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Rome LGBTQ2S+ Pride parade celebrates 30th anniversary, makes fun of Pope Francis comments

People gather to take part in the Pride parade in Turin, Italy, Saturday, June 15, 2024. (Matteo Secci/Lapresse via AP) People gather to take part in the Pride parade in Turin, Italy, Saturday, June 15, 2024. (Matteo Secci/Lapresse via AP)
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ROME -

The Rome LGBTQ2S+ Pride parade celebrated its 30th anniversary Saturday as tens of thousands of people in brightly coloured outfits marched through the Italian capital waving banners, dancing and singing as they marked gay rights and poked fun at Pope Francis.

Many of the signs and banners at the parade made fun over a recent comment made by the pontiff.

The Pope had to issue an apology last month after Italian media quoted unnamed bishops saying that Francis jokingly used the term "faggotness" while speaking in Italian during a meeting. He had used the term in reaffirming the Vatican's ban on allowing gay men to enter seminaries and be ordained priests.

Francis reportedly repeated the word a second time in a meeting with Rome priests this week.

"Attention, from here on high levels of faggotry," read a sign on a large motorcycle driven by a woman in a rainbow-colored hat at the front of the parade.

A man dressed up as Pope Francis held a sign reading "there is too much faggotry in this parade."

The leader of Italy's main opposition party, Elly Schlein, danced on a float at the centre of the parade. She is a strong supporter of LGBTQ2S+ rights, with views differing sharply from Italian Premier Giorgia Meloni.

Meloni's Brother of Italy party program states it is against marriage equality, gay parents adopting children, and surrogate pregnancies. Last year, her far-right government limited recognition of parental rights to the biological parent only in families with same-sex parents.

A woman held up a sign reading, "I don't like Meloni, but I like melons and red hair."

Another sign made fun of Gen. Roberto Vannacci, a newly elected member of Parliament for the European Party with the right-wing League party. Vannacci was fired by Italy's defence minister after writing a book deemed offensive to women, gays and Blacks.

"If according to Vannacci the LGBTQIA+ is a minority ... he has never met the seminarians of Pope Francis."

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