The Italianist: LGBTQIA+ – Mantenere la complessità, by A. Caruso

Antonia Caruso is one of those experts: a writer with an incredible range, and an activist on feminisms, queer identities and media. Her booklet, LGBTQIA+ – Mantenere la complessità (LGBTQIA+ – Keep it complex) is perhaps the best example of both Caruso’s irreverent but knowledgeable style, and the mission statement of the BookBlock series: ‘a tool to interpret reality […] and to imagine and undertake different approaches from what is considered canon’ and ‘to give space to those voices which explore, with contemporary reflections, key concepts of our time’.  Her booklet is an introduction and a discussion around the topic of LGBTQIA+ (The Acronym) identities in Italy, yes, but also an invitation and practical example of how to ‘maintain the complexity’ of that heterogeneous community – an exercise in approaching a topic to exemplify instead of simplify.

This text should be an introduction to what lies behind the acronym LGBT (basic edition), but also behind the acronym LGBTQIAP+ (extended edition). The acronym, of which there is one and there are many, depending on how lazy or exemplary the person using it might be, conceals an entire universe, a micro-verse so vast that getting lost in it is likely.

Gaining a sense of scale is crucial, especially if we are trying to claim a rebalancing of that scale, a critical lens through which to study a dominant system.

LGBTQIA+ is an acronym that some people would prefer to be prescriptive, binding, detailed in its categorising behaviours and identities. There are some people who do see it this way, though it is mostly descriptive. Also because this is what it looks like now, but tomorrow, in a year, ten years, a century from now, who knows?

Getting lost then is good, even though the scope of this series is to avoid getting lost, and my invitation is for you to get lost regardless; a way, perhaps, to also justify my sense of loss when it comes to writing.

Read the full piece at European Literature Network!

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