The Italian Almanac

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Luana Ricci, aka Marco Della Gatta

Waiting for an Explanation

A Catholic choirmaster who was sacked after changing sex says he`s still waiting for an explanation from the cathedral in the southern Italian city of Lecce. ``They gave me the boot without any explanation, beating about the bush without coming out with the real reason,`` said Marco Della Gatta, who decided to change his name to Luana Ricci last year and is waiting for an operation.

Della Gatta had been organist and choirmaster at Lecce Cathedral for 18 years until his August 31 sacking. In his former life he married and had children who are now 15 and 18. ``Both they and my wife love me for what I am. I never would have thought that my condition would have caused problems in the workplace,`` Della Gatta told local dailies.

The Lecce Curia hinted it would talk to Della Gatta about her firing, voicing the hope that ``dialogue can clear up the various aspects of this complex matter``.