Finalmente, the most wonderful time of the year is upon us: Gay Pride Month. For this blogpost, I’ll give you the rundown on what I’ve been up to & where and who to follow for more LGBTQIA+ events if you’re ever in the Eternal(ly Fabulous) City.
Pride in Roma 2022
To my absolutely joy, I got the chance to attend incredible events held by both the state-backed and more conventionally popular Roma Pride and by San Lorenzo Pride during Pride Week, which began on June 2nd and ran until June 10th, with the largest event of the Pride Parade taking place on Saturday June 11th.
Roma Pride had a line-up of events to die for: political panels, workshops, drag performances, talks with artists, authors, activists and performers, stand-up comedy, theatrical performances, talk-shows and competitions. Roma Pride really has it all.
Being a busy bee, I sadly did not get to attend every event, however there was one I knew I absolutely could not miss: Waackengaged e Voguengaged, hosted by VogueXchange.
Hosted by Roma Pride in the Gardens of the Baths of Trajan in the centre of Rome, this event brought together troupes of talented performers to compete. The history of Waacking and Vogue dancing is integral to the modern gay cultural scene and this event paid homage to its predecessors by hosting the competition as a freestyle one-on-one dance battle. It was truly jaw dropping. The musicality, originality of movement and personality that was brought by each performer had the entire audience mesmerised.
I’ve left you a couple of photos and videos that do NOT do justice to how the energy in that room felt. Incredible. I left feeling energised and also HUMBLED to the floor, motivated to learn how to dance with more fluidity and connection.
On June 8th, I made my merry way to San Lorenzo, to Degender Communia, for a San Lorenzo Pride event: Kinky Girls performance and after-talk. Kinky Girls are an all-queer women collective who create open spaces for creativity, exploration and dialogue around sex, kinks and BDSM. They host events all around Italy which invite cis, trans and queer women exclusively to participate and to build community together.
I was unsure, if I am honest, about how I would feel in this space. Despite my free-living and open minded nature, I am an Irish Catholic girl – born and raised. A part of me felt quite nervous about my presence in this space, especially going alone. However, I needn’t have worried. Everyone was incredibly welcoming and there was a gentle buzz as the audience took their seats and settled in for the performance.
It was incredibly moving. Two separate couples took to the stage: one couple demonstrating silently sensuality play and communication between partners; the other demonstrating rope play and the intimacy and gentleness that can be involved. It was really not what I was expecting. I truly felt moved by watching the performance. What stood out to me most was how much warmth and connection could be felt, even as a member of the audience.
After the performance, The Kinky Girls group took to the front of the stage and spoke about their mission. The whole event was, of course, in Italian, and I felt particularly pleased that I could understand a solid 90% of what was said. Touching upon what I had experienced as an audience member, they described how they wanted to create a space where Kink was taken away from the taint of the porn industry and the male-gaze, creating instead a space of softness, communication, care and mutual respect throughout the kink engagement for all involved parties. What resulted is a more intimate, connected experience, one that they felt it was important to promote, rallying against ideas that kink must always be shameful and degrading.
They discussed their place in the San Lorenzo pride, noting that for many people, and even for the performers themselves, to be forcibly outed as a ‘kinkster’ often has sinister social and personal repercussions. One recalls how she was alienated within her workplace once knowledge of her performances became known to her colleagues, a social exclusion process that shares similarities to that of the Queer community in being forcibly ‘outed’. They also remarked on the alternative nature of San Lorenzo Pride, an organisation which seeks to voice diverse experiences of Queerness, not only what has become commercially marketable to Queer and straight audiences alike.
After a few remarks from the audience, most of which were to thank the Kinky Girls for all that they had done in creating a wider, supportive, more open community within Italy, the show wrapped up with a music and drinks reception. I, however, took my leave to continue working away on work portfolios. A VERY different kind of energy lol.
And then there was, last but not least, Roma Pride Parade on Saturday June 11th. Admittedly, I didn’t get too much involved as I had family come to visit me that weekend and decided to give them my full attention. However, we jumped onto the Parade as it came through Via Sacra from the Colosseo to Piazza Venezia for the final stretch.
To see such a huge crowd of people partying, singing and dancing with each other was soul-lifting. I don’t know how anybody can hate on Pride Parades. It’s literally a contagious energy of happiness, excitement and hopefulness. What is there not to like? There were huge party trucks carrying Italian and Roman celebrities, influencers, Queer activists and public figures, while all around them people were dancing and singing along to the loudspeaker pop tunes. Honestly, just delightful to watch.
So that’s all the adventuring I’ve managed to get in to my Pride Week in Rome. However, I plan to keep engaging and discovering more Queer and/or alternative spaces and organisations throughout this month and beyond, so keep an eye on my list below for The Ones to Watch!
And di nuovo, I am SORRY for my radio silence. Life here in Rome has been busy with exams, work, and saying goodbye to treasured friends. Honestly, the saying goodbye has really knocked the emotional wind out of me and getting back down to writing this week has only happened by the sheer boredom of catching Covid-19 AGAIN. However, I’ve had this post raring to go for a solid week now and finally have the time to sit down and finish it off.
Ciara Aoife O’Síoráin (che desidera diventare una bella donna figa come gli italiani)