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Italy’s ‘summer of homophobia’

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  1. It’s sad to hear that Italy is still so far behind most other Western countries. Not surprising, given it’s history and closeness to the Catholic church, but sad.

    Also clearly shows the backwards effects of the Church’s policy towards LGBT people.

  2. Simon.Murphy 13 Aug 2010, 10:31am

    Sad but not surprising.

    Italy is a beautiful country but it’s far behind the developed world when it comes to gay rights.

    Look at who their Prime Miniser is – Silvio Berlusconi. This is the guy who selects his female politicial candidates solely on how attractive they are. The same guy who controls the media – seen Italian TV lately. Notice how none of the women are allowed to speak. Their job is to jiggle about in bikinis.

    Italy is a bit of a joke – a dangerous joke for sure. But a joke nonetheless.

  3. The ‘Report comment’ hasn’t worked for ages.
    So just reporting Huk’s comment here. (unless it was meant to be ironic.

  4. I’d say Italy is just like most other western countries. I do not know too many places I would be comfortable kissing another guy in public. There are hurt and dead people in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland whose only ‘crime’ was to be openly gay in public. I also don’t think the catholic church is the only rabidly homophobic church.

  5. @Angrygman
    Perhaps you need to go back and read the Pink News article a bit more thoroughly. If you do you will see that it does actually reference the Guardian. Don’t be so angry and negative as your name suggests, but smile smile smile at the thought of sexy, politically active gay Italians having a kiss-in.

  6. I think we should leave our own prejudice against Italy (and the Catholic Church) aside. Gay men kissing in public, here in the UK will also get in trouble.
    Recently, I was bringing my partner to the tube station and he gave me a quick good bye kiss on the lips. Nothing to do with the more ‘elaborate’ kisses that could be given on a beach.
    I was happy I could get quickly back in the car as a passer by started shouting to the crowd around the entry of the station “did you see this! These men were kissing!”
    Ben

  7. True, Ben. It’s a problem in areas of the UK too. I’ve personally been shoved by a teenage boy after I gave my girlfriend a quick kiss on the lips, and we’ve even had a bottle thrown at us for simply holding hands. I’m sure I’m not imagining it that such homophobia is becoming more common.

    I’d like to know what happened to the person or persons who fined the two men for kissing when they hadn’t broken any law.

  8. Well, I actually kissed my mate in public, even in Trafalgar Square: I haven’t heard a voice against us. On the contrary, many girls congratulated with us. :)
    Anyway, what’s reported by the Italian newspapers is not 100% true, especially about the Ostia’s episode. The beach where the guys kissed is a gay place. The guys were almost having sex (it was reported by the owner of Settimo Cielo, the gay cafe who provides that part of the beach) and invited to move towards the dunes (where – is notorious – people have sex). Despite that, the guys prefered to say it was a homophobic attack. This news has been reported with huge clamour by the Roman gay association Arcigay, whose president is always looking for spotlights and mention on the newspapers. It’s not a good service to GLBT community; foremost, everybody knows that in Capocotta (the name of the place) the beaches are gay-friendly. Why didn’t he call Settimo Cielo’s owner?
    finally, don’t wanna talk about the bored journalists who are always looking for news like these…

  9. Jae, the story doesn’t actually mention the church anywhere in its report. Simply saying Italy is under the cosh of the church is just ridiculous. The UK is rife with homophobia and we’re not that god-fearing a nation. The chavs who’ll pick on a gay couple on a night bus in London won’t be racing to church the next morning. Its hate and in many cases hasn’t been instilled in people by anything other than simple ignorance.

  10. Except that that”summer” has been going for over a year (and probably more), particularly since they were discussing gay marriage in parliament.

  11. It’s not just the summer of homophobia in Italy; it’s homophobic winter, spring, and fall. Italy is the most homophobic country in Western Europe by far – about on the same level as Serbia or Lithuania in the East.

    True, same-sex kisses may be a danger in any country, but you don’t get arrested for it in UK. You can’t call the police (Carabiniere in Italy) and end up being ejected, if not arrested and fined. Every week you can read about extremee and unprovoked violence against gays in Rome and all throughout the Peninsula.

    If you’re planning a holiday, do yourself a favor and eliminate Italy where tourism helps prop up this homophobic goverment. You just might also save yourself from serious injury or death.

