in 1969, the symbolic date of the beginning of the homosexual liberation movement.
I Pride in Italy
The first public demonstration of homosexuals in Italy took place on April 5, 1972, in Sanremo, in protest against the “International Congress on Sexual Deviations” organized by the Italian Center of Sexology, of Catholic inspiration. Some forty people from the following homosexual associations took part in the event: the French Front homosexuel d’action révolutionnaire (FHAR), the Belgian Movement Homosexuel d’Action Révolutionnaire (MHAR), the recently established British Gay Liberation Front, the recently established Internationale Homosexuelle Révolutionnaire (IHR) and the Italian Fuori! Among the Italian exponents were Angelo Pezzana, Mario Mieli and Alfredo Cohen. Françoise d’Eaubonne also participated. In 1978 the first events specifically related to the international gay pride celebrations were organized in Turin: the sixth Fuori! congress and a week of homosexual film, between 19 and 25 June of the same year.


In 1979, the collective Orpheus organized in Pisa the first parade in Italy against the violence suffered by homosexual people. Violence against homosexuals was frequent and in the summer of 1979 two gay boys were killed in Livorno. On 24 November, about 500 gays and lesbians participated in the event, which will remain the most attended until 1994.
On June 28, 1981 in Palermo, near Villa Giulia, was held the “feast of homosexual pride”, a few months after the birth, December 9, 1980, again in Palermo, the first Italian arch-gay club, from an idea of Don Marco Bisceglia, Catholic priest of the area of dissent, as a reaction to the emotion aroused by the discovery of the bodies of two young lovers killed in Giarre, in the province of Catania, because of their homosexual relationship. The Palermo club was called ARCI Gay and was the first nucleus (soon imitated by other cities) of what would become in the following decades the most famous gay rights organization in Italy. In Italy, the first official national gay pride took place in 1994, in Rome, after a difficult agreement between the national association, Arcigay, and the Circle of homosexual culture Mario Mieli, which was entrusted with the organization.


Among the organizers Imma Battaglia and Vladimir Luxuria. It was attended by the German MEP Claudia Roth, promoter of the European resolution for the rights of homosexuals, and members of the Radical Party, including the mayor of Rome Francesco Rutelli. The march, going beyond expectations, saw the participation of more than ten thousand people. For the Italian movement, accustomed to demonstrations by several hundred people, it was a success, which confirmed the rightness of the unified approach. The journalist Gianni Rossi Barilli wrote about the event in this way:
“It is amazing to see the variety of participation, the fact that we see one next to the other that normally they do not do politics together and often, when they do, they fight bitterly.
The following year the initiative was repeated in Bologna, and in 1996 in Naples, with “Iesce sole” and the “Madonna di Pompei loves gay people too”. In 1995, during a national protest demonstration in Verona, “Alzamo la testa”, Franco Grillini launched the idea of a national anticlerical demonstration in Rome on the occasion of the Jubilee, which was approved by all groups. The following Pride were to be the “general rehearsals” for a demonstration of grandeur never seen before in Italy.


However, in 1997 the problems began. The Honey, partly exalted by the success of the Pride, in 1994 launched the federation Azione homosessuale (which would last until the end of 1997), with the declared intention of “breaking the political monopoly existing within the Italian homosexual movement”, ie in anti-Arcigay function. Honey’s attempt to take over the hegemony of the Italian gay movement was obviously not welcomed by Arcigay: tensions grew year after year until 1997 when two separate Prides arrived: one in Rome led by Honey and “Homosexual Action”, the other in Venice, with the presence of the Arcigay and Arcilesbica circles. The two Prides, on the whole, had a lower turnout than that of the first Pride in 1994, reversing the trend towards a gradual but constant increase in the number of participants that had characterized the Pride units.  The year before the Jubilee, 1999, the two separate Prides (Arcigay in Como, Mario Mieli in Rome) reached the lowest point of participation: the lgbt community did not understand the reason for the contention between the organizers and expressed its dissent by deserting both Prides. Having realized the situation, the organizers took a step back (a move made easier by the disbandment of Azione Omosessuale, dissolved by internal dissent in October 1997). Arcigay announced that in 2000 he would not organize any Pride, inviting everyone to converge on Rome, where the Honey was organizing a World Pride for the week from July 1 to 9, 2000.


