Translations:Gender-variant identities worldwide/76/en

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In Italy, the femminielli are people who were assigned male at birth, and who begin to express femininity in mannerisms and clothing preferences from early childhood.[1] They continue to do so into old age. However, they do not hide that they were assigned male at birth.[1] The locals have always been accepting of the femminielli, and see them as good luck.[1][2] Neapolitans invite a femminiello to come with them when they gamble in order to improve their luck,[1] and mothers ask feminielli to bless their new-born babies.[2] There is a Neapolitan proverb: "If you need good luck, get blessed by a queer priest" (which uses a pejorative word rather than the word femminiello).[2] The femminielli are said to come from all over Europe to Torre del Greco to hold a secret and sacred ceremony once a year, figliata dei femminielli ("marriage of the femminielli"), led by priests from a modern continuation of the Gallae priesthood of the goddess Cybele, which came to Rome from western Asia in antiquity.[2] The figliata has been practiced for centuries, only temporarily suspended during World War II, and then resumed after the war.[2] In the figliata, the femminielli wed one another at sunset in front of a closed church. Nine months later, they simulate giving birth, and then celebrate with a banquet.[3] The remote mountain church at Montevergine is built atop what was once a temple to Cybele. Its icon, the Madonna of Transformation, Mamma Schiavona, "serving mother," is the Catholic syncretization of Cybele. According to legend, in 1256 CE, a mob had beaten a male-male couple, and then Mamma Schiavona miraculously saved the lives of the couple, so they lived happily ever after.[4] Ever since then, she has been seen as a patron of femminielli, who have gone on pilgrimage to that church for the procession of Candlemas, February 2, called juta dei femminielli. It is celebrated with the long and energetic tammurriata dance, and a candle-lit procession, by pilgrims who are visibly gender nonconforming. The celebrants chant, "Non c'è uomo che non sia femmina e non c'è femmina che non sia uomo" ("There is no man who is not female and there is no female who is not man.")[3] In 2002, a priest at Montevergine threw out a group of pilgrims who were LGBT, because he was offended by their tambourine and castanet playing.[4] (At festivals, femminielli use musical instruments such as bells and tambourines, which also came from the worship of Cybele.[2]) In response, hundreds of pilgrims who were LGBT activists and allies came to Montevergine two weeks later, and established the festival of Candlemas as also being Femminiello Pride.[4]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Femminiello Portland
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named NaplesLDM
  3. 3.0 3.1 Giuseppe Melillo. "Una storia antica: Napoli, i femminielli e la figliata." Huffington Post (magazine). January 24, 2018. Retrieved July 28, 2020.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named RoadsAndKingdoms