    Then again, if you like danger and you like to experience the hatred of the native population, include Italy as a stopover on your trip to Jamaica!

  12. Charlie, don’t be so melodramatic! Italy is a lot better than you make it in your comments. It looks like you’re much more prejudiced against Italy than Italians are against homosexuals. Oh, by the way I’m an Italian gay man who does not support Berlusconi or his government!

  13. Italy is no different than any other western country. Homophobia is rife in every country, even in Holland. There are many Italians who support equality for gay men and women, so don’t ever think that the entire country is homophobic. What is surprising that homosexuality was NEVER a crime in Italy but it was in the UK and elsewhere. Just like Spain and Portugal, Italy will eventually evolve, faster than Poland and the other backward eastern European states. Greece on the other hand, not sure about that one, probably a lot worse than Italy.

  14. westcoastkid (USA) 13 Aug 2010, 9:07pm

    My partner an I have been to Italy/Sicily numerous times over the past 20 years. We have never felt harassed or threatened at any time on our visits. Having said that there are regions/cities (Venice/ Sicily) were the locals definitely seemed uneasy with idea of gay couples being on their turf.

    As a rule the father north one travels the less the “stigma” of being gay. The Cinque Terre region
    (north west coast) was a delight to visit. Very welcoming. Sicily, not so much, although the island is still worth a visit.

    I agree with the posters who have written “homophobia exists everywhere.” Perhaps it is best to remember, as a tourist you are a guest in the country you are visiting so a bit of common sense restraint may be in order.

  15. have some of you nut job people lost all of your mind- of course there exists some homophobia in all countries, there also exists some racism in all countries the issue is the state of the acceptance of that homophobia and like it or not homophobia is encouraged or atleast not discouraged in Italy. I am from Toronto,Canada and i can french kiss my BF in public anytime anywhere. the issue is can anti gay sentiments survive in Canada or the Uk or Holland- No the public and the media will flay the Politicians or the police or whatever, mayors of small hick towns are made to apologize for homophobic remarks, so please do not dance around the issue, your safer being gay some palces more than others, end.

  16. Gay and Lesbian intolerance has been measured by the EU barometer measure as being higher in Italy, or at least the perception of, than most other EU countries and certainly more than any other foundation state. Homophobia can be more than name calling and violence and manifest institutionally through a lack of rights for GLBT people and Italy has virtually no rights at all apart from those that have been forced by EU regulation. In fact Gay non Italian EU citizens (Brits, French, German etc) have more rights in Italy (e.g., freedom of movement rights for non EU partners) than gay Italians have in their own country. EU rights are often only available to citizens once they move out of their country of origin.

    What is disappointing is that Italy, a founding member of the EU and signatory to the many human rights charters and treaties has done nothing in terms of legislation to put their human rights obligations into practice. In short it signs to look good and then does not implement and the EU seems to look the other way.

    I read many young gay Italians argue that everything is good but those who have not left the country have not experienced equality at an institutional level so they don’t really understand what they are missing out on.

    Gay and lesbian Italians really have a tough time, and need to be commended for their endurance as they have been fighting for justice for so long only to have glimmers of hope vanish with yet another government collapse.

    The Berlusconi government has frequently played on everyday Italians intolerance towards gays and lesbians, their fears and their religious based homophobia to whip up votes. Now when there is a snipe between the Vatican and Berlusconi it is a gay scandal his news organisations dig such as exposing the editor of the Catholic newspaper closeted secrets. He knows gay and lesbian people are widely looked down on so they are the best scandals to use.

    I am pleased those outside Italy are starting to take notice – time to look past the great weather, wine, food and landscape and give your Italian gay and lesbians and their supporters a hand to fight the intolerance.

  17. Gay and Lesbian intolerance has been measured by the EU barometer measure as being higher in Italy, or at least the perception of, than most other EU countries and certainly more than any other foundation state.

    Homophobia can be more than name calling and violence and manifest institutionally through a lack of rights for GLBT people and Italy has virtually no rights at all apart from those that have been forced by EU regulation. In fact Gay non Italian EU citizens (Brits, French, German etc) have more rights in Italy (e.g., freedom of movement rights for non EU partners) than gay Italians have in their own country. EU rights are often only available to citizens once they move out of their country of origin.

