Article 3

2019-06-27 Stefano Basaglia

The First Time Was a Revolt; What Now?

On June 28, 2019 we celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the so-called Stonewall revolt that marked the beginning of the “modern” homosexual liberation movement[1]. This, despite the fact that the first public Italian homosexual demonstration was the one against the psychiatric congress on sexual deviations of April 5, 1972. The demonstration was organized by the Fuori! group of Turin, led by Angelo Pezzana. Fifty years on from 1969, and forty-seven years after 1972, there will be as many as 40 parades in Italy from May to September (there were 28 in 2018 and 5 in 2013) celebrating LGBTI pride (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, and Intersexual) in as many cities.

As regards companies, it is important to stress that the main sponsor of the parade in Rome on June 8, 2019 was Netflix, with the other sponsors being Akuel, Treedom, Vitasnella, and Vueling Airlines. The platinum sponsors of the June 29 parade in Milan were AirItaly (official air carrier), Coca-Cola, Idealista, Just Eat, Matrix, Nyx, and Serravalle Designer Outlet. The Parks Liberi e Uguali association, created for companies to understand and fully realize the potential business linked to the development of strategies and good practices respecting diversity, has 62 member companies. So we see that companies are increasingly interested in gaining credit with the LGBT community, on both the marketing front, and the employer branding front. This is true even though we know very little of these aspects, as Luca Visconti has pointed out, and much more could be done, as noted by Marco Albertini.

In terms of rights, Giovanni dall’Orto, a historian of the Italian gay movement, has written[2]: “The political program and plan that we propose today [we of the Italian LGBT movement] is essentially what we constructed around 1990. Various not quite insignificant details are still missing (heterologous fertilization, stepchild adoption, and marriage), but most of the project dreamed up in 1990 is now reality.” It is interesting that the goals from 1990 were in essence achieved in 2016 with the approval of the law on Civil Unions.

According to Ilga Europe, Italy has an LGBTI equality index of 22 percent, and is in 35th place out of 49 European countries. France has an index of 63 percent (8th place), Germany of 48 percent (15th place), and Spain of 60 percent (11th place). Based on Eurobarometro data from 2015, the percentage of Italians who feel at ease with displays of affection by gay couples (kisses, holding hands) is equal to 42% (towards heterosexual couples the percentage is 73%; thus the difference is 31 percentage points). In other countries the situation is as follows: France, 61% for gay couples and 81% for heterosexual couples (a difference of 20 percentage points); Germany, 52% for gay couples and 77% for heterosexual couples (a difference of 25 percentage points); and Spain, 69% for gay couples and 84% for heterosexual couples (a difference of 13 percentage points).

There is still a long way to go to reach equality. The effort, militancy, and pressure towards all social actors must be maintained (the state, the government, local authorities, companies, labor unions, media, etc.); without forgetting that the freedom of a minority is always in the hands of the majority, and that this freedom is precarious. Nothing is to be taken for granted, especially in this period; not even LGBTI pride parades. They do not tell us only of our past, but remind us of our commitment to our future.


[1] The title draws on the slogan for Milano Pride 2019.

[2] G. Dall’Orto, “I miei primi quarant’anni. Una rievocazione,” in AA.VV., Milano e 50 anni di movimento Lgbt*, Milan, Il Dito e la Luna, 2019.