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Sicily’s New Gay Governor Promises Not to Have Sex

Sicily’s New Gay Governor Promises Not to Have Sex

Rosario Crocetta, who has survived three mafia plots to assassinate him, is the first gay governor of Sicily which has “traditionally been Italy’s most homophobic region.” But gay rights activists are doubtful that he will champion causes such as marriage equality. Described as a “devoted Catholic” who headed back to his hometown of Gela for prayers after winning the election, he has so far steered clear of advocating for gay rights.

Crocetta has been quoted as saying that he would refrain from sex should he win the election, thereby reinforcing the “the idea that being gay and having sex is unacceptable,” as Paola Bonesu, a political communication consultant and co-founder of Pane & Politica tells the Guardian. “If I win, I will marry Sicily and Sicilian people,” Crocetta has said.

Crocetta’s victory marks the advance of the center-left in Italy, with the right-wing People of Freedom party of former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi in retreat. He is the first left-wing governor of Sicily since 1947 and is backed by a coalition of Italy’s center-left Democratic Party and the centrist Union of Christian and Centre Democrats party. Berlusconi’s candidate was in second place, followed by one from the Five Star Movement of comedian Beppe Grillo.

Crocetta Known For Fighting the Mafia

As the mayor of Gela, Crocetta has been mostly known for taking a stance against the mafia, convincing local businesses not to pay them protection money. He even attributes his coming out as the reason for his gaining “a sense of liberation that allowed him to understand how suffocated Sicily had become under the mafia’s yoke,” says the Guardian.

Crocetta’s sexuality has been a frequently noted topic that has been wielded against him. On a wire tapped call, mafia boss who hired a Lithuanian assassin to kill Crocetta in 2003 referred to him as a “queer communist.” Crocetta himself has said that more than few members for the mafia are themselves gay: “The idea that the mafia is all church, home and shotguns makes me laugh,” he has said. Antonio Ingroia, a magistrate in the city of Palermo, supports Crocetta’s assertion, noting that homosexuality “remains a taboo since they are scared of being ejected from the mob.”

Will Crocetta Support Gay Rights?

But Chiara Albanese points out that he has shown no sign of wishing to change Italy’s “unique status” as the only Western country that does not recognize any sort of same-sex union; in this, Crocetta is certainly aligned with the Catholic Church’s anti-gay marriage stance.

Contradicting Crocetta’s claims that Italy’s south is more tolerant about homosexuality because in the south “There is a great respect for the individual, making it less homophobic than the north,”  Albanese cites statistics from Istat, Italy’s national institute of statistics:

In 2011, only 16% of a population sample based in southern Italy defined homosexual relationships as acceptable, against a national average of 27%, 38% in central regions and 30% in northern Italy.

Young gay people who come out in southern Italy are more likely to be the victim of acts of aggression (more directed at men than women) or of discrimination in the workplace and are more likely to take their own lives.

In addition, the Union of Christian and Centre Democrats has close ties to the Catholic Church and is therefore likely to squash any gay rights initiatives in the region. Under Italian laws governors also lack numerous powers, Albanese notes.

Crocetta was elected to be Gela’s mayor in 2003 and has since simply not emphasized his sexual orientation in public. In contrast, Italy’s only other openly gay governor, Nichi Vendola, who has led the southern region of Apulia since 2005, has publicly said he wishes to marry his partner and adopt children with him.

Nonetheless, as Albanese writes, Crocetta’s victory would have seemed “unbelievable” but a few weeks ago. As The Economist asks, are Crocetta’s victory and also the support for the Five Stars Movement (on which Grillo reportedly spent only just €25,000 or $32,000) a sign that Italians, plagued by a recession-stalled economy, rising unemployment and continued reports of government corruption, are pushing for real change in economic policies and in Italian society?

 

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84 comments

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6:18AM PST on Dec 30, 2012

SICILY ELECTED A GAY MAN???? I'm amazed! I'm italian, lesbian and I moved to the states 30 years ago...I was positive that italy, one of the most homophobic countries in the world, would never accept homosexuality...here I find out that they ELECTED a gay man. WOW...that he promised NOT TO HAVE SEX is just another strike against italy, though...still...