Even so, tensions were not overcome: in particular, the proposal that each association should contribute to Pride in proportion to the number of members, but that the votes should grant a vote to each association, created problems. Arcigay, as a federation of groups, had more militants on its own than all the other associations added up, and would thus have had to pay most of the costs, but could count on a single vote when making decisions. Arcigay therefore decided to leave the organization of the event, leaving freedom to remain there for all individual circles who so desired. The situation was changed by the attack by the Catholic Church on the idea of Pride, causing not only an unexpected last-minute compaction of all the Italian LGBT realities, but also an extraordinary participation that went beyond half a million people (the president of the Honey, Imma Battaglia, cried out from the stage “We are a million!”), and that had not even been planned by the organizers themselves. There was a huge influx of ordinary people to the event, who participated out of solidarity. The event was attended by many well-known people, including international ones: Gloria Gaynor, the Village People, RuPaul and Geri Halliwell. the experience of the World Pride showed once again that the lgbt movement achieved results every time it came together, while the division caused the desertion of the participants.


In the following years, a certain tension continued between the Roman groups (which claim that the National Pride belongs “naturally” to Rome as the capital) and the rest of the Italian LGBT movement (which opted for the choice of a single National Pride “itinerant”, assigned year after year to a different city, next to several Pride citizens or regions). Nevertheless, tensions have always remained below the guard level, and the rule of the unitary national Pride has not been interrupted. In particular, the one held on June 17, 2007, in response to the Family Day, which took place in the same square (estimates reach up to 500,000 participants), was very much attended. On June 11, 2011, the 18th Europride took place in Rome, involving hundreds of thousands of people (some estimates say 1 million). Guest star of the event is Lady Gaga, who gives a long speech in support of the gay movement from the stage of the event. On 26 June 2010 the National Pride returns to Naples after 14 years. From “Jesce Sole” in 1996 we passed “Alla Luce del Sole”, a slogan shared by all local associations and organizations Arcigay Napoli – Arcilesbica Napoli – Famiglie Arcobaleno – ATN and national. For the occasion, the City of Naples, in addition to activating numerous services for the success of the event, has produced an ad hoc awareness campaign that has been visible in the city for over a month both in the classic spaces dedicated to posters and on public transport and in the stations of subways and funiculars.


Great turnout of participants during the procession mainly from Campania, peaceful and engaging with over 20 floats, ended with a meeting in Piazza del Plebiscito.
The National Pride was held in Bologna on 9 June 2012. The event took place without the floats and music that usually characterize these events, as a form of respect for the victims of the earthquake in Emilia. To the earthquake victims was donated what had been collected for the preparation of the wagons. At the end of the event, representatives of the LGBT movement, including Vladimir Luxuria, and the mayor of Bologna Virginio Merola, who spoke out for the recognition of same-sex civil marriage, took the floor from the stage in Piazza Maggiore. On June 22, 2013 in Palermo, for the first time in the history of Italian gay pride, many important institutional positions were attended: the president of the chamber, the minister of equal opportunities, the president of the Sicilian region and the mayor of the host city. In addition, for the occasion, was established the largest gay village in Europe within the Cantieri Culturali della Zisa (50,000 m²), where for 10 days were organized concerts, art exhibitions, conferences, film festivals, two discos and large spaces for catering and crafts.


