PRIDe PARAdE MONtH: WE NEeD TO MAkE CHAnGES HAPPeN BY AWaKING oUR ASPLeEP POlITICaL CONScIOUSNeSS
Text by: Annarosa Laureti
Pride week has been already started. Several events will took place during the next days preparing Milanese people to join with the right attitude the final Gay Pride Parade going on stage this Saturday 29th. Even the mayor Beppe Sala mustered Milan citizenry last Thursday sharing on IG a picture of him wearing rainbow socks and claiming in the post’s caption “Per una Milano dei Diritti. E dei Doveri”.
On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Stonewall riots – the spontaneous LGBT community’s five-day-long revolt against the several police raids at the Stonewall Inn bar in the Greenwich Village, NYC, that kicked off to the first Pride march ever the following year, on June 29th 1970 – standing up for gender equality is much-needed. However it’s quite upsetting to recognize that such an important and delicate matter like that of gender rights hits the public opinion mostly in time of celebration.
This common controversial attitude afflicts entire generations of interconnected, yet increasingly alone, youths of any gender and sexual orientation, who seem to have lost that fighting spirit of their old uncles or grannies. Got accustomed to have everything fast and immediate, free to enjoy the great social achievements by previous generations, they end up to act for their own rights just when they remember to do so, sometimes taking this fight as moment of pure fun and entertainment.
50 years is not such a long time and despite the several steps forward we made, the path is still long. If those dark decades of 50s and 60s have gone – when, according to the law, considered as real criminals, American gays were forced to leave their families becoming homeless or to live their sexuality secretly, hanging out in unsafe places and persecuted by police – being gay still remains today, in over than 70 countries, a crime, even a capital crime.
And the course hasn’t been lacking of obstacles. Almost ten years later from the first Pride Parade, in 1978, in US some tried to obstruct the route for freedom and equal rights: the Conservative State Legislator John Briggs sponsored vainly the California Proposition 6, a ballot initiative put to a referendum to bun gays and lesbians from working in California’s public schools. Making so much ado he lost also thanks to the great opposition leaded by Harvey Milk, one of the first openly gay American politicians.
Even more tragic were the 80s, when Aids bomb blew up killing hundreds of thousands people of people. On the other hand, little by little, LGBT community escaped from their rejected situation until obtaining in 2003, in the USA , that same-sex relations turned to be legal nationwide and then, ten years later, the civil unions. In Italy we waited three years more, obtaining the civil recognition in 2016.
If in the past political realm was seen as the only way to fight against the bourgeoisie established system, now, that times have changed, several fields actively work, also those judged as the most superficial ones, like the fashion system, support LGBT struggles trying to fill the gap left by a weak public consciousness. Transformations, in fact, must affect all the society aspects. Transgender models, for example, are now increasingly present – just thinking about Lea T., first transgender model to take part in the Givenchy Fall Winter 2010 Campaign by Riccardo Tisci, or about Valentina Sampaio who first appeared on Vogue Paris cover two years ago – and numerous are also those projects promoted by maisons to contribute to the fight for equal rights, Chime for Change by Gucci on the forefront.
However, completely abandoning political formative methods, the biggest risk we could fall into is to take less seriously the very issue of gender equality. Showing our pride and personal being has to be always part of our freedom, but among the sparkle and the fun of the parade we need to remember that we are marching over all those 50-year-old conquests born from harsh battles, blood, resilience and willpower. The right attitude is to understand that a dream, an aim, could be achieved working on it every day of the year, and not only during one month. So the next Saturday our due is to conquer fiercely and amusingly Milan streets with rainbow flags in our hands, also with that good old social activism that, hidden and quiet in our hearts, asks only to be freed again!