June Bride

Dolce Metà is going to a wedding today, but I’m staying at home.

The bride is a college buddy of his, and a lot of DM’s friends—virtually none of whom I’ve ever laid eyes on—are going to be there.

Meeting DM’s friends would be an opportunity for me to feel more integrated into his … context, let’s call it. But today I’m staying home.

The problem isn’t that I wasn’t invited. Don’t think that. I was invited—several times, and very sweetly, by DM’s friend who even called twice to make sure I didn’t want to change my mind. “Tell him he can decide, even at the very last minute, if he wants,” she assured DM’s.

Me, though, I’m staying home today.

In the last thirty years, I’ve attended exactly three weddings, two straight and one gay. The gay one was the weirdest.

Really, though, I just don’t do weddings. They’re not my scene, not my thing, not my bag, not my tasse de thé, not my idea of a good time. In short, they seriously bug me. That’s a small part of why, today, I’m staying home.

But not all of it. I haven’t been that many places in the world, to tell the truth, but what I can say about Italy is that I’ve never been anywhere else where heterosexuality was so rigidly enforced or where straight couples were both so blissfully ignorant of the privileges they enjoy and so happy to take full advantage of them.

So I’ll just admit it: I’m envious. I’m envious of the fact that straight couples are everywhere you look, walking hand in hand, smooching, making out, sitting on each other’s laps, pressing up against one another, playing with each other’s hair. Just like they do everywhere. But here: you can sit in the piazza all day long and you won’t see any same-sex couples doing any of those things. Not one, not in the biggest cities in Italy.

If they did, not much would happen. I kiss DM in public and I take his arm, more-or-less when I feel like it. No one has ever said anything. (People stare at you, but no one says anything.) I suppose there are fag bashers in Italy, but really: why would they need them?

Fag bashers only serve a social purpose when people feel that heterosexual privilege is being seriously challenged. Here, there’s no challenge, so there’s not much reason for anyone to get all violent. Anyway, when you’ve got the Pope doing all your fagbashing for you every time someone shoves a microphone in his wizened little face, why bother to get your hands dirty?

Anyway, more than envious, I’m just pissed off: I’m pissed off that we’re assailed, every single day – Every. Single. Day. – in this country by idiots who harangue the Italian public from their television pulpits with the assertion that the family needs protecting, that the only meaningful cultural unit is the heterosexual couple with children. Actually, it’s worse than that: they’re not idiots. They’re calculating, Machiavellian bastards who’ve got a fantastic public-relations strategy and have the media eating out of their hands. They’re winning the culture war in Italy.

Yeah, I know: In America we’re bedeviled by the Religious Right and our own rabid, home-grown “family protectors” (most of whom are people you really wish wouldn’t breed). The difference is that there’s a response in America, there’s a counter-current, there’s a recognition that bigots are bigots. In Italy, what there is, is silence and invisibility, there’s “reasonable” disagreement, there’s “respect” for the Church.

Speaking of which: the wedding that DM is attending will take place, naturally, in a Catholic church. In other words, the couple intends to have their “union” sanctioned by the institution that cannot stop telling Italians that my relationship with DM is sinful and, more importantly, that any social or legal protection of it is a clear and present menace to society and “the family.”

pacs

DM doesn’t understand why I won’t go to the wedding. For him, friendship trumps politics. And I don’t understand why he won’t stay home. If friendship is so important, why is his gal-pal asking him to attend a wedding mass in a Catholic church: a ceremony he isn’t entitled to, in an institution that considers him—that considers us—evil, disordered, and dangerous?

If our straight friends genuinely cared about the situation we’re in, they’d quit getting married. For our part, in the meantime, we have to stop letting them get away with acting like white South Africans who were “against” apartheid but still ate in whites-only restaurants and shopped in whites-only stores. We have to stop collaborating with the enemy.

As a political issue, frankly, marriage rights have never struck me as all that exciting. In fact, I remain pretty ambivalent about clinging to marriage as the last surviving plank in the disintegrated raft of a queer-rights movement in the United States.

But I’m sick of being lied about. I’m sick of the silence—on the part of Italian queers and their messed-up, disorganized, 1950s-style, self-hating, apologetic, internecine, spineless, conciliatory political organizing; on the part of “liberal” and “left” politicians who have turned into turncoats and cowards on the issue of queer rights; and on the part of straight people who claim to be so fag-and-dyke-loving and so “I’d like to teach the world to sing” liberal and so kumbayah free of prejudice that they’ll even go so far as to invite a friend’s male partner to their weddings.

It’s not a principle if it doesn’t cost you anything.

And that’s why, today, I’m staying home.

