Turin mayor in Italy counters anti-LGBT World Congress of Families
Turin mayor Chiara Appendino has unveiled a banner showing her city’s support for same-sex families as the anti-LGBT World Congress of Families (WCF) opened in the city of Verona.
The banner was hung from the City Hall in Turin city centre on Friday (March 29), portraying various kinds of families—a lesbian couple with two children, one of them in a wheelchair, a single parent, a heterosexual couple with three children, an interracial couple, an interracial couple with two children, and a gay couple with a child.
“Torino loves and welcomes all kinds of families,” the banner reads.
“It’s a beautiful message of inclusivity, which I believe is one of themes that characterises Turin and the history of this city,” Mayor Appendino said in a video posted on social media ahead of unveiling the banner.
“As Italy and the world looks with concern to the congress in Verona, we in Turin have decided to launch a message of inclusivity to all families of all kinds and all genders.”
— Marco Giusta
City councillor Marco Giusta, who is responsible for politics for families and youth and used to head the local chapter of Italy’s LGBT+ rights group Arcigay, said the message was written in English so it may be accessible to as many people as possible.
Mentioning the WCF meeting in Verona, he said: “As Italy and the world looks with concern to the congress in Verona, we in Turin have decided to launch a message of inclusivity to all families of all kinds and all genders.”
Giusta noted that Turin became the first city in Italy to recognise a lesbian couple as parents of their child on the baby’s birth certificate in April last year—the official document does not have an option to recognise same-sex parents.
“We are confident and proud of the choice we made,” he added.
A picture of the banner posted on Facebook by city councillor Damiano Carretto with the caption “Here Turin, To Verona” has been shared more than 1,000 times in the first four hours since it was posted.
What is the World Congress of Families (WCF) and why is it anti-LGBT?
The WCF is holding a three-day conference in Verona, starting on Friday. The event has highlighted differences within the Italian government coalition—the populist Five Star Movement, to whom Mayor Appendino belongs to, has disavowed the event, but the far right League and its politicians have shown support for the event.
The Italian minister for Family and Disability Lorenzo Fontana, who once denied LGBT+ families exist, and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior Matteo Salvini, who are both from the League party, are both listed as a speakers at the event.
Among the speakers is also Verona mayor Federico Sboarina, who in October supported a local council motion that branded Verona Italy’s first “pro-life city,” directing public funds to anti-abortion groups.
One of the WCF Verona conference organisers is Massimo Gandolfini, who is among the founders of Italy’s “Family Day” movement, which opposes civil partnerships and adoptions for same-sex couples.
Amnesty International Italy condemned the WCF meeting as “hostile to human rights” in a statement this week.
“The programme, the aims, the speakers involved clearly characterise the meeting in Verona as an event hostile to human rights, especially to sexual and reproductive rights and LGBT+ rights. Such event should not be supported by any government institution, who instead should guarantee the rights of all people,” the rights group said.
The WCF was founded in 1997 following a meeting between Russian sociologists Anatoly Antonov and Victor Medkov, and American historian Allan Carlson, president of the Illinois-based Howard Center for Family, Religion, and Society, who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to the National Commission on Children in 1988.
The group has since championed anti-LGBT and anti-choice causes, such as lobbying against a gay pride parade in Serbia in 2013 and working to pass the so-called “gay propaganda” law in Russia.