Violent homophobic attack on two men kissing renews calls for hate crime legislation in Italy

A gay couple were assaulted in a train station after sharing a quick kiss, their attacker running across the tracks to reach them.

A man attacking another man in a train station

A violent homophobic attack in a Rome train station has led to renewed calls for the progression of hate crime legislation in Italy which has been awaiting scheduling for debate in the country’s Upper House Senate since November.

The incident took place in late February but a recording of it was screened on Italian television over the weekend. Two young men shared a brief kiss while waiting for a train. A man on the opposite side of the train station climbed across the tracks in order to attack them.

One of the young men, Jean Pierre Moreno, described what happened in an interview with, sharing “When he saw us kissing, the man first crossed the tracks and shouted, ‘Aren’t you ashamed? Why do you do these things in public?’ And then he beat us up.”

As the attacker currently remains at large, Moreno continued, “Every time I leave the house and see someone who looks like my attacker, I’m afraid it’s him.”

Moreno joined calls for the delayed legislation on hate crimes in Italy to be brought forward, adding “Showing affection in public shouldn’t be limited or punished. There is nothing wrong with it.” He continued, “Europe says it is a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community… however we risk being attacked or insulted on the street.”

Political leