A coalition of lesbian, gay and bisexual rights groups in Italy plan to protest at a major music event in Italy tomorrow after the inclusion of a song about a gay man “turning” straight.

Controversial performer Povia has penned the song Luca Was Gay and is competing for the accolade of best song at the Sanremo music festival.

It was established in 1951 and has been cited as the inspiration for the Eurovision Song Contest.

The festival has long been used as the method for choosing the Italian Eurovision entry.

36-year-old Povia, from Milan, has angered gay rights groups because his song implies homosexuals can be “converted” to heterosexuality.

The lyrics of the song include:

“Luca once was gay but he’s with her today. When Luca talks, he holds his heart in his hand. Luca says: Today I am a different man.

“Today I’m a different man, but back then I needed answers. I was so ashamed, so I did my looking in secret. There were people who told me, “It’s natural,” but I studied Freud and I knew he didn’t see it that way.

“I got through high school, still not knowing what happiness was. An older man made my heart race and that’s when I realised I was homosexual.

“With him, I didn’t hold back. He gave me lots of attention, and I thought it was love. Sure, I could be myself, but then the sex became a competition.

“I felt like I was the guilty one. I figured they’d catch him sooner or later, but I could make the truth disappear so he wouldn’t get in trouble.

“I was looking for my father in all those men. I went with them so as not to betray my mother.”

Two years ago Povia won the Sanremo festival with a song about marriage, and the Vatican has been accused of overtly interfering with the event.

Activist Aurelio Mancuso, president of Arcigay, believes that Luca Was Gay refers to Luca Tolve, who says he was “cured” of his homosexuality at the hands of controversial Catholic American psychologist Joseph Nicolosi.

“We want to affirm the dignity of gay, lesbian and bisexual people in Italy, with the intention of involving citizens, singing and dancing together and above all speaking about our feelings,” Mr Mancuso said of Saturday’s protest.

Rita De Santis, President of the Association of Parents of Homosexuals, said:

“For me it is a great treasure to have a gay person in the family. Parents of all ages have joined because they believe that there should be a bulwark between them and their sons and daughters.”

The coalition of gay groups have invited all the singers of the Festival to participate with them in the demonstration on Saturday.

“It will be nice to see all gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, straight, women and men from all over Italy, to reiterate that true love knows no boundaries and are not intimidated by darkness of religious and political fanaticism.”