Oh, But To Be A Queer In Sicily


0. 2/20/2012 – Here/Queer Call for Submissions, by Riese
1. 3/02/2012 – Queer Girl City Guide: Montreal, Canada, by Sid
2. 3/05/2012 – Playlist: Here/Queer, by Riese
3. 3/05/2012 – Queer Girl City Guide: Portland, Oregon, by Lesbians in PDX
4. 3/07/2012 – Queer Girl City Guide: Brighton, United Kingdom, by Sarah Magdalena
5. 3/07/2012 – Oh But To Be A Queer in Sicily, by Jenn

The night before my girlfriend’s birthday, we are sitting in a smoky, dingy bar in Vienna having the same argument we go through at least once a month. A Laurel and Hardy slapstick is being projected on the rococo ceiling, the walls are covered in film posters; candles give the place a nostalgic atmosphere. I am on my fourth pint of Pilsner. Across the room on another table are three lesbians, smoking roll-ups and talking in loud German. I like Vienna, I say. I like how open it is. I like the fact I can be around people I feel I recognize without even understanding their language.

It does not go down well. In other words you could only live in London, Vienna or any other big city. Somewhere with lesbians, she says. I am offended. I am also booze-fueled. Her words make me feel narrow. And so we argue, before walking back to our hotel mostly in silence.

The argument does not come from nowhere. It has roots. I am English and my girlfriend is Sicilian. She has been in London for fifteen years; we have lived here together for three of those years. I like tube rides and crowds and concrete and cheap dark pubs. I don’t mind grey skies. And yes, I like the fact I can walk around Soho or the East End and see other LGBTs. I like ricocheting around a dance floor to Le Tigre with lots of queers, or at least having the option to do so. My girlfriend likes wilderness and quiet and sunshine and the ocean. She likes good food and travelling and simplicity. She likes drinking rum on the rocks by the water before plunging in naked for a night swim.

Moving out of London is something we’ve talked about endlessly; as her family is there, Sicily feels like a logical step. And when I show my obvious elation about spotting other queers in a foreign city, when I drunkenly ramble on about my gayness, we argue because there is something in it that seems to suggest our incompatibility. You see, Sicily is not such an easy place to be openly gay. Or at least not outrageously gay. In the shadow of the Vatican and Catholicism and with some pretty traditional views, it’s not that Sicilians are hateful towards gays. They’re just not used to our existence, at least not in mainstream society. As my girlfriend once said: gay in Sicily is like science-fiction.

The thing is: I love Sicily. I LOVE it. And I love my girlfriend. I want to live with her in her environment; I want to be on her turf. So what stops me? I can blame it on a fear of flying (sweaty palms, uncontrollable shakes; the lot). I can blame the language barrier. Or I can blame the fact that when I’m there I’m never 100% myself because I feel I can’t be openly gay. My many visits have spawned no obvious group of queers that I can suck the life from for strength (like in that movie Hocus Pocus where Bette Midler the witch tries to suck up eternal youth). Then the questions come. Is that my own unnecessary hang-up? Am I really that tribal? Is being around other queers really so important? Is being gay really so important? Shit, am I shallow? Although I have been open about my sexuality for much longer than her, my girlfriend is older, wiser and much smarter than me. And when she says I should feel comfortable in my skin without the gay crutch, without needing Twat Boutique or the option of some other steamy lesbo club, maybe she has a point.

The first time I went to Sicily my girlfriend wasn’t entirely out. I was the ‘English friend.’ We got out the car to find nineteen people waving from the balconies of her apartment block. It was terrifying. I practically quaked. It was a real hero’s welcome. Then came a thousand kisses and hugs and a lot of foreign talk in a volume my own small family probably could never match if we were shouting into a cave with an echo. In the midst of this madness we were herded into the kitchen for a massive Italian spread; pasta, parmigiana, arancini, fist-sized olives. My girlfriend’s family is all women. Lots of them. They filled the small kitchen and fought for a position underneath the ceiling fan. They talked and laughed and argued and ate. They made fun of each other. It was a bit like heaven and I fell in love with the situation immediately. The only male in the house was an insanely cute four-year old called Gaetano who came into the room in a pair of high-heels. They were laughing at him because he kept getting the words for party and funeral mixed up. And it was really fine being the English friend.

