Dancing on the spot

This was taken in Piazza Navona, towards the end of yesterday’s Gay Pride in Rome. I had, as I always have, a very good time indeed. I danced, I sang, I stared, I photographed. My impression was that there were an awful lot of people – at one point, halfway down Via Cavour, the whole street seemed to be packed with people from top to bottom. This was confirmed by the organisers, who estimated half a million (the police say 10-20,000. They would, wouldn’t they?) The rain held off, and so did party-poopers, with the exception of a rather unpleasant man with dirty grey hair who was clearly upset by the whole business and a small group of youths in suits and ties bearing flags with Celtic crosses on them (like the one, coincidentally, worn by Alemanno) who popped up, appropriately on Via dei Fori Imperiali, and threatened to stab us all. Help! The Italian papers, dramatically, report that the nasty little fascists erupted, presumably in the same way a spot erupts on an otherwise unblemished face. The papers today have given an inordinate amount of space to this trivial hormonal problem, accompanying their articles with the usual display of transsexuals in full ceremonial uniform. Yes, I love them too, and I love the muscle boys and the disco bunnies and the bears, and the world would be a sadder place without them. BUT. I – who have never knowingly worn drag, and no longer have pecs to die for and dance in the privacy of parties and am, just, too slim to be a fully-furred bear, was also there, and so were many thousands of others who were practically indistinguishable from everyone else who wasn’t on the march. You know the kind of people I mean: old and young, fat and thin, plain and hot, bright and dim, tall and short, make and female, dog-lovers and dog-haters, right and left. I know this kind of truth goes against the journalistic grain, but it would be refreshing to see newspapers show the sheer variety of the event. It looks as though, once again, it’s up to me. So if you’d like to see all the photos I took yesterday, of the ordinary and extraordinary people who took part in Pride, click here. (Flickr has decided to rearrange the order, so you’ll be starting at the end and working back…)

PS The title of this post actually refers to a video I’ve been unable to upload, but I’ve left it anyway. If nothing else, it reflects the fact that we are still dancing, without any specific advance or sign of it.

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2 Responses to Dancing on the spot

  1. Kay Sexton says:

    Lovely. It’s almost impossible to imagine from Brighton where Pride is THE big thing (forget the Brighton Festival, that’s just ART dahling, Pride is LIFE) that such narrow-minded bigotry exists. Not that we don’t have narrow-minded bigots here, but they aren’t allowed to institutionalise their bigotry.Hurrah for Rome’s new route!

  2. The odd thing is that living in Italy as a gay man is actually very easy and hassle-free, until you want to do something official about it. I have never had the slightest problem about living with my partner in a smallish town south of Rome without a single bookshop, hardly a recipe for enlightenment and sexual cool. Even gay bashing in Italy is rare enough to make the papers. The problem is, as you say, less bigotry than its institutionalisation. In that sense, I see dark days ahead.

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