10:00AM PST on Nov 20, 2012

The catholic church have had female aswell as gay popes, but these days they seem to have forgotten all about its long past history and concentrate only to opress women and LGBT.

8:00AM PST on Nov 15, 2012

Baby steps, baby steps. He's very brave to fight the Mafia. He's even braver to admit his sexuality in Sicily. I hope one day he's brave enough to embrace all that it means.

10:58PM PST on Nov 7, 2012

Okey dokey then. I'm glad he's anti mafia.

4:20PM PST on Nov 7, 2012

Funny.

3:59PM PST on Nov 7, 2012

I dont get it...I thought he was gay?...Why isnt he supporting anything? This makes no sense...

6:17PM PST on Nov 6, 2012

Good for him!

12:19PM PST on Nov 6, 2012

Who cares if he's gay and has sex.

10:15AM PST on Nov 6, 2012

continued,
Crocetta is the new Gay Governor of Sicily. He chooses not to concentrate on Gay issues. Mainly because he's fighting the Mafia. I think he DOES have his priorities straight!
[By the way, in case you missed that, the Mafia and the Right Wing are connected.]

Also he can't AVOID Gay issues. He's been attacked for being Gay. The OTHER Gay Governor in Italy, has been attacked for being Gay. There's lots of that going around.
It is remarkable, that Crocetta, a Gay man, won with the help of a Catholic party, the Union of Christian Democrats. {Hard for Americans to understand, as by our Constitution we can't HAVE openly "religious" parties.}
Probably as a "wink, wink, nudge nudge" to his supporters in the Catholic party, Crocetta said JOKINGLY, that he "wouldn't have sex" while in office. IT WAS *NOT* A "CAMPAIGN PROMISE". It was a JOKE! It was like, I know I'm not supposed to have Gay sex, but vote for me ANYWAY. Something like that. A FUNNY. A Ha-Ha! A Quip!
I wouldn't worry about the man's sex life. It will probably go on just as usual. I doubt that even for a moment, Crocetta REALLY contemplated "saying goodbye to sex". It was just a little side thing to PLACATE his followers in the Catholic party. The thing you're "supposed" to say. That said, Crocetta knows and all the Catholics in Italy know, his sex life will go on and in private and as his own business. {Not public like Berlusconi's!} It was just a little bone thrown to the Catholic church...
Fighting t

9:49AM PST on Nov 6, 2012

continued,
So I think all the comments about Rosario Crocetta, the new Gay Governor of Sicily who's fighting the Mafia, along the lines of "He's in the closet", "He's damaging the cause", "He's doing more harm than good", are MISPLACED.
But for this, I put the BLAME, squarely on CARE2'S MIS-LEADING TITLE OF THE ARTICLE.
The title that it SHOULD have been given, would be something like the heading in the Seattle Gay News:
"GAY MEN LEAD THE CHARGE AGAINST ITALY'S RIGHT WING".
There is ANOTHER Gay Governor in Italy, also - Nichi Vendola. Vendola seems to be more outspoken on Gay issues than Crocetta. Well big deal. Politics are politics everywhere. Crocetta needed the help of a Catholic Party to win. This would also help explain his "joking" remarks.
But, as long as Crocetta CLEARLY DID NOT MAKE A SOLEMN, PUBLIC OATH TO THE CATHOLIC CHURCH - as it is clear he did NOT -
I am sure he will go on having sex as often as he wants {or has time for!}; and no-one is going to be looking to "catch" him at it! Italians, even Italian Catholics, are pretty lenient about those things! After all, right near the Vatican are nightclubs catering to Gay Priests... {so says Seattle Gay News, also the Italian newspapers...}.
Yes, in Italy it takes REAL GUTS to fight the Mafia... so I think these 2 Gay Governors deserve the RIGHT to be called CIVIL RIGHTS HEROES... that's what *I* call them!

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Kristina Chew Kristina Chew teaches and writes about ancient Greek and Latin and is Online Advocacy and Marketing... more
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