Into the silence of a desert, barren of rights, which only some could call “peaceful,” the sound of Pride returns.
Pride of one’s sexual orientation, pride of one’s gender identity, pride of one’s body in transition and to be exhibited again with post-surgery bandages, pride of living in a country — and above all in a Europe — where the space still exists, or should, where one can reclaim their own rights and the rights of others.
Pride of wearing the colors of the rainbow, which have never before become a double symbol of peace and civil rights like this year. Inseparable. There is not one without the other. After two years of silence, the LGBTQIA+ community returned to parade in Rome (but also in Genova, Bergamo and Dolo at the same time, and from here until 24 September the Wave Pride 2022 will also hit many other Italian cities). And it is not alone.
“We are back, we are many, making noise,” shouts the singer Elodie from her sound truck, one of the 15 who marched along with hundreds of thousands of people on the streets of the capital.
It is a party and a demonstration. There is lightness and depth. But there is no anger. Pure awareness. If someone counterprotested, like the guy in a big SUV traveling the street blasting “Facetta Nera” (“black face,” a fascist anthem), they were the black sheeps. Joy and pride buried him alive.
Behind the opening banner “Torniamo a fare Rumore” (“We’re Back to Make Noise”), many others joined the parade, which traveled from Piazza della Repubblica to Piazza della Madonna di Loreto: the activist and former deputy Vladimir Luxuria; the mayor of Rome, Roberto Gualtieri (to fill a void that lasted for five years); the president of the Lazio Region Nicola Zingaretti; the former president of the Chamber Laura Boldrini; and many mayors of small cities, municipal and regional administrators, and parliamentarians. There were representatives of the Democratic Party and of + Europe, of the Radicals and even a group organized under “queer Communism.”
The rainbow of marchers moved to the cry: “Always proud, always anti-fascist.”
But it is in those bodies — young and old, of children and the sick, in prams or wheelchairs — that seem to have waited their whole life to perform, to exhibit their desires, their drives and their identity, that they concretizes that anti-fascist being.
“Being here is a duty. Rome must be in the front row for rights and against any discrimination,” Gualtieri tells reporters. Speaking of peace, he adds: “Today we must be close to all the people who are victims not only of this war of aggression against Putin’s Russia but also policies of discrimination against LGBT rights and the LGBT community in Russia. Today we must be close to them too.”
And Zingaretti: “Pride is above all an explosion of life, of the desire to relate to others. It can only do everyone good, even those who have not come. The right to difference and to be oneself is a positive feeling.”
“The massive presence of national and local politicians at Roma Pride” is well regarded by the spokesperson of the Gay-LGBT +, Solidarity, Environmentalist and Liberal Party, Fabrizio Marrazzo, who however calls for “concrete actions and not just catwalks.” For this, he adds, “after the failure of the law in the Senate against homotransphobia, we asked over 100,000 regional and municipal councilors, belonging to about 8,000 entities, to make a concrete gesture for the LGBT + community.
“As a concrete action, we ask you to approve our proposed resolution which can sanction students, teachers, workers and anyone who propagandizes hate or discriminates against LGBT+ people, women and people with disabilities, with a fine of €500, as is already the case today for those who do so against Blacks and Jews, for example, even in the absence of a national law, thanks to regional and municipal resolutions valid in the territories of competence.” This is one way to overcome “the immobility of Parliament.”
Furthermore, he says, “the proceeds of the sanctions will constitute a fund available to organizations working to prevent hatred against LGBT+ people.”
While the International Women’s House is asking for immediate approval of the Zan bill. For Arcigay’s general secretary Gabriele Piazzoni, “the almost 50 Italian Pride marches this year, a record in Europe, are the counterweight to the stalemate of politics. There is a rights emergency in Italy that affects LGBTQI+ people and all social groups that are discriminated against. It is an emergency, which causes loneliness, fragility, violence, abandonment, obstacles.”
We have come a long way from 1994 when the Mario Mieli homosexual culture club, with Arcigay, gave birth to the first Gay Pride in Rome. Yet the ones who finally paraded again in the Roman streets Saturday seemed animated by a renewed spirit. Love and politics. Peace and love. Stop the war. “Pride to be in Europe.” “Out of the Middle Ages.”
For the first time there is the colorful and noisy chariot of the LGBT+ Jewish community #proud&jews, there is the Christian LGBT, there are the gay and lesbian “Elders,” there are the little trains with the children of the rainbow families, there is it is the Agedo (families and friends of LGBT+ people), there are the representatives of the rugby and volleyball federations. There is — this is also a first — the representation of the United Kingdom under the banner “Great Love is for everyone” with the British Ambassador to Italy, Ed Llewellyn, who has recently arrived in Italy and is already committed to defending the rights of minorities. Music made in Britain, of course.
And there is the CGIL truck: “Only peace,” its speaker says. Why? “Because without rights, peace is a desert.”
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