[01-005] Mariasilvia Spolato (ENG)

Mariasilvia Spolato was born in 1935 in Padua and died on 31 October 2018 in Bolzano.

In 1971 she founded the Fronte di Liberazione Omosessuale (FLO) [«Homosexual Liberation Front»] and the magazine F.U.O.R.I.! (Fronte Unitario Omosessuale Rivoluzionario Italiano, Italian Revolutionary Homosexual United Front). She was also the author of a book on sexual liberation, «I movimenti omosessuali di liberazione»  [«The homosexual movements of liberation»]. In addition, she was known for signing with her real name, rarity at the time, the slogans: «Lesbiche uniamoci» [«Lesbian united!»], «Donne, impariamo ad amarci tra noi» [«Women, let’s learn to love ourselves»], «Usciamo fuori» [«Come Out!»].

On March 8, 1972, she participated in a feminist rally in which she publicly declared her homosexuality. The photos of the signs, «Liberazione omosessuale» [«Homosexual liberation»], were published by the weekly magazine Panorama. These images and her activism led the Ministry of Education to dismiss her as «unworthy» of teaching. After being left by the woman she loved, she began to live like a homeless woman traveling from one city to another within and outside of national borders.

At the end of the 70s she moved to Bolzano where she continued to live for many years in makeshift accommodation until, at very old age, she was housed in a retirement home.

Three years after her death, the association Centaurus Arcigay South Tyrol appealed for a fundraising to give a worthy tomb to Mariasilvia Spolato, who left an indelible mark on the feminist struggle and the Italian LGBTI+ community. The tomb, built with the money offered by an anonymous donor, contains an epigraph with a quote from Simone Weil:  «Nessuno ha amore più grande di colui che sa rispettare la libertà dell’altro» [«No one has greater love than who knows how to respect the freedom of the other»].