Mario Mieli LGBT+ Club for Gay Culture, RomeValerio Colomasi Battaglia
It is a broad matter, which takes one back to the basic idea of place-city, to its socio-political function, and to the logic of organization of public space now more and more leaning toward the necessities of the consumer-person rather than the citizen-person.
If this process of transformation risks becoming a crisis of the very concept of citizenship in general, it could have even more painful consequences when it concerns minority groups, such as those of the LGBT+ community, who in creating their own places have found an extraordinarily community solution in the absence of spaces in society in general.
The LGTB+ community is by now a recurrent theme, characterized by a uniqueness of considerable relevance compared to other communities subject to oppression and discrimination. Actually, if other social groups aseptically defined as “minorities” are usually characterized by the identity within the family nucleus in relation to the element of difference to the social body (ethnicity, religion, socio-economic status), this evidently doesn’t take place (or takes place in very rare instances) for LGBT+ people. This element, which is obvious, is loaded with social consequences. The absence of this identification within the family nucleus has in fact always undermined the idea of the family group as a refuge from society which, although it would require a further reflection in political and cultural terms, represents however one of the most frequent messages we have been bombarded with since we were children.
If the familiar home is not necessarily the refuge for the LGBT+ persons, we have to build new homes and new multiform “families” to find adequate places for their civil and cultural growth. We are not referring, in this case, to situations where violence or discrimination takes place in a familiar environment. These would need a greater intervention of external protection. We refer instead to the conditions almost all the LGBT+ people have experienced, and continue to experience, of growing up in a political, cultural and often family environment, where it is still difficult to find connections positively contributing to the formation of one’s personal identity. It is not a coincidence, as a matter of fact, that one of the most frequent accusations received by LGBT+ people is that they “hide in a ghetto”. That is, they create autonomous spaces, often with rules and a language of their own, political and cultural spaces, which to an external eye are impenetrable, but in reality are for their very own nature open and crossable, having been created in answer to a request for acceptance.
This kind of accusation comes, more and more often, also from LGBT+ people, who today have had enough of feeling fully part of the society, and do not understand the necessity of a large part of our community to have their own space. Looking closely, this dynamic has to do with privilege, invisible to those who benefit, but inescapable for those who are victims.
Valerio Colomasi Battaglia, 28 years old, president of Mario Mieli Club for Gay Culture, law consultant, born in Siracusa, decided to move to Rome for his university studies. He started to be an LGBT+ activist and, in 2011, founded the LUISS Rainbow LGBT+ association.
Mario Mieli LGBT+ Club for Gay Culture. Even before 1983, the year when it was founded, the founders themselves were already creating political, cultural and social spaces for a community that had no rights to exist in public contexts. This initial aim then became the inspirational principle which in the following decades has taken many different forms: the first steps in the battle against HIV, the start of Muccassassina, the first Gay Pride in 1994 and, since then, all the Pride demonstrations in Rome, the services, which for almost 40 years we have been making available to the community. All these things represent models of how the LGBT+ community in Rome answers to the necessities of spaces and how it has been able to defend them for a long time.