Then there was the swimming. Every morning after coffee we drove to the rocks and dived into the Mediterranean. I got attention; years without direct sunlight had rendered me pale and ribby, a regular urban vampire. I was like mozzarella. The local people told me I would attract octopus with my whiteness, which turned me into a cautious swimmer. I got male interest because kissing my girlfriend as discouragement wasn’t really an option. But when the water is turquoise and the sun is out and the coastline is spectacular, politics don’t seem necessary.

Evenings we sat out in the humid air, in an old fishing village by the water. There were lots of cocktails. We sat like two friends among straight couples and didn’t give anything away. It felt secret and sexy. And we hung out with her loud, large family who I pretty much am in love with. If it sounds idyllic, that’s because it was.

I’ve been back many times since. I lived as a friend in the family home for three months and felt more like a fixture than a visitor. I’ve seen a lot of Greek temples and watched Etna erupt. And I’ve come to understand things a bit more. I know Sicily is an island ruled by men; it’s a mafia run place. I understand how religious the people are, how superstitious they are. It’s not fanatical or extreme; it’s just the way it is, the way it’s always been. I know it’s difficult to find a job in Sicily, that unemployment is high. I know that Sicilians are the most welcoming and friendly people EVER. I know you need to wait at least three hours after eating before it’s fine to swim again (otherwise you’ll get ‘blocked’). Tradition is very important. And as my girlfriend said: any homophobia she has experienced in Sicily exists not because people think gay is wrong, only because they think it’s different.

All this is fine. If we do move to Sicily, these are things that can be overcome. But the question is, what about a LGBT community? Is it necessary to be part of one to feel awesome? It’s not exactly a life/death situation, but as someone who has spent years living a comfortable out-life in a huge and diverse city it’s definitely something that plays on the mind.

I’ve heard stories about gay people on my visits. People gossip in the mayhem of a kitchen but never take it out into the open. My girlfriend has never lived as an openly gay woman in Sicily, but she knows/hears about those who do. And people are cautious. Those who are out are sometimes thought of as insidious. Maybe this is not so in the larger cities, but in a town by the sea this seems to be the way things go. There have been scandals beginning with flirtation and ending in divorce. Of course, this happens within the straight community too. But when a gay person is involved, it’s not a question of infidelity but a matter of agenda. There are a couple of lesbians who live on the fringes of my girlfriend’s town who have a reputation for seducing straight girls. They are not thought of well. How much of this reputation is based on misconception or homophobia? Maybe it’s more that trying to be who you are among a predominantly straight society – one that is not as familiar with LGBT issues as the US or UK – can be a pretty lonely job. My girlfriend says there is a sadness in the out people she knows. Which brings me back to my point; is it important to be part of a community as an LGBT? Perhaps being comfortable in your skin only gets you so far.

After a while being the English friend wasn’t enough for me, although it was my own doing. My girlfriend (and most of the people who knew about our relationship) encouraged me to be open about my own sexuality from the beginning. But for some reason I felt I had to lay low; I worried people would talk about her behind her back. And if her mother (whom I love a huge amount) was to hear something second-hand, it would not have been cool at all. Also I’m neurotic.

At the same time I wanted to be the lover. I wanted to match up to the cousin’s boyfriends who got the best place at the table and the biggest plates of food. I wanted the whole thing. Plus, it became difficult to keep my hands to myself. My girlfriend was constantly in tiny shorts. Her skin went back to its natural olive color. The heat and the rocks and the sun were sexy, and she looks really good in the water.

