- Italy's "Festival di San Remo," the most important
musical happening in my country which is seen on T.V. by millions of Italians,
became the unlikely platform this year for a powerful ex-gay testimony.
The singer, Giuseppe Povia, winner of the festival in 2006, presented a
song entitled, "Luca Era Gay" (Luca was once gay) -- SEE VIDEO
HERE. The title
of his song, implying that some gays can change to heterosexuality, was
sufficient to destabilize the Italian gay movement. Gay activists threatened
to block the festival, and Europarlimentary member Vittorio Agnoletto asked
for a European resolution to stop Povia from peforming the song. Povia,
himself, received death threats. The gay association "Everyone"
denounced Povia to the Procura of the Republic for alleged "homophobia."
These efforts failing, gay activists then asked the Festival organizers
to "counterbalance" Povia with a song by a gay singer, about
"the perfection of homosexual love." That effort too, failed.
- Finally, on February 17th., Povia sang his song on the
first evening of the Festival. "Luca Era Gay" recounts the transformation
of a man named Luca from the gay lifestyle. Without the help of psychologists
and psychiatrists, he digs deep within himself to understand the sources
of his homosexual attractions. An emotionally disconnected, detached father
and a smothering mother, he says, created confusion about his sexual identity:
"I looked for men who would be my father, I went with men not to betray
my mother." The song also alludes to a superficiality in homosexual
relationships. He says, "between love and deceit, often we betrayed
each other." The song ends with this verse: "This is my story,
only my story. No disease. No healing. Dear dad, I forgive you even if
you didn't come back. Mum, I often think of you, I love you and sometimes
I still bear your reflection, but now I am a father and I am in love with
the only woman I have ever loved." The music, a soft rap with dramatic
tunes, carries a direct and honest text while never judging homosexually
oriented people for their own personal lifestyle choices.
- Before Povia's song was aired, the Italian comedian Roberto
Benigni presented a twenty-minute show in which he condemned Povia, saying
that homosexuality isn't a sin and that gays have been persecuted historically
"because they love someone." He then read an excerpt from Oscar
Wilde's "De Profundis."
- After Povia's song, contrary to all custom, the conductor
gave the microphone to Franco Grillini, former parliamentary member and
former president of ARCIgay, the foremost gay association in Italy. Grillini
said he had received a cellphone message from a friend (although all celphones
were supposed to be turned off during the festival...), who had cried when
he had just heard Benigni reading "De Profundis," because it
brought to mind his partner who had died of AIDS. Grillini concluded by
saying that Povia must learn what gay love is.
- Then, the unforseeable happened: people in the theater
started to hiss at Grillini (in Italy, hissing is like booing)! The crowd's
sympathy was with Povia, not with the gay activist.
- Povia's song went on to the finals and Saturday night,
won second place in the San Remo Festival, while outside the theatre, gay
activists continued to protest against him. Povia himself said: "I
too had a gay phase--it lasted seven months and then I got over it."
- The popularity of "Luca Era Gay" has given
courage and dignity to the ex-homosexual community in Italy, who, until
now, have been thoroughly intimidated by gay activists. The text's real-life
insights regarding the ex-gay experience are undeniable.