1 month ago
From the archive:
La Nuova Idea. Print by Dafne Boggeri. 2009.
The print was made in protest and to inform of the expropriation and demolition of the historical gay club in October 2009. The fine print reads: “Expropriation of the oldest gay club in Milan is expected on Wednesday, in the name of urban redevelopment in the Garibaldi area. 32 years of history demolished to make room for a road”.
Let’s talk about Pride and the city. The municipality of Sala publically aligns itself with Pride and we also see the use of rainbow colours in the neighbourhood Porta Venezia, we see big companies wishing a happy Pride month to the LGBTQ+ community. However, do the city efforts and urban planning really support LGBTQ+ and other minorities? Just like in the past, these efforts only focus on capital investment, on what makes cities “attractive” - an aestheticized spectacular approach that reduces the city and the Pride experience to consumables and a generator of profit. Anything that falls outside of that clinical approach tends to be neglected and pushed out – either through physical evacuations and policing or through market value by pricing neighbourhoods out of their original users’ reach.
Let’s look at via Padova/via Monza at the moment, it is being rebranded (also as an LGBTQ+ friendly neighbourhood), it has been given a hip new name: NOLO. The Municipal Market is being redone with more boutique style organic food market stalls – catering to gentry with a certain taste. It appropriates the multicultural and open identity to create a marketable image. In the meantime, rents have been going up, spaces are being evacuated; many spaces/apartments are being bought up by banks and big companies. If a city cares for its LGBTQ+ community, it would not only pay attention to what it offers to consume, but perhaps pay attention to those who are often most vulnerable to price hikes. The Via Padova/Monza area is home to many diverse groups who fall within low/precarious income groups– including transgender people who are still widely discriminated against in job markets. So when we speak about Pride in Milan does it really fight for the rights of a dignified living for minority groups and its LGBTQ+ community or is it just a little rainbow washing? Is it a spectacle to attract tourists to Airbnb houses or are there rules to limit Airbnb's and rent hikes? Is there space for occupations, experimentation and self-determination? What is the city doing to protect the cultural heritage created by these communities? If we don’t ask these questions, your cool LGBTQ+ hangout might just be demolished tomorrow to make room for a bank, a road or the next best thing.
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