Manifesto Sorrento Pride 2019

From Stonewall to the Italian small-town

Coming out of the closet, is the slogan used by the LGBT+ community (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual, transgender, intersexual, asexual, queer…) to characterise their communication campaigns: the act of coming out has been adopted as the political action to assert own emancipation and liberation. The Pride has been the major tool to protest and fight against discrimination, similarly to a collective coming out that allowed single individuals not to feel isolated, that allowed them to freely express their own identity and affirm their love, to stand up for their rights, and to rebel against an oppressive and homogenised society.

Fifty years ago, a group including gays, lesbians, and trans, came out of their closets to take the protest to the streets of New York to march against police raids, creating the first sexual liberation movement, which will be remembered from then on as the Stonewall riots.

Twenty five years ago, in Rome, the first Italian Gay Pride was also the official world pride and took place in the same year of the jubilee; in 1996 the Gay Pride was held for the first time in Naples, aka “Jesce sole” (come out sun!), and then again in 2010, when the event was called “Alla luce del sole” (under the sunlight); since 2013 the LGBT+ movement decided to increase the number of locations for the pride event creating the “Onda Pride” (Pride Wave), which was actually initiated in Naples: a network of parades that coloured the streets of many cities, towns, and suburbs, like Bagnoli in 2016. This network generated connections with other associations, minorities, and other categories victim of discrimination, in an international context; last year Pompei hosted the Gay Pride with the slogan “la Madonna di Pompei vuole bene pure ai gay“ (the Virgin Mary loves gays as well) and reached an area very closed to ours, thanks to the growth of the association Pride – Vesuvio Rainbow.

In this framework, following up the foundation of the collective “Buonvento tra le costiere” (Fair winds to the coasts), this year we want to bring the rainbow in Sorrento for the first time: an area that attracts people from all over the world because of the beauty of the scenery and has become one of the most important international touristic destinations. Nonetheless, this territory is still close-minded, particularly regarding themes related to sexuality and diversity in general, limiting individual freedom of LGBT+ people and beyond. Our focus is to fight against any form of discrimination and oppression, misogyny, and sexophobia that is still rooted in the society and that leads to discriminatory, hatred, and even violent acts.

Our rooms to be opened aka our requests

Our main appeals are:

  1. Approval of the law against homo-transphobia;
  2. Subscription to the READY network for all the city councils included in the Sorrento coast;
  3. Recognition of LGBT parenting and actions to be taken like raising awareness events in schools related to gay-bashing;
  4. Improvement of the policy to encourage job placement of LGBT+ individuals, with particular focus to transgender individuals;
  5. Development of policy and good practice for a more sustainable touristic industry, open to LGBT+ tourism, and to other minorities.

In particular, we want to focus our campaign on six key themes (six closets to be opened just like the six colours of our rainbow) because they are relevant to the current social context and/or to the circumstances in our specific area.

For all our demands not specifically included in the below list, we refer to the 2018 Pompei Pride Manifesto, which we aim to represent a natural follow-up, and which you can find at this link:

1) Migrant individuals:
The first closet door to be opened is related to migrants, either who reaches Italian grounds to find own happy place or who leaves it to look for opportunities elsewhere.
Currently, migrants, refugees, asylum seekers are the scapegoat for any type of social and economic issue in this country, and became the target of the Lega Nord political propaganda and other parties.
We are not underestimating the matter of migratory flow management, but as LGBT+ community we cannot pretend we are unaware of all the people dying at sea while trying to get to our coasts, or that are victims of violence and discrimination once in the country. Many of us left this territory of the Sorrento coast to be free of being themselves, therefore we have the responsibility to support who migrates risking own life to look for better opportunities and happiness.

2) Identity and gender roles:
Another door closed is related to gender identity, male and female; in our area the dominant culture is still patriarchal and sexist, which dictates that men are in power and women are submissive. Despite social and cultural progresses, there are still social expectation and social pressure regarding gender stereotypes that affect the evolution of our identity: the woman is still largely considered male’s (father’s, brother’s, or husband’s) property that has to be protected and guided by these male figures. A man is recognised as a male only if he is strong and confident, if can achieve his ambitions and can provide for his family, never showing any fragility.
The episodes of violence reported in the local news are the prove that these issues are urgent and we cannot overlook them; or, for instance, there are no female or LGBT+ mayors in our area, because. In this hierarchical and standardised conception of identity and of gender roles, there is no place for transgender, transsexual, intersexual, queer o non binary individuals, hence we commit to give them full dignity and visibility.

