In the Italian language, the word arci means highest of the high, and lesbica means lesbian.

And according to the women of Arcilesbica, theirs is a well-named group as they are now proudly taking their place among Italian-Australian culture.

Parents in older Italian generations have been very influenced by the Catholic Church and, when it came to the issues of different sexuality, it was really too hard to grasp for many people, Arcilesbica’s Lonia Catalona said.

With Catholic priests still saying lesbians and gays are going to burn in hell, it does not help when trying to deal with your more traditional families.

Of the women in our group, I would say about 70 percent encounter difficulties with dealing with traditional issues among their families.

Arcilesbica was set up five years ago in Melbourne for all women of Italian origin who identify as GLBTIQ. The group now has a membership of about 50.

A Sydney Arcilesbica group was created in December and has already had two meetings. The new group will join with the Melbourne women in creating an entry for this year’s Mardi Gras parade, and are calling on other Italian-Australian friends to join them.

It’s a carnivale theme, with all of us dressed in red, white and green capes, followed by people riding Vespa scooters and in Bambino cars, Catalona said.

To have a presence and show we are out there is important. I know I used to think I was the only one out there, and so it’s important now to encourage other people to come out and join us.

For more details about Arcilesbica Australia, email [email protected] or contact Carla on 0403 752 221.

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