We can only try to imagine what it’s like wearing a fake wig for hours under the scorching sun of the Sicilian summer. Yet the African heat and the inevitable sweat did not prevent drag queens, gays, lesbians and their heterosexual supporters to give life to the “world’s most beautiful gay pride”, as described by some demonstrators.
Official estimates speak of forty thousand people in the streets for the final grand parade which closed the week of gay pride in Palermo. A flood of colours, music and entertainment swept the historical centre of the city. There is no certainty it is really the world’s most beautiful gay pride but actually, who has seen Pride Parades in cities like Amsterdam or London cannot help but be struck by the vitality and creativity of the Palermo parade.
As for three years now, the procession was led not only by homosexual, bisexual and transgender people but also by many heterosexual students, casual workers and unemployed, many private citizens. Besides the distinguished presence of the Mayor Leoluca Orlando, some absence has not gone unnoticed: starting from Alessandro Cecchi Paone who didn’t show up and Vladimir Luxuria, godmother of Palermo Pride last year, who did not intervene because engaged in the parade in Rome, scheduled for the same day. MEP Rosario Crocetta, instead, did not miss the meeting Saturday and posed for pictures with the most eccentric participants.
The presence of mayor Orlando during the whole week of celebrations for the Gay Pride is an important signal for the GLBT movement. What is certain is that no mayor had ever taken part in a pride parade in Palermo before. Even though it is only the third year for the Sicilian event, it is hard to imagine the former mayor Diego Cammarata (who belongs to Berlusconi’s party) following such procession.
The demonstration started after five pm from the Foro Italico, then headed to piazza Verdi, in front of the Teatro Massimo. June is the month in which gay pride parades are traditionally held, but it is also a traditional period for weddings (traditional ones, of course). A pair of newlyweds did not lose the opportunity to be photographed with the heterogeneous group of demonstrators. Unlike the couple whose marriage in 2011 had been “blessed” by Vladimir Luxuria out of the church of Santa Maria della Catena, the new couple did not express surprise this time but rather joined the colorful parade, aware of the exceptional opportunity that had arisen for their wedding photo album.
It is not important to determine which is the world’s most beautiful Pride Parade, one thing that can be of importance, perhaps, is to understand where it is significant that the parade takes place. And, considered the homophobic comments and controversy that intensify at every eve of Gay Pride, the Sicilian one is indeed “the finest in the world.”