Life in Berlusconistan — Episode 12,651: Parade Route Denied to Roma Pride 2009 Organizers


Every year, just like clockwork, this sort of stuff happens in Russia, with plenty of water cannons, riot police, and arrests for people who attempt to demonstrate peacefully anyway.

But not in Italy, right? Because Italy is a democracy. Or, at least, that’s what it says on their web page.

Why, in 2009, isn’t Rome’s mayor ashamed of himself? Why isn’t the police department hanging its head in embarrassment? I dunno the answers, but I do know one thing: If this is how Italy intends to treat its gay people, it doesn’t deserve to have any (pace, beloved Oscar).

Here’s a letter from the organizers of Roma Pride 2009 about the city of Rome’s refusal to grant permission for the annual march to take place this year.


June 2, 2009

Dear Friends,

Each passing day brings this year’s annual Roma Pride celebration nearer. With only ten days to go before the scheduled June 13th date, however, the issue of the parade route remains unresolved.

As many of you already know, on June 2nd, police officials in Rome’s Questura denied permission to the organizers of Roma Pride 2009—for the third time—to use the parade route. they had proposed. The motivations for the latest refusal, which have become increasingly pretextual and absurd with each denial, have forced the Rome Pride 2009 committee to consider legal recourse to the Lazio Regional Administrative Court and to the President of the Republic, Giorgio Napolitano.

In addition to the customary issues of LGBT rights and discrimination in Italy, we now face this serious infringement of our basic liberties as citizens. Rome Pride 2009—a significant demonstration for civil rights and for the visibility of an entire community—is under threat thanks to the arbitrary and unilateral decision-making processes of the city of Rome and its officials.

This year, just as last year, city authorities have not simply caved in to the dictates of the Vatican in denying Rome Pride 2009 access to Piazza San Giovanni, outside the Basilica of St. John Lateran, as a post-parade gathering point. They have gone so far as to successfully oppose the parade itself, denying the celebration’s organizers permission to follow the parade route used in 2008 (which leads from Piazza della Repubblica to Piazza Navona).

These actions set a dangerous precedent for all citizens and for all future demonstrations, marches, and rallies. It is an alarming attack on the principle of separation of church and state and on our freedom of association. As such, it represents a threat not solely to Italians who are lesbian, gay, bi, or trans but to all the country’s citizens.

For all of these reasons, we ask that you do everything you can to show your solidarity with Roma Pride 2009.

You can indicate your personal support or that of your group or association by sending an email to (please copy me personally at

Additionally, please spread the word by forwarding this message to your friends and families, colleagues, LGBT groups, activists, rights organizations, politicians, and parade organizers in other parts of the world.

If you are a journalist, or if you blog or publish a newsletter or periodical either in print or online, please pass this news on to all of your readers and contacts. The diffusion of information about the obstacles placed in the path of Roma Pride 2009 is our main weapon against the shroud of media silence that has fallen over this situation.

With gratitude for your support and help,

Andrea Maccarrone


Posted on 4 June 2009, in Italy, Italian, Italians (in that order), You Can Always Count on a Little Homophobia and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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