3)Individuals with disabilities and their sexuality:
Another theme we care about is related to the sexual and emotional needs of individuals with disabilities.
In the prevailing culture, disabled are some sort of angelic figure, children to be taken care permanently, that have no sexuality, as this is something only restricted to “normal” adults. Acts of affection and physical sexual needs are somehow feared, not recognised, or even repressed. We would like to raise awareness on this theme, namely, individuals with disabilities (any type, physical, cognitive, sensory, etc.) are men and women with legitimate emotions, feelings, and sexual needs, which have to be accepted and acknowledged without any prejudice or moralising attitude. The associations in the field are trying to shed light on this matter; in particular, they are battling to establish the figure of love giver (i.e. a sexual care giver), a licenced professional (man or woman) to support individuals with disabilities in experiencing and experimenting eroticism and sexuality.

4) Elderly people stereotypes:
Another closet to be opened regards elderly people: they are commonly excluded and isolated, represented as individuals with no life left, static, and deprived of any sexuality.
The popular opinion considers the elderly people quiet and secluded, and any interest in sex is seen as abnormal and even depraved; for this reason, very often, elderly people do not find a new partner when they lose their spouse, especially because of the hostility of their relatives. We think that this stereotypical vision is wrong and has to be changed in order to improve the welfare of elderly people.

5)The Bisexual issue:
Nowadays homosexuality is somehow accepted and visible, but there is a category that does not receive any social recognition: bisexual people. Bisexual individuals (and pansexual) are often subject to discriminatory behaviours from homosexuals and heterosexuals, and this make them less prone to express their true identity because of the fear of not being welcome in the community. Biphobia is a specific type of discrimination and it is different from homophobia as it is not based on the object of sexual interest but on the stereotypes connected to the bisexuality, i.e. promiscuity, infidelity, inhibited homosexuality, etc.

6) Sustainability and inclusive tourism:
Our aim is to promote a wider concept of sustainability that includes environmental, social, and economic sustainability. In particular, the Sorrento coast is characterised by internationally renowned natural areas, which are impossible to protect and preserve if there is no effort to integrate all the aspects of sustainability and to value natural habitat as well as agroecosystems. One of the greatest threats for our territory is constituted by human activities and local development policy that do not take into account the conservation themes related to our beautiful landscape and our distinctive agroecosystems key for food and wine tourism. We want to support long term sustainable local development plans in order to ensure not only environmental conservation, but also social equity and economic growth. 

We will try, with our initiatives, to encourage sustainable and inclusive tourism policy, so that everyone can feel welcome in our beautiful Sorrento coast: we would like to increase the numbers of LGBT+, disabled, and elderly tourists, as well as of people from any minority.

Magnate ‘o limone 

We want to fully open all these closets, which are still shut in our area due to bigotry and priggishness, and initiate a discussion on the themes of free and self-determinate sexuality. We want to be a refreshing breeze in order to get rid of homotransphobic, sexist, machist, xenophobic, and fascist behaviours, and also put an end to ableism, ageism, and any form of discrimination and violence against any type of diversity. We think that is essential to instigate a cultural and social action, deep rooted in our territory, to overcome rigidity, standardisation, and homogenisation characterising the prevalent thought, which is the main obstacle to everyone’s free expression of complexity and identity. Indeed, violence is triggered when complexity is not recognised, and there is an attempt normalise anything seems deviate from the beaten path.
Our aim is therefore to expose the Sorrento coast to a different way of thinking at differences, which have not be frightening anymore, but rather enriching, and also represent an opportunity, a border to cross.
So far, we were subjected to an oppressive society that used to marginalise us, and we were kept silent, renouncing to live a full life, to express our identity, and experience our sexuality.
Times are changing and we are not willing to hide and repress ourselves any longer. The closet is too small and we do not want to live inside it anymore. For this reason, we will march in the streets of Sorrento on the 14th of September in plain sight and with a smile on our faces to proudly tell to anyone keeps discriminating us: MAGNATE ‘O LIMONE! (GO SUCK A LEMON!)

Sostieni Sorrento Pride

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