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Turin: Gay mecca?

Turin: Gay mecca?

Unbeknownst to many, the Olympic city has a strong queer past--and future.

While many Winter Olympics fans are getting lessons in the ornate architecture and centuries-old culture of 2006 host city Turin, most are still unaware of the city's status as a bastion of tolerance for gays and birthplace of the Italian gay pride movement.

Possibly because of Turin's distance from the Vatican, the first national gay rights group originated in this northern Italian city in 1971. Called Fuori--which means "out" in Italian--the group lasted for over 10 years in Turin, a city also known for leftist and union activism.

Turin continues to embrace LGBT causes. After the Olympics conclude, the city will host Turin Pride 2006, a celebration that will include sports competitions and a movie festival. This summer the city will play host to not only a national celebration of gay pride but also a continental conference on gay urban issues. French and Protestant influences are thought to contribute to a gay-friendly atmosphere that helps bring such events to Turin.

City boosters are not trumpeting the upcoming events to Olympics revelers, though.

"The mayor of the city asked the organizer of the gay pride, 'Please don't do anything during the Olympic Games--please, please, wait a few days and stay calm,'" Luca Andreotti, one of the organizers of the gay film event, told the San FranciscoChronicle.

Many say that even if the city is not currently screaming its pride from the rooftops, it's still making important strides in gay rights, especially in a country as stridently religious as Italy.

"I am sure Turin is one of the most gay-tolerant cities in Italy," Enzo Cucco, one of the pride organizers, told the Chronicle. (Advocate.com)

Advocate Magazine - KehlaniAdvocate Magazine - Gus Kenworthy

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