I’m gonna rant for a solid two paragraphs before I get to the gist of this blog post about my man Francis so if you’re not into it, SKIP AHEAD. And while you’re skipping ahead, do me a favor and add me on Instagram because it makes me feel like I have friends. Also, I had no idea what cover image to use for a blog post about Pope Francesco so here’s a picture of Kiwi living her best life at the beach in her H&M sunglasses.
I’m supposedly a content editor. This normally means that I create new content and use the creative part of my brain. But lately, I’ve had to edit a lot of English texts written by Italians. In fact, it’s basically all I’ve been doing for the past MONTH. And you know what? I want to rip my fragile eyeballs out and throw them at all of the cute Italian kids who didn’t LISTEN in elementary school English class. From what I’ve heard, they definitely all know “the pen is on the table.” But now, they’re adults and you know who has to clean up their English mess as a full-time job? ME. I DO. ME, AND I’M OVER IT OKAY. AM I BEING DRAMATIC ABOUT IT? YES, ABSOLUTELY. IT’S NOT THAT BAD. (I’m also not talking about TYPOS, I know I make a lot of typos in these blog posts, but this is my personal space to be broken and human and make mistakes so GET OFF MY BACK). Lady Gaga & Ariana Grande said it best: “I’d rather be drunk but at least I’m alive” – Rain on Me
Sometimes, while I’m editing painfully written English, I dream of the jobs I could’ve chosen that would hurt my soul a little less. But the only thing that comes to mind is the best job I ever had: SUBWAY. Yes baby, I was a Sandwich Artist when I was 17 and to this day, I still think it was one of the best. I had creative freedom to choose the music playlists I wanted (don’t know if this was legal as far as the subway image was concerned but it was 13 years ago, things were different then). If I wanted to meditate, I could head to the back and chop vegetables alone. Or perhaps refill the chips. If I wanted to socialize, I could go to the front and make beautiful sandwiches that were aesthetically pleasing. I had regular customers who would say to me “LISA, MAKE ME SOMETHING DELICIOUS, I TRUST YOU.” I always mixed light mayo and chipotle southwest sauce. I had creative freedom. I had good music. I had a free 6-inch sandwich every 3 hours. I had soft and chewy broken cookies at the end of the night. I had a green Subway polo and Subway snapback that someone stole from me one night at the gym. I had blonde hair. I had it all, baby. Now all I have are nightmares about forgetting edits, scary emails and natural flat hair. Ah, to be a young and blonde sandwich artist again.
Now that I’ve shared my Subway nostalgia with you and complained about my first world problems, I want to talk about what’s actually been on my mind all day: POPE FRANCIS LOVIN’ THE GAYS!!!
In a documentary film interview, my man Francesco appeared in the Rome film festival and said: “Homosexual people have a right to be in a family. They are children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out or be made miserable over it. What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered. I stood up for that.”
This is the best news I’ve read all year.
Now you may be asking yourself, why do you even care what Pope Francis thinks about the gays? Well, for one, I’m the grandchild of Italian immigrants. Southern Italian immigrants. Southern Italian Catholics who made sure I was baptized, had communion (where I had to reveal MY BIGGEST SINS TO THE PRIEST AT 8 YEARS OLD, but that’s a story for another time) and confirmation (where I wore a POWDER BLUE PANT SUIT at 11 years old — again, a story for another time). There was church and Palm Sunday and no meat on Christmas and handmade wooden frames of Jesus in my grandmother’s home. It was all very Catholic. My sweet paternal Québecoise grandmother was also a practicing Catholic. And so I kind of feel like God is WATCHING me even though I haven’t gone to church or practiced Christianity in years.
Gay marriage and gay people just wasn’t something I knew about. I didn’t even really know being gay was a thing until I was thirteen and at a sleepaway camp, a girl I WASN’T EVEN LOOKING AT YELLED “STOP STARING AT ME, WHAT ARE YOU, A LESBIAN?” And the first thing I thought was WHAT THE HELL IS A LESBIAN. And the next thing was, IF I WAS A LESBIAN, YOU DEFINITELY WOULDN’T BE MY FIRST CHOICE. OR SEVENTH. But that’s not the point.
The point is, if you watched The OC like most millennials did in high school, Alex Kelly played by Olivia Wilde was BISEXUAL and dated both Seth Cohen and Marissa Cooper in 2004 and it changed everything I thought I knew about the world of relationships.
And then I moved to Florence and one of my best friends EMMA was a baby gay and all of a sudden, love was love and feelings were for feeling and I was 21 and dancing to Lady Gaga at 4am in the tiny wild clubs of study abroad wonderland and could not understand HOW people could be against two people loving each other. I would love to insert a picture of us at the club here, but none are decent enough to share.
And then I eventually figured out that if I had to choose between Ryan Gosling and Ariana Grande, I probably wouldn’t know who to pick. And that’s all I have to say about that.
But this is a really big day for LGBTQ+ kids. And it’s a really big day for Italy. And hopefully it’ll get the ball rolling on other things that aren’t okay in this country like same-sex adoption and the whole surrogacy being illegal thing.
I know a lot of us expats post beautiful pictures on our Instagram grids about how much we lOoOoOoove Italy and we would probably lick the dirty cobblestone in our flowery dresses and espadrilles and ROLL AROUND NAKED IN FRESH GNOCCHI if Covid wasn’t heavily floating around the country, but the truth is, Italy has a lot of work to do. A LOT. And maybe if you’re married or in a hetero relationship or don’t have a lot of queer Italian friends, maybe you haven’t heard of all this. But it’s not easy to start a family here if you’re in a same-sex relationship. And surrogacy is illegal so if that’s something you’re considering, you have to do it in another country. But I want to end this on a positive note so let’s CELEBRATE THIS BABY STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION!
Thank you Pope Francis for showing Italy that the LGBTQ+ kids are alright.