Just three days before the inauguration, the city of Palermo had established the register of civil unions, just to send a concrete signal on the occasion of the event strongly desired by the mayor and announced by himself during the parade of gay pride city of the previous year. On 29 June 2013, the first edition of ONDA PRIDE was born, on the idea of the Arcigay Committee of Naples, together with the Pride Committees of Naples, Milan, Bologna, Catania, Barletta and Sardinia, a system that puts together and unites the various city pride, regional that every year are organized in different cities and regions of Italy. In 2014 the Pride Wave continues to be active with thirteen Prides in 13 cities of Italy. In order, from June to August, the Pride were held in: Rome, Alghero, Bologna, Catania, Lecce, Milan, Naples, Palermo, Perugia, Turin, Venice, Syracuse and Reggio Calabria, which hosted the first Pride in Calabria. In 2015 there were 15 host cities of the Pride Wave. The season of the Pride opened on June 6 with Verona, already a guest in the past of Pride, Benevento and Pavia, at their first Pride. On 13 June, the Pride was held in Rome, during which the demonstrators used the Family Gay formula, as opposed to the Family Day that would be held in the capital after a few days. On June 27th it was the turn of Turin, Milan, Bologna, Palermo, Perugia and Sardegna Pride in Cagliari. On 4th July Foggia hosted its first Pride, and at the same time it was parading in Genoa and Catania. Naples hosted the Pride of the Mediterranean on July 11, while Reggio Calabria closed the wave on August 1.


In 2015, It’s Human Pride was adopted as the slogan for the Pride Wave with a view to claiming human rights.
Also in 2016 the Pride was celebrated in a series of cities (21 to be exact, 6 more than a year before), united by the Pride Wave.
The cities that hosted the Pride Parade for the first time in 2017 were Arezzo, Udine, Cosenza, Reggio Emilia, Sassari, Potenza, Brescia and Alba.
Sexual and gender diversity (DSG) or simply sexual diversity is a term used to refer in an inclusive manner to all diversity of sexes, sexual orientations and gender identities, without the need to specify each of the identities, behaviors and characteristics that make up this plurality.
In the West, simple and hermetic classifications are usually used in relation to sex (men, women and intersexuals), sexual orientation (heterosexual, homosexual and bisexual) and gender identity (transgender and cisexual), combined in the acronym LGBTI (lesbian, gays, bisexual, transgender/transexual and intersexual). Nevertheless, other cultures have different ways of understanding the sexual system. Moreover, in recent decades several sexology theories have become popular such as Kinsey’s theory and queer theory, proposing that this classification is insufficient to describe the complexity of sexuality in the human species, and also in other animal species.


For example, it may be that people experience an intermediate sexual orientation between heterosexual and bisexual (heteroflexible) or between homosexual and bisexual (homoflexible) or that this varies over time, or that includes attraction to other genders apart from men and women (pansexual). In other words, bisexuality has a great diversity of types and preferences ranging from a complete heterosexuality to a complete homosexuality (Kinsey scale).
Moreover, in recent decades several sexology theories have become popular such as Kinsey’s theory and queer theory, proposing that this classification is insufficient to describe the complexity of sexuality in the human species, and also included in other animal species.
For example, it may be that people experience an intermediate sexual orientation between heterosexual and bisexual (heteroflexible) or between homosexual and bisexual (homoflexible) or that this varies over time, or that includes attraction to other genders apart from men and women (pansexual). In other words, bisexuality has a great diversity of types and preferences ranging from a complete heterosexuality to a complete homosexuality (Kinsey scale).


La diversità sessuale anche include alle persone intersessuali, che nascono con una varietà di caratteristiche intermedie tra uomini e donne. Oltretutto anche includono tutte le identità transgeneri e transessuali che non entrano nel sistema di genere binario e che, come l’orientamento sessuale, si possono sperimentare in diversi gradi tra ila cisessualità e la transessualità, com’è il caso delle persone di genere non-binario.

Infine, la diversità sessuale anche include alle persone asessuali, chi sperimentano disinteresse nell’attività sessuale; nonché a tutte le persone che considerano che la sua identità non si può definire, chiamate queer nell’ambito anglosassone.

Socialmente si rivendica la diversità sessuale come l’accettazione di qualsiasi forma di essere, con gli stessi diritti, libertà e opportunità nel contesto dei Diritti Umani. In molti paesi si rivendica la visibilità della diversità sessuale nelle marce dell’Orgoglio LGBTI.

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