    What is disappointing is that Italy, a founding member of the EU and signatory to the many human rights charters and treaties has done nothing in terms of legislation to put their human rights obligations into practice. In short it signs to look good and then does not implement and the EU seems to look the other way.
    I read many young gay Italians argue that everything is good but those who have not left the country have not experienced equality at an institutional level so they don’t really understand what they are missing out on.

    Gay and lesbian Italians really have a tough time, and need to be commended for their endurance as they have been fighting for justice for so long only to have glimmers of hope vanish with yet another government collapse.

    The Berlusconi government has frequently played on everyday Italians intolerance towards gays and lesbians, their fears and their religious based homophobia to whip up votes. Now when there is a snipe between the Vatican and Berlusconi it is a gay scandal his news organisations dig such as exposing the editor of the Catholic newspaper closeted secrets. They know due to the general level of intolerance a gay scandal is the best to use in attack.

    I am pleased those outside Italy are starting to take notice – time to look past the great weather, wine, food and landscape and give your Italian gay and lesbians and their supporters hand to fight the intolerance.

  18. It used to be said that there were “only two types of men that understood sexuality, gay men and Italians.”

    It’s a shame that they appear to be changing, although, like most other European countries, Italy is awash with immigrants, which I suspect has a lot more to do with this fact than many might consider.
    *

  19. I have lived in Rome for the past 7 months, being from Britain. It seems to me that LGBT people are more closeted here than in the UK. The pride for example was absolutely miniscule, considering that Rome is a capital city. I asked a few friends why they weren’t coming and they came out with the usual stuff that slightly repressed gay men often come out with (‘gay prides don’t do anything’, what’s the point’, ‘I don’t see there being a straight pride so why do we have a gay one’, ‘why do people have to be so flamboyant’). Whenever gay people are mentioned at work it is with a kind of derisory snigger, and a patronising superiority. I see this generally as a symptom of ignorance. The lives of LGBT people, it seems to me, are far away from the gaze of most Italians I know (not that in England it is perfect) in part because not enough italians are out. Most of my friends are not fully open.
    What has annoyed me the most is the implicit expectation amongst people that if you are gay then you shouldn’t mention it, perhaps the implicit idea being that being gay is something to be ashamed of, or is inferior. This really annoys me.
    What also annoys me is the number of minions of the catholic church (priests, monks, etc) that are raging queers and that lead double lives and the almost classic example of marxist alienation we find in lots of gay people’s attitudes towards gay life in Italy. Lots of gay people just don’t realise that there is a problem. They are alienated from realising this.
    Having said that, there are the usual gay things here (clubs, saunas, etc), but things are just more low-key. The fact that things are so does not make me want to leave, and I have often walked around town with guys holding hands, etc, without feeling scared.

  20. Good ol Macho insecure men, they have so little faith and assurance in their own sexuality that they feel like they gotta attack everything that they fear of becoming.

    Its like burning down every Mc Donald’s because you don’t want to eat hamburgers for fear of becoming fat.

    In short Irrational people do Irrational things out Irrational fear and lack of understanding. Especially when they are so insecure feeling with their own masculinity. :P

  21. Ciao
    In my opinion, it requires ‘grace’ based on divine intervention in the form of a miracle, to turn Italy into a utopia, were people can enjoy loving gender neutral relationships, that conform to the human rights jurisdiction within the worldwide spectrum.
    Fortuna

  22. I am Roman born, bred and of long Roman descent, my family still live there, while I have spent the past 37 years in Britain because I am lesbian.

    While I am proud of my City’s ancient past, I deplore its more recent Catholic “present” (a mere 2000 years of primitive, hateful, superstitious idiocy!).

    I left my City – and Country – because of its ridiculous, medieval mentality in almost every respect.

    Please, do NOT “make allowances” for my people just because our Country is beautiful, its food and fashion famous and the people warm and friendly – until they spot your sexual orientation.

    Homosexuals in Italy are forced into the closet as they are in Russia and every other un-enlightened Country around the world.

    Please write to the Administrations of the Cities that have played host to outright homophobia, please help support the struggle of LGBT people in our Country, do not condone it, because that is condescending and saying that we can’t help being so backwards.

    We can and we must! Italy is struggling to retain a secular government, wholly separate from the interference of the Catholic Church.

    Help, stand up with us.

    Thank you.

    Ad Majora!

  23. Well said Gea vox.

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