Articles

Pennyroyal tea

In Life, Society on April 8, 2007 by Pino

Last time I spoke to Rolando, Babele bookshop’s manager, was in January when I shameless flirted with him (look at his picture in this post and you’ll understand why): because he doesn’t drink coffee I wanted him to come with me for a tea and we ended drinking one at the bookshop.
That nice and friendly place, in Milan’s city center, was marked in the night between Thursday and Friday with fascist symbols and homophobic slogans, one of them in German language gay raus (=gays get out, although Germans would rather write Schwule raus).
Some more days ago a 16 yo boy killed himself because his schoolmates perceived him as homosexual and mistreated him.
This happened in Italy, my fatherland, a EU co-founder.
Oh, homophobia was always part of typical Italian do-it-but-don’t-say-it culture: it has always been a taboo, even the 1938’s racist laws didn’t mention the homosexuals, they barely existed.
But in the last time the glbt-problem raised exponentially: since the Italian government proclaimed its version of civil unions (DICO) there’s a huge campaign against homosexuals supported by the right-wing coalition, part of the left-wing government itself and (last but not least) the Vatican.

Look but don’t touch. Touch, but don’t taste. Taste, don’t swallow.

A week ago, for instance, Angelo Bagnasco (president of the Italian Episcopal Conference) stated that this law was the first step into legalizing bigamy, pedophilia or whatever and has to be stopped. Pierferdinando Casini (leader of UDC party, former president of Italian lower house of parliament, possible successor to Berlusconi as leader of the right-wing coalition, catholic fundamentalist, father of children from two different women) agreed with Bangasco.
These are, unfortunately, only examples, but I’m not surprised: Italy is simply getting worse and worse.
I could really understand the young boy who killed himself: I was also perceived as homosexual at the school just because I had the best notes. My classmates were actually right, I am and I was gay (since I was 6, as far as I remember) but this is not the point: gay, should not be an offense.
But I also know that the first homophobic people are gays: the ones who feel ashamed of themselves. This is why I always avoided to hide my homosexuality with different degrees of maturity: I first came out only with my best friends, then with all the people in my environment and now I simply don’t need coming outs anymore, when I appreciate a man on the street people understand I’m gay. This is the way it should be. But this is quite impossible in a country where I cannot air a tv commercial because it contains the word gay.
Anyway, I’m glad that people like Bagnasco or Casini said what they said: this is what they think, it could be not politically correct but it’s the truth. Stop with I respect homosexuals, stop with I have a lot of gay friends, stop with they have just to make it at home: the first guy I told I was homosexual (a physics student alas) replied I was not right as well as killers or pedophiles.
Sons of a bitch, be ballsy, say it out loud and go to hell!

I don’t care about you
Fuck you!
I don’t care about you

5 Responses to “Pennyroyal tea”

  1. Fortunately I missed Mons. Bagnasco’s delirium, err wise comment. Signs of a dark ages? or probably we never went out of them. My teacher of Italian literature and Latin used to say Decadentism is how one should describe nowadays literature, but for her being CL’er that meant quite the opposite of what I would mean … I fear.


    Btw to be completely fair, “Gay Raus” can’t be read as German, but as Milanese since “Raus” is used in Milan quite often to mean “to go out” or simply “to move quickly somewhere else”.

  2. I knew you would have said “Gay raus” could have been also Milanese🙂 But the etymology remains and it was not used there by accident: you cannot compare your father’s “raus” with theirs.

  3. Ah yes, here the Bagnasco’s delirium. Obviously he wasn’t correctly understood… Berlusconi knows very well how it is to be misunderstood…
    Btw, he didn’t speak about bigamy (now I understand why Casini agreed with him), rather about incest.

  4. Ehhhh It stinks. I’m told that in the UK and America, ‘gay’ is used as an insult by schoolchildren, and now it doesn’t just mean ‘homosexual’ but also ‘stupid’. *sigh*

  5. In Italy “frocio”, that can be translated as “fagot”, can be a generic insult as well. But I didn’t know “gay” could mean “stupid” among school children; well at the same time I don’t know anybody with school children in US.

    About “raus”. It was just to point out that I’m using it as well, without any nazi connotation– it’s simply a strong Milanese version for “fuori”, often used like “mouves raus”.

    I understand, though, that in that context the word may have a different meaning. By the way, as usual I’d like to point out the ignorance of whomever wrote that: the swastika is wrong! It should be tilted of 45 degrees and rotating counterclock-wise! Idiocy among idiocy.

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