We Are Family!

Boston, May 18th 2016

A year ago, I was joining hundreds of Americans in a Boston square celebrating the landmark decision of the Supreme Court to make same-sex marriages legal for everyone across all the 50 states of the Federation.

trevi rainbow
Fontana di Trevi lit all colours. Credit Martina Castiglione

The cities’ main monuments and buildings all over the country had been lit in rainbow and on that day, I imagined the day when my own country would be lit just the same. Less than a year after, I’m still in the same square; this time, though, the celebration I’m joining is taking place thousands of miles away in a Roman square.  From afar, my heart is there through the pictures that my cousin is texting me from my hometown, showing the Colosseo and Trevi Fountain lit in rainbow. The message says: “As if you were here”.

The law on same-sex civil partnerships (called Cirinnà Law as the name of the MP who wrote the bill and saw it through to approval) has passed. Today, Italy as well is having (a few) squares and buildings lit in all colours of the rainbow and on Wikipedia’s map showing the situation of LGBT’s rights in Europe, Italy went from a dark grey to a faded blue. Before gaining the final Yes from the majority and eventually becoming law, the initial bill went under the axe of conservative opponents who twisted it and shook it from any word or phrase that would make ‘same-sex partnerships’ look too similar to the sacrality of their traditional marriages and families. In fact, the final and approved text of the law never mentions anywhere the word “family”, unlike the law regulating marriage between a man and a woman. Therefore, according to the Italian government, there are still thousands of Italian families who are not families and thousands of children whose parents are not parents. Simply put, families that are not families and while the bill was being discussed in the Parliament, instead of addressing the huge pink-dressed elephant in the room lip-synching on Diana Ross, the opposition’s counter suggestions kept their line “We won’t make perversion law”. They were so provocative and out of place that it was clear their only aim was that of dragging things along, while the only result was that of insulting everyone’s dignity, to a point that I almost hoped the law would not pass. Just like it happened during the previous attempt in 2006, when the humiliation that would have been inflicted on the people benefitting of the new bill was such that, according to the opponents, they wouldn’t have been allowed to show up together in the city hall to sign the papers. “After all, you guys are not a family, why should you go together?”

But not today. Today we do show up together. If today my country is a more civilised place, we owe it to this law and the people who wanted it so bad and fought hard to move this little, huge first step. So much still needs to be done; above all, so many souls and minds still need to be woken up. They are friends, men, and women who let the wrong assumption of being wrong and destined to unhappiness pollute their beautiful lives. As well as those friends, men, and women who do whatever is in their power to make us believe that we are not a family and therefore doomed to unhappiness. These are the souls and minds who need waking up. How? Through our own acceptance and affirmation of who we are, simple as that.

Coming out is wrong. I did say so a couple of years ago and I still believe it. NO ONE should be put in a condition to label themselves, left alone explaining who they love, why they love them and justify the fact that there is nothing wrong with it. Nonetheless, if we want to live in that beautiful place where coming out is no longer necessary; if we want those friends to understand that they can indeed be happy; if we want to stand up and don’t let our dignity and pride suffocated by those chanting that perversion will never be law and we’ll never be a family, then we must speak up and be the witnesses of our love and our happiness. This way, one day, no one will ever need to come out.

I’ll take the lead, renewing my own coming out that I did 6 years ago in a London pizza restaurant, in front of my parents and my best friend Natalia. Mum, dad, friends: I’m happy and I can be a family. Oh yes, I’m gay too. But who cares?

Let’s yell it from the top of our lungs, with the same very passion that Vladimir Luxuria expressed when she yelled it at Rome Gay Pride in 2007: WE ARE FAMILY!

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