June is Pride Month in Florence, so we take a look at what’s on and who’s doing what to further the LGBT+ cause and celebration.
Toscana Pride 2022
This year, the annual parade that brings our fight for equality across the region lands in Livorno on June 18. Bring your most gorgeous make-up, your lightest clothes and lots of pride! All the official information is available at www.toscanapride.eu or @toscanapride on Instagram.
Arcigay Firenze: a place we can call home
After almost ten years of absence, Arcigay Firenze made its return in 2020, bringing together the pieces of a community that felt the need to find a safe place to call home. The leading Italian non-profit organization for the LGBTQI+ community, Arcigay provides resources, advocacy and support across the boot.
“Florence’s queer community has always been very present and vocal, but after all we have been through in early 2020, a lot of us felt like something was off: we were missing a place we could call home, where everyone could be accepted and respected for who they are,” Mauro Scoppeliti, president of Arcigay Firenze Altre Sponde, explains. “We started as a small group of ‘dreamers’ and we’re now a full team of activists and volunteers working with associations, companies and schools to spread queer visions and values.”
Mauro has a long-time history of queer activism and has noticed a pivotal change in approaching LGBTQIA+ issues in recent years, especially among the younger generations.
“It’s definitely different. Young kids know almost everything. They know what’s behind that ‘+’ on the acronym: they’re informed. And if they’re not, they don’t come from a place of judgment. Instead, they’re curious because they want to really get what is going on. Of course, Italy isn’t wonderland and discrimination against queer people is still loud and clear, even in a relatively ‘open’ city like Florence. That’s where we come in. We bring our voice to make people realize there’s nothing wrong with looking at other shores, hence the ‘Altre Sponde’ subtitle! The cultural and recreational program is extensive: HIV and STDs testing days are held monthly, while Gruppo Giovani and Spazio Trans listening groups provide an opportunity to seek assistance from trained professionals. ArciGaymerz is a Sunday gathering for board games enthusiasts and, finally, The Shade is the clubbing event on everyone’s lips, bringing queer talent from all over Italy and Europe to Florence. After a sold-out winter season, it is preparing to return for a new, bigger and queerer series of summer dates.”
Ava Hangar: The Shade at Limonaia di Villa Strozzi
After the infamous experience at Drag Race Italy’s first ever season, Ava Hangar moved to Florence to continue her career as a drag superstar, being the resident diva of The Shade, Arcigay Firenze’s popular monthly queer-inclusive party. We had a “digital lunch” (a.k.a. a Facetime call while we were both on lunch break) to talk about Florence, queer rights and toxic masculinity.
The Shade returns on June 4 as part of the A Look To The Future Ball event at Limonaia di Villa Strozzi and also on June 25 with an eleganza-extravaganza filled show as part of the first Queer Week: seven days of events from June 22-26 at Lumen Firenze.
You recently moved to Florence. How do you find the city and its local queer community?
I have definitely felt the warmth of this fantastic town and its people, and The Shade is the perfect example. I became part of a community that was very strong, but missing a safe, welcoming space to embrace and express each type of talent. This is something very common in other major Italian cities, so creating something like this is fundamental nowadays.
You are the resident diva of The Shade, the queer event everyone is talking about. Tell us more about the project.
We came up with the idea of a “perfect evening” fantasy after we noticed that the queer night scene was all about clubbing and dancing without giving enough space to culture and performative arts. Our event is a sort of a queer marathon: we start around 8pm with an aperitivo and a talk hosting authors and creatives who are promoting their projects, then we hold a long, packed show with drag queens, lip synchers, fantastic actors and performers. It’s almost three hours of pure magic. Last but not least, there’s the DJ set with special guests from all over the boot. Our first year has been a huge success and we are already planning the next season. In the meantime, The Shade is returning this month with two events on June 4 and 25, bringing Florence’s pride wave to a whole new queer-tanstic level!
You did a fantastic monologue about queer representation and toxic masculinity at one of the latest The Shade events. Do you think there’s a chance for our country to overcome prejudices and discriminations?
Oh, we have a lot to do. We need to speak up and spread awareness, so that people may finally understand that certain gender or queer biases they grew up with are simply wrong.
Do you have any sources to suggest?
Anything at Libreria Alice. It has a fantastic queer section. I also suggest reading Queer: A Graphic History by Dr Meg-John Barker, which explains crucial arguments with simple words and illustrations.
DDL Zan: what’s going on?
It was October 27 last year when the Zan bill was blocked by the Italian Senate after a long period of fierce debate. Thunderous applause by right-wing party representatives followed the vote, which was explained as “joy for having blocked the gay agenda”.
Now, after more than six months, the Zan bill (named after its principal proponent and left-wing politician, Alessandro Zan) has been submitted a second time in its original version and will again undergo all the procedural steps before its possible approbation.
In the meantime, the Rainbow Europe Map has ranked Italy 33rd out of 49 European countries in terms of legal and policy practices for queer LGBTQIA+ people.
LGBT+ events this June
Here’s an overview of LGBT+ events in Florence and Tuscany this month.
Queer dating in Florence
On June 7 at 6pm, SOTTO al British focuses on the history of queer in Florence with Marisa Garreffa in conversation with Nina Peci, the founder of Arcigay Lesbica and publisher of underground lesbian bimonthly, Quir, as well as concentrating on the trans experience with artist Kali Swaid, while Vincenzo D’Angelo will share all about the gay Florence scene as a local at the front of queer visibility.
The Shade returns on June 4 as part of the ‘A Look To The Future Ball’ event at Limonaia di Villa Strozzi and also on June 25 with an elegance-extravaganza filled show as part of the first Queer Week: seven days of events from June 22 to 26 at Lumen Firenze (via del Guarlone 25).
Official Pride in Tuscany
This year, the annual parade that brings our fight for equality across the region lands in Livorno on June 18. Bring your most gorgeous make-up, your lightest clothes and lots of pride! All the official information is available at www.toscanapride.eu.
Vogue for Pride
On June 29, at 6.30pm, The Student Hotel, in partnership with Arcigay Firenze, presents Vogue for Pride. Expect a DJ set with ballroom scene performances. Free entrance at The Student Hotel (viale Spartaco Lavagnini 70-72).
Arcigay Firenze Altre Sponde Florentine Queer Week
From June 21 to 26, six days of free admission cultural events, talks, shows and music take place at Lumen in via del Guarlone 25. The first edition of Queer Week sees a Drag Show, cinema, a round table, board games, disco party, open mic and more, with Vincenzo D’angelo and Kali Swaid presenting The Florentine at 6pm on June 25 (in English).