All these things were tough. But they were harder for her. Recently she came out to her mother. It could have been worse and it’s getting better. One of the amazing things about Sicily is that the family bonds are so strong. She would never have been ostracized or shipped back to London, but that fact doesn’t make it easier on anyone. Her sister (who taught herself English with the lyrics of Elvis Presley – I love this!) now calls me her sister-in-law, although it was really hard for her to understand at first. With things a bit more out in the open, people are truly interested to know more. And thanks to a lack of words on my part this meant an evening sitting under the air-con watching Milk with a six-pack of Birra Moretti. With all these incredible people, and the sun and the food and the water, I should really just move there tomorrow, right? I have no doubt that if I did I would be ultimately and eventually accepted, no holds barred. But would I be able to find my own way – without my girlfriend and as a queer foreigner – within a strong LGBT community? Perhaps solidarity isn’t everything, but it certainly makes things simpler at times.

What I’ve written here is based only on the experiences I’ve had. I’m certainly no expert on queer life in Sicily. If anyone knows more or is in fact a queer in Sicily I would love to know about it! I’m sure there is an incredible community lying somewhere beneath the church bells and the fishermen and the tanned kids who smoke Marlboros on their Vespas. I’m also sure I’m not the first person to face this dilemma. Is moving away from a place you feel gay-comfortable to somewhere less gay-comfortable something you’ve done? How’d that work out?!

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Jenn has written 3 articles for us.


  1. This is beautifully written, and I could actually feel the emotion. Although that’s probably at least partially due to hormone madness.

  2. I moved from a big, queer-friendly, cosmopolitan city to a small southern town in America, and I hated it, hated it, hated it. But the thing is, in places like that, when you do find the other queers–well, they’re my family. I’m in an ostensibly queerer, bigger town now, and I miss that small town more than I ever thought possible.

  3. Nicely depicted all the best Sicilia can offer as a holiday destination. It is an idyllic scene indeed. However, I am afraid that it is all it has to offer, at least at the moment. Nothing less (and nothing more) than the dream holiday for you two -the emigrant who comes back and her foreigner friend-. I am aware of how hard it sounds, but I do not want to lie about that. Honestly, I can hardly imagine how could the life of a lesbian couple in Sicily look like. And it is because of a combination of the factors you mentioned. People are not ready yet to face openly out-gay couples and the GLBT (as spelled in Italian)community is not strong enough to create a safety net you will feel comfortable with. Besides the latter is something that really matter, unless you are ready for now on to restrain your gayness into the boundaries of the established straight paradigm. As far as it seems harsh, it is simply the way people there frame their lives. I mean all aspects of their lives. I want to believe that is going to change within the time span of a generation. But for the moment it is valid the saying “Cu nasce tundo un pò mòriri quatrato” and ask them to accept and deal with open gayness is simply too much. Perhaps a potential alternative might be the Salento area (Puglia). Near Gallipoli, where there are some gay-friendly resort, you might find a more open-minded environment. A second option to escape the crowd of London, can actually be Brighton – smaller, as lively as London and even more friendly to diversity. Not to mention the sea and the wilderness.

    • This is interesting…

      I never really thought too much about the situation in Italy until recently (probably because I just like to assume most people are gay!). I have a few Spanish, French and German friends who say their countries are tolerant for the most part. So I just assumed Italy was the same. Plus, I’ve yet to meet an Italian who is anything less than friendly. I’ve always felt welcome as a visitor.

      Still, last year at London Pride there was a small Italian group marching in the parade. They were holding a sign saying ‘There is another Italy.’ And that was when it struck me. It was quite moving actually. If I hadn’t been in public, I might have teared-up.

      Thanks for the Puglia tip, I’ll look it up for sure…

  4. ” (…) is it important to be part of a community as an LGBT?”
    After asking myself the same question over and over, I got to a conclusion. Personally, I believe it is. I’ve always lived in the same super gay friendly city and I still look for that comforting feeling of not being the only one. The feeling that I get when I’m at the gayest neighborhood of the town and I look around: every one is queer. I think I’d never move away from here, I’d rather stay living out than hiding myself. Because, deep down, I know not being able to do simple things like holding hands in public would make me miserable. Yes, it is selfish, as you said.

    However, it doesn’t really matter how I feel about out it. We are all different people and it’s all about what is more important to you, not to me or anybody else.