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Posted on 2 June 2007, in Italy, Italian, Italians (in that order), You Can Always Count on a Little Homophobia. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. >What could I say. I’d say you’re right. But maybe M’s friend just wanted to meet you, not because you’re a gay nor “even if” you’re a gay. I don’t know, but I hope so. Maybe they are catholics the church is their territory despite the intolerant, stupid words of the pope, and just wanted to get married in a church because they believe in God no matter what Ratzinkhaiser says. I think all of this debate about Pacs in Italy isn’t in fact only about gay people. I believe the church is afraid of “new forms of family” (because these families won’t generate catholic children), and I believe the Church is secretly afraid, most of all, about the “straight majority” getting married without asking their consensus. I believe our left parties they also are using the gays to propose something they cannot freely say is intended for everyone, the “straight majority” included and especially. No one is playing fairly about pacs and it makes me so angry to see the family and the religion and moral values getting involved in something that is just a normal law in a (so-called) free State. And I subscribe each and every word of your description of Italy. Hey, American and foreign friends, an Italian tells you, Wendell is right. And it’s maybe worse than what you could even imagine. We’re stupids and biggots and our culture is full of shit today. We spend our time asking ourselves who is the killer of the child in Cogne and don’t give a shit about true and important and vital things. Our news always start with ten minutes of politics’ opinions about facts they haven’t even started to explain. Our Sunday news in the first public channel always talks about what the Pope said in the Sunday mass. Shit. I’m a believer, but that is complete madness.Then…Wen, I know nothing’s more hateful than blind peacemakers in the days we’re pissed off, but you cannot deny that not all catholics think the same as the Pope, and that not all christians are catholics, and that Jesus Christ, in fact, wasn’t a catholic nor even a christian. When I was a little boy I was sent to the church each and every sunday morning, and I was so pissed off except I loved the Gospel part. I was always curious, and astonished, by the simplicity of Jesus’ words. I heard words against biggots in a church full of bored biggot women in furs, who listened and didn’t understand a fuckin’ shit about the story of this man. A man who didn’t follow the rules and the rites, but just the logic of the true humanity, a man who was a natural friend to the Last, and who said no friggin’ word of charity in his whole life, but who just spoke of logic and natural love and respect between people. One who hated the Pharisaics who repeated blindly the stupid rites without understanding their sense. I mean, a man who was the perfect opposite to Mr. Ratzinkhaiser and all his accolite of black and red crowes. If you ask me, I don’t really know if Christ really existed. Maybe he didn’t. Probably there’s no god above. No, deep inside of me, I’m not a believer. Too many things have happened in my life and I don’t want to believe in a sadic god. 🙂 But even if a mad one day woke up and wrote down the Gospel, well, I’d be glad to define myself a christian anyway, maybe an atheist christian, because it’s my culture and it’s a good, peaceful, sane culture, and I just love the words and the good sense of that invented character, words that arrive loud and clear despite of the inexixtence of God, despite any wrong or wronged translation, despite The Roman Friggin Church of Gold. And I feel his words as mine, as a part of myself, of my culture and… of my communist, liberal, rebel spirit. And I feel it is a great thing I was married in a christian church and to have got baptised my daughter last week by a young, normal, shy priest who is against Ratzinkhaiser, one who meets regularly groups of gay people and speaks clear against what he calls “the hyerarchic church”. One you could easily make your confession with and tell him “hey, man, I’m a gay, I love and live and make sex with my boyfriend, and I don’t feel it as such a thing as a sin”. And he’d agree, and then you could go on talking about the true stuff. Why is he a priest in this muddy church of 2007? Why doesn’t he just sign off? Couldn’t he be a priest of his own, couldn’t he just read the Gospel at home to people who came and find him whenever they wanted? I don’t know. In fact, I just feel he is in the right place, and the true strangers in this territory are the Pharisaics and the Ratzinkhaisers. I cannot speak for you and for your feelings, but I believe you could have risen up and taken your place in your church, instead of staying home today. You could have taken your place in there, and taken M’s hand inside that church as the most normal thing to do because you’re not doing anything Jesus Christ, Founder and Mind Of It All, could ever frown at. You could have said, “well, find me the page in the Gospels where it says I’m not allowed to feel as normal”. You could have appeared in there and spoken to M’s friends and showed them that you exist and are a fantastic person, my friend. You could have felt home, because Christ was probably a gay person. Or just happy. Or almost serene. I mean, a normal person like me and you, unlike Ratzy… We should take place in our church if we want to, and should kick those Pharisaics away, instead of keeping ourselves out and leave these stupids the monopoly of hope and the royalties on the words of a true genius.Excuse me for my bad English. I just hope I have succeeded in expressing my point… Yako

  2. >Hi Wendell… I completely understand your point and your frustration. Let me confess though that I’m a straight woman, that married a straight man in a catholic church. And I regret it, because now THEY think that we are part of their merry happy flock. But we aren’t. We both are atheists, and we succumbed to the pressure of families and traditions, and hell we wanted a nice wedding.The point is that if you and M could marry, that would be a terrible threat to every family of normal righteous people with children. Not sure how could you threat us, but if they are making such a big fuss about it, it must be terrible.*g*Please pray so that we can avoid the Baptism of our little Damiano. Let’s save him.

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