How a bloodied gay activist turned hate into pride
Italian gay activist Guido Allegrezza was beaten in Rome two weeks ago. Now he's gone online with the pictures of his recovery
Broken ribs, broken nose and a bloodied and scratched eye. Plus, a lot of fear. That’s what has happened to Guido Allegrezza, 47, a Roman gay activist, just for being what he is.
‘I was walking in a park where gay men meet, at night. They were four, they attacked me and started to kick me. I tried to react but I could not defend myself,’ Allegrezza told Gay Star News.
Allegrezza started his activism in 1994, in Rome. Now, he is in charge of the Coordinamento Arcobaleno, a group which is trying to encourage the main Roman LGBT associations to work together.
From left-wing Arcigay to Arcilesbica, from Di’ Gay Project to Gay Center and Azione Trans, to the right-wing GayLib. Most of Roman associations, now, operate together, thanks to Allegrezza.
The ‘night of fear’, between 13 and 14 June this year, was not an obstacle to him: ‘At the hospital I thought that I should have published the pictures of me in pain. And so I did, almost immediately.’
Facebook is Allegrezza’s main outlet: ‘But I received at least 2,000 messages, via e-mail, text and letters, of people showing solidarity with me. I’m well known in Italy, because of my activism. And politicians sent me messages as well.’
Allegrezza works for Telecom Italia, a phone, Internet and media company which is part of Parks, an association of LGBT-friendly companies founded by gay activist and politician Ivan Scalfarotto.
‘The CEO, diversity manager and HR manager of my company called me to say hello and that they were worried about me. I’m on sick leave until the end of July. But I’m so proud to work for a company like that.’
Pride, in fact, is the word that best describes Allegrezza: ‘I’m proud of being gay and I’m proud to show the pictures of my beaten face. I do it for the youngsters and for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
‘What has happened to me could happen to everybody. We have to keep an eye at our safety, our lives and our minds.
‘I’m not depressed now, thanks also to those who have said something for me, but I know that it could be very hard for a victim of gay hate.’
What has happened gave him also the strenght to go further.
‘Because of my job, I was thinking to leave my activism. I didn’t have the time and the energies,’ he explained.
‘Now, after “the fact”, I know that I have to carry on fighting for LGBT rights. It’s my duty and I know that I can not lose the chance to exploit this moment of fame.’
Allegrezza is publishing every day on Facebook the pictures of his face, to show his friends the progress of his recovery.
‘Openness and transparency are everything to me. I want the people to know how I feel and how I am. It’s part of my activism and this is what I have to do.’
Now, for this Roman activist, it’s time for a second coming out, that of pride, self consciousness and that of his attempt to stop gay hate in Italy.
And from Allegrezza, there are no words of anger or hate for his attackers: ‘It was an homophobic assault for sure – so I thought during the attack and so the police has said to me.
‘That’s why we have to be aware that this could happen to everyone, always and in every place.’
And Italian gay haters now have to be aware that for evey broken rib, for every broken nose, there’s a Guido Allegrezza.