Italy is the only Western European country without any formal marriage recognition for same-sex couples. Because of this, couples such as Italian lesbians Lorenza and Ilenia aren’t allowed to have their marriage legally recognized. For now, the women have decided instead to hire a photographer to document their love story as it stands now, fresh, passionate and — as they describe it — ordinary.
Underneath their exquisite images captured by Serena Cevenini, read Lorenza and Ilenia’s lovely essay about how they feel about each other.
FROM LORENZA + ILENIA
Ours is an ordinary love story. One of those where two people suddenly realize they are meant for each other. A true love story, romance and ordinary life, like so many others. We are Lorenza, 25 years old, and Ilenia, 24 years old, and we are university students.
We met in high school but only finished school, thanks to a trip through Europe in 2010, we realized that ours was not just friendship but something more. The attention that we exchanged mutual meant something different but we hadn’t realized it yet. After the first kiss we realized that we never had feelings towards a woman. Describing the mixture of emotions we felt like butterflies in the stomach, is an understatement.
These emotions, however, were not directed to a man, as until then we had imagined or our imagination had been affected, but to a woman. All this was new to us but this has not been a problem.
Fortunately we discovered together our homosexuality and at an age where you’re mature enough to be able to accept yourself relatively smoothly. Our education and our openness helped us further. In short time, we felt a couple and we started to come out among friends and family. Many supported us, others, especially in the family, a bit less. After three years we decided to move in together. Living with a family that doesn’t support you, doesn’t understand and doesn’t accept a part so important of you becomes frustrating.
It becomes difficult both for those who experience it but also for the couple that, because of the many difficulties that are encountered, is continuously questioned. So we decided to continue to be ourselves and, to do that, it was necessary to totally leave the origin house. We live together since 2013, and our relationship is strengthening. Although the situation has not changed in the families of origin, this does not interfere with our couple, or at least much less. Then, we learned to know each other, by living in daily and exposing every little part of us. As many couples, as much we love as we fight (just like the old married couples) but what unites us is much stronger than any difficulty.
Our story has been accompanied then by the decision that we made together to not hide our relationship. The visibility, the sincerity and simplicity have always been essential to us. It is not always easy to stay true to our principles, but we do our best. In a state where LGBT rights aren’t guaranteed, it is necessary to be visible in order that things will change. We, in our own small way, this is what we try to do in small steps.
As a couple our dreams aren’t so different from many young couples in love. We dream of finding a job that we like, to marry and grow old together and have one, two or even three children. All this in a state where our love and our family is protected and where homophobia is only a bad thing that once existed.
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