The Queer Black Italian Experience

 Francesca Zanardo 24, Milan / Conegliano
 Francesca Zanardo 24, Milan / Conegliano
 Francesca Zanardo 24, Milan / Conegliano
 Francesca Zanardo 24, Milan / Conegliano

Francesca Zanardo

24, Milan / Conegliano

She/Her

«I was born in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, where I lived until I was 7, after which I moved to Veneto to live with my two white piblings. When I turned 16, I slowly began wandering outside of my small town, partially because it began to feel too small and also because I wanted to make an effort to find people that looked like me. 

I have always identified myself as a lesbian woman, I don’t think I’ve ever had great difficulties accepting myself in that manner. I’ve never felt wrong in any way. The most difficult part of my journey has been destroying and unlearning the things that society has taught me to perceive as “normal.” Doing this as a black queer woman in Italy is particularly frustrating, because you find yourself existing in a reality that constantly wants to tear you down and invalidate your beliefs and identity. Even in the local LGBTQ+ community, racism, transphobia, femmephobia, internalized homophobia are things that are a part of your daily experience.  

In the past few years however I've been noticing a shift towards awareness as people move towards voicing their concerns on these issues. I wish they were addressed in an intersectional way, it will still take time of course, but I still remain confident and try to find joy in small things. Personally, I remember when my Italian aunt used the term girlfriend instead of friend for the first time when referring to my girlfriend for the first time, which to this day still sparks fireworks inside me when I think of it. The ideal would be for there to be laws that safeguard LGBTQ+ people and much more representation of black and/or queer people in the Italian community, but I also acknowledge my reality as things would have been much more difficult if I had stayed in Tanzania where being gay is illegal. 

However I am very proud to be part of this small community and it really gives me the strength and resilience that leads me to developing being a better black queer person.» -  @fr4nccccc

 

Creative Direction by Jordan Anderson
Photography by Silvia Rosi 
Photo Assistant Gabriele Cialdella
Styling by Thais Montessori Brandao
Hair by Latoya Amsdorf
Makeup by Manuel Montanari 
Set Design by Davide Ladini
Movement Direction by Macia Del Prete
Production by nss factory 

 

 

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