    Oh! And you have to take into account that my views are based on my experiences. Given that I’m just a 17 years-old living a privileged life in a city that is a bubble of acceptance in a very catholic country (Brazil), I pretty much know nothing about life.

    (Coincidence or not, today I got myself thinking about acceptance in Italy. It wasn’t out of nowhere though. I was studying history, you know, the church loosing its power and influence around the XV century and basically trying to keep Italy as theirs.)

  5. Really great story.. put into words I couldn’t when explaining to my friend’s why I love sicily but couldn’t live there.

  6. when i got to the part where you said “also, i’m neurotic.” i laughed out loud. and thought we could probably be friends.

    i still question the need to be in a place that is full of queers and queerness. i saw none of it around me in the smallish midwestern american city where i grew up, and now i live in the big city, the one i always dreamed about, and i’m so much more comfortable. but i think it has more to do with me than a queer community. i think. having not left long enough to test the theory.

    this was wonderful, thanks.

  7. “when the water is turquoise and the sun is out and the coastline is spectacular, politics don’t seem necessary”

    And yet when the sun darkens and you need to visit your girlfriend in hospital, start a family, make a will, or jointly own property together – oh how necessary politics will seem. Italy is more than a question of survival without community… it’s a question of survival without being able to out yourself safely, let alone enjoy the kind of legal rights that exist in countries like the UK.

    I am of Italian background. One of the things that struck me when I was there visiting family last year was how dire the situation is for LGBTIQ people. It’s a fate I wouldn’t wish on anyone. I see my cousin, well into his forties, who has had to hide his sexuality pretty much from the entire world – he lives in a region small enough that he can’t be out anywhere that isn’t a ‘safe’ house without it ruining his career and the good reputation of his family. I can’t express the sadness of his resignation to the fact he’ll never have a lifelong partner because it’s not possible in the context of the environment he’s in. Most people I met told me how lucky I was that my family emigrated elsewhere and frankly after what I saw I have to agree with them.

  8. twat boutique! is this a place where you can purchase or dance with…?

    i’m stopping right there.

    also, this piece is gorgeously written. it’s the most romantic, compelling and beautiful foreign film that’s yet to be made.

    so get on it.

  9. Hmm. I’m not quite sure what would be the most helpful thing to tell you. I haven’t lived in Sicily. I spent several years in Rome. I moved there from Northampton, Mass with a shaved head after 4 years of Smith. So, yeah, I think I’ve done the moving from a friendly to kinda hostile environment before. Rome is generally considered to be much more gay-friendly than Sicily, however. I can’t answer the question of whether you should do this — Dizzy and Alis have serious points and I agree with them. But if you do decide to move? I don’t know much about the Sicilian gay cultural associations but I would look into them. I have heard that they are very small but plucky. I belonged to Mario Mieli in Rome. I need to have gay friends I can see and talk to outside of the internet, and so that was essential for me when I was there – but also it’s the only way to know what’s going on legally and politically in the Queer community in a country with such a messed up media.

  10. That was a great story. As for a situation of my own?

    Fairly recently, I moved from a fairly accepting, small, isolated town in Alaska where I had many queer and queer-friendly friends to a smaller but less isolated town in what I suspect is the most conservative part of Oregon. Half the town belongs to a church with the word “conservative” in its freaking name. Homophobia and hatred are rampant. The move back to Alaska has been scheduled and I cannot wait to leave.

    People claim Alaska is conservative, but from my experience, it sometimes seems like everyone is bi, but invisible. There may not be the most support for LGBT people (possibly because towns are more isolated?), but on the other hand, it is really not difficult to find queer people if you know where to look and who to ask. Especially bisexuals. It is just bizarre how many times I’ve met one bi or queer-friendly person, and they tell me about/introduce me to all of their bisexual friends…and maybe one gay friend. But unless someone has pointed out this bisexual underground of sorts, you’d never guess how many bi people there are. Sure, there are haters, but when you know plenty of other people who are going through the same difficulties, it’s not nearly as bad.

    So I’m currently in the conservative part of Oregon. I’m alone; I have lived here a while and know a total of three queer people, none of whom I’m particularly close to. The hatred is worse too, but the school is actually pretty supportive, and suprisingly not as neutral on the issue as you’d expect. However, there’s just not much they can do to stop the hatred, and I’d honestly rather be back in Alaska anyways.

  11. Thanks everyone for the lovely comments – and for sharing your experiences on this.

    Of course, in an ideal situation I’d be rich enough to own a house in London and a place in Sicily and split the year 50/50. Then at least I could get back here for my gay fix. By calculation, I’m probably about 60 years away from this. But we can hope!

    • Maybe you could find a compromise? Like Rome for example: It’s a city – with blue skies – and it’s close to her family and the (beautiful Italian) countryside… Rome might not be as liberal as London, but I’m sure they got some LGBT folks as well ;)

  12. This is beautifully written, and very thought-provoking. I’m actually going to Sicily for a few days this summer and so I sent the FB link to my (straight) friends without reading it first, thinking it was a ‘queer guide’ type article, but we’re now having a very interesting conversation re: importance of community and gay visibility, so thanks for that! Also now I know not to be disappointed by the lack of lesbian bars when we land ;)

    I think one important thing a place having a known LGBT community is that it legitimises one’s own identity as a gay person, both to yourself and to others – which I can imagine is particularly important somewhere like Sicily i.e. small, rural-ish, traditional.

    On the other hand, the lack of a gay community would presumably mean the lack of stereotypes, and so people probably aren’t as primed as they are in the UK (‘m from the UK too) to see you in a certain way. You get to define to those around you what being gay actually means for you. So I guess it works both ways.

  13. First: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vladimir_Luxuria
    Trans politician and politcal figure. She’s well known and I saw her in San Vito lo Capo last year as a MC during a festival there.

    I’ve met gays in Sicily, I’ve been to gay bars in Sicily. I’m from the US (i.e. extremely gay friendly), currently live in northern Italy, my cousins who live in a small town in Sicily all know I’m gay but I haven’t told my aunt and uncle yet mostly because I’m not sure how they’ll react and it just seems more like a pain in the ass than worth something. I know they will still love me and get over any initial qualms.

    If you want to move there, go. Just like in most closed off communities, if there is family support then you have a place there and it will defend you from much of the defaming reputations. It’s not untrue to say concepts of ‘normalcy’ (whatever that is) are very strong there, even if many people don’t actually adhere to them. Women who have kids without being married are also ostracized. Not all sicilians think it’s right and not all sicilians have the same reaction. But it exists. And the only way to change things is to defy them. Give them an example of what lesbians are, live your lives, hang out with your family. Do what you do e chi si ne fregga!

    It might be difficult, but I don’t think you’d actually be in any real harm, many people won’t agree, it will probably be hard for her family to accept you being open in public, but italians respect bold statements. And plenty of people won’t care and will be your friends. It also depends on what city you live in. But if you do head down that way (and we all do) (HA!) shit, I’ll come hang out with you and then we really will be a community.

    • *chi se ne frega
      woops! #protectingmyitalianreputation

      (I had a lot of wine last night and have been up since early)

      • This is a great and really useful comment (and if she reads this my girlfriend will love you for it). So thanks! And I’m a happier person for knowing about Vladimir Luxuria.

        If I ever get down there come hang out for sure. And the spelling issue went over my head. Three years in and I still can’t get words in the right order (or roll my r’s).

        • What a beautiful, well written piece Jenn! It was also very meaningful to me as I come from Malta (just under sicily) and am part Italian…. However despite the fact that Malta is much smaller than Sicily, our situation is much better. (Culturally and politically)

          Italian (family and friends) of mine comment that the more south you go (in Italy) the more invisible the GLBT community is, the more homophobia you find etc… What I would suggest is also finding or contacting an ArciGay/Arcilesbica group (or similar one) in Sicily, I don’t know of any directly, but I know they’re all over Italy, as I have friend who are part of ArciGay in Florence and Bologna.

          http://diversamentetero.it/ I suggest also taking a look at this link : Diversamente Etero – Lesbians, rather than gay men, are practically ignored in all of Italy, so more than homophobia one would find lesbophobia, or rather; complete ignorance: which is more of a symbol of a patriarchal society where all women are assumed to have no ‘sexuality’.

          I’ve also read a book about the plight which ‘gay families’ face in Italy, written by an Italian journalist, which was very interesting. Can’t remember the name though.

          However beware the Mediterranean sea, once it lures you with it’s charms you won’t be able to stay away for too long ;), and if you’re looking for a similar country to sicily, still within the EU, but slightly friendlier I’d suggest Malta (jk!)

  14. Great story… I haven’t move from a gay-friendly place to a less gay-friendly city because basically Venezuela its all the same, really “conservative”, third world country… And it’s hard being gay here, i mean you can go to a club, you can have gay friends but its like a secret society all the time and it’s not as fun as it sounds like… My immediate family know about “my preferences” as they like to put it, they met my girlfriend and when we go to my mom’s house to visit they make us feel welcome but we can’t kiss, or hold hands, because my mom and my sister say they’re not ready and it’s really, really, really annoying, specially since all the straight coulples are all over each other all the time…
    I read, watch movies, series about places like L.A, New York, London, Brighton and i will LOVE to live in a place like that, so open, be myself all the time… But u don’t miss what u never had… Your case is different, you have it! And i think it’d be nearly impossible for you to get used to “the closet”…
    Anyway, good luck!! Maybe you can start a gay revolution there! :-D

  15. I live in the north of Italy.Now I don’t want to sound tragic. I don’t want to sound like a bitch. But seriously Italy is a nice place to go to vacation, but to live here for a foreigner.. We get used to things that doesn’t work in Italy, we accept them, we live here but we dream to escape. Italy is not a country for young people. And it’s not a country for young foreigner people. Because they don’t have to stay here because of their family or their lover. The thing is in Italy gay in the media doesn’t exists and everything seems okay politics can insult gay people without consequences. Damn it we couldn’t even be able to pass a law against homophobia,let alone gay marriage, let alone ANY form of recognizing a gay couple.NOTHING, not even domestic patnership. When you have to find a job you take in account of the nepotism. You take in account that there will always be someone less qualified than you who gets the job because they are son of someone knowing the “right” person. Honey young people in Italy just can’t wait to get the hell out of here, and those who stays they do it just because their family are here. I know it sounds harsh, but I just want people to understand that here just few things work well and no one has the guts to do something to change it and we just go with it because we have to but you have a chance to escape from this mess. Please consider carefully what you’re doing, because it’s not just about being gay in a society who will have problems to accept you, it’s also about working here, it’s also about not being able to build a family with childrens and being safe to have your rights recognized, it’s also about living in a mysoginistic society.

  16. This is very timely for me; I will be moving to Italy in a year or so (and visiting before then) for work and I’m not sure how to handle the whole gay thing. Although I’ll be in Northern Italy, which I’ve heard is more open and in big cities where I could find a community, navigating a queer scene in another language just seems really intimidating right now.

    On the other hand, when I was in Milan last year, I saw two lesbian couples randomly on the streets, both very young, however. Maybe things are looking up?

  17. there are supposedly a bunch of lez locales in Palermo, but in terms of chic queer life you really have to be in a city or have right friends. As a queer grrl who’s Sicilian-American, I’d say that 1) Sicily is still super patriarcal 2) that changes depending on the generation with the 20 somethings being something of a crapshoot and 3) you can be out (supposedly…I’ve been visiting the island on and off since I was 10 and met exactly 1 truly publicly out gay person this past winter) but I’ve only ever heard the “oh, he’s such a nice person even though he’s a homosexual” rhetoric in response.

    I had a gf in Milan, but she was super concerned about holding hands in public and such. There is a lesbian bar Navigli! in addition to a slew of gay clubs.

  18. Talented writer, for sure.
    I think the question here is not whether Sicily is an ideal place for a gay foreigner to live. It clearly is not. The real question is what are you willing and able to do to keep your girlfriend. It’s not a question of compromise. It’s sacrifice. Can you live without the community and freedom you’re accustomed to without resenting her? Can she continue being separated from her family and sunshine without resenting you? No partnership is perfect. You girls will have to figure out how far you can bend without breaking. It’s like two different eras have collided: the old way of tight community ties and the modern way of individual freedom at all cost. How badly do you want a long lasting relationship? Can you find the common threads that make us all (even straight) human so you don’t feel so isolated without GLBT people around? Can you see yourself growing old with her? Sure, you could break up with her and find someone new. But there is no replacing the bond that develops when 2 people have a long history together. A long history of being good to each other. Consider how your bond with her will be strengthened if you prove you are willing to sacrifice for her. It sounds like you two have something special.
    Good luck.

  19. I think your girlfriend doesn’t realize how brave she’s asking you to be. I couldn’t imagine uprooting myself to live with a partner with no safety net except that partner (and /her/ friends, and /her/ family), but I couldn’t imagine doing it in a location that doesn’t even recognize the validity of your connection to her. You’d be completely at her mercy, for friends, to navigate the language and the culture, and for any connection to another queer person. What happens if you break up? What happens if she falls ill and they won’t even let you see her in the hospital? I dunno, maybe I’m a little irritated that she pushes back at you for having your own needs for community and to be yourself.

    • ^I felt exactly this when I read it.

      Ideally each partner would have her own set of support systems. Not just in the event of a break up, but just in the event of maintaining your own separate identities – to stay the person she fell in love with, you can’t lose yourself.

      I don’t think you’ll /have/ to rely entirely on her friends, her teaching you the language/culture, her family, etc…but you’ll feel tempted to, that’s for sure. How outgoing/self-motivated/adaptive/independent are you, really (I don’t mean any of this in a value-judgy way…I certainly wouldn’t be enough of any of these things to pull it off)? Especially when the easy answer will be to lean on her?

      I don’t know how much she is asking you to be brave as she is pushing you into what is possibly an incredibly stupid decision…and whether it’s stupid or not depends less on who and what Italy is made of, and more of what YOU are made of…

  20. We live behind a gated community and within one block there are three lesbian couples, they are accepted, I think catania is more liberal than any other city in Sicily, quite a big gay/lesbian scene.

  21. I do consider all of the concepts you have introduced in your post. They’re really convincing and can definitely work. Nonetheless, the posts are very quick for novices. May you please extend them a little from next time? Thanks for the post.

  22. Hello ladies, I know this is an old post but since I read this thoroughly before heading out to Sicily for the holidays, I wanted to share with you what I had stumbled upon earlier today.

    Arcigay exists in this city!! It’s the largest Italian LGBT organisation, and their building is just opposite Teatro Romano and a stone’s throw from Piazza Duomo. So not at all in a tiny discreet corner but in the very heart of the second-largest city on this island.

    Here is the pic:

    So, some hope at the end of the dark tunnel?

  23. Hi everyone,
    It so strange, I can understand article writer and her girlfriend, as I kinda am/was in both-sides-situation. I lived in a country where basically I needed to be hidden all the time, but one year ago I went to Germany and new world opened to me! Coming out to new friend was no a big deal, they were perfectly fine with queer person around and i like that very much. Soon i found queer couple to get acquainted with and it was amazing too! Still i have a girlfriend who lives on Sicily, we are in a long relationships-in0distance, and we planned to unite somewhere in North Europe, but a couple of month ago my girlfriend told me that she wants to stay on Sicily as she lived there for 10 years, and got used to it. And that means that i need to move there in 2 years (as i am student now). The situation almost cam to the break up, but i love her so muchm that i decided to do whatever i can, despite the fact that I know I will face a lot of troubles there – no friends, no language. Still, i would appreciate if you answer what is situation on Sicily now? I heard they even started accepting partnership and gay marriages will be next move. Hope in 2 years situation will be ever better developed. And I hope to become part of Sicilian LGBT community sooner or later.

  24. Oh please can you write an update on your story on Sicily! I went there in 2016 and am now obsessed with the place… your story is brilliant! I can’t put into words what you managed to convey – beautiful!

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