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Alfredo Ormando
(December 15, 1958 - January 23, 1998) Italy

Alfredo Ormando

Writer

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Born in San Cataldo, Sicily, ex-seminarian, writer, and protestor, he set himself on fire in Saint Peter's square in Vatican on January 13, 1998 to protest the church's, society's and his family's failure in treatment of gay, lesbian and bisexual people. After two policemen put out the flames, he was brought to Sant'Eugenio hospital in critical condition. He died 11 days after.

From the writings of Alfredo Ormando:

"The monster is leaving so as no longer to bring you shame... I'm taking my life because my family and society don't accept me."

"I've prepared all of the minimum details. Monday night I'll depart for Rome by bus. Tuesday morning I'll be at San Pietro... They will think I'm a lunatic because I chose the Vatican to set myself on fire. I hope they'll understand the message I want to leave: it is a form of protest against the Church that demonizes homosexuality--and at the same time all of nature, because homosexuality is a child of Mother Nature."

"I ask the entire world forgiveness for my crimes against nature, a nature so dear to, yet desecrated by, Christianity. I ask forgiveness for coming into this world, for having tainted the air that you breathe with my venal breath, for having dared to think and act as a man, for not having accepted an 'otherness' that I did not feel, for having considered homosexuality natural, for having felt equal to heterosexuals and second to no one, for having longed for..., for having dreamed..."

Alfredo Ormando

Through its spokesperson, Father Ciro Benedettini, the Church dared to downplay the significance of the act:

"In the letter found on Alfredo Ormando, he doesn't affirm in any way that his actions were prompted by his presumed homosexuality or as a protest against the Church...He tried to kill himself for no better explanation than family motives."

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He wrote the book Il Fratacchione.

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