The Florence branch of ArciGay, the leading Italian non-profit organization for the LGBTQI+ community, opens its new headquarters at Circolo Arci Novoli (via di Novoli 9) on June 4. With the first Florentine branch having closed around 2010, the launch marks an anticipated return of the support service and anti-discrimination group. ArciGay Firenze Altre Sponde was founded in November 2020 as 20 activists and volunteers dedicated themselves to providing resources and advocacy when they were crucially needed, and which they continue to be today. Upon opening, the group immediately offered mental health support and they are now actively engaged in high school projects, seeking to end discrimination and to foster a greater spirit of inclusion: the organization’s top priority. Partnerships with Croce Rossa Firenze and other voluntary organizations such as Nosotras further extend the support network.
Mauro Scopelliti, president of ArciGay Firenze Altre Sponde, explains. “In such a difficult moment for everyone, the community has reacted by supporting itself and getting organized. This is an act of rebirth and new momentum given the current demand. Altre Sponde (Other Shores) is not just a play on words, but a new vision of inclusiveness, where everyone can feel at home.”
Services operated by the group include listening, counselling and support for those seeking a space to discuss sexual orientation, gender identity or discrimination, with professionally trained staff on hand. Health services and free legal advice are also available. Plans for the association include a series of listening points throughout Florence and an anti-violence center.
Culture carries the anti-discrimination action further and the new centre is set to feature events, courses, book launches and shows on a regular basis, as well as training and sport. Every Friday, an aperitivo will be held in the garden with a lively artistic programme that will include live music, drag and ballroom dancers.
Keen to underline the ongoing need for services of this kind, Mauro Scopelliti said, “It’s important for us to be here, even if Florence and Tuscany have always been ahead in terms of the level of services for the community. However, we cannot take steps backwards. We need to insist and be present locally in an inclusive way, carrying forward the battle against discrimination.”
Pride Month this June will conclude with the unveiling of a mural focused on inclusion and diversity planned for Quartiere 5, in collaboration with the Comune di Firenze.
The new centre will be inaugurated at 6pm on June 4 at Circolo Arci Novoli, via di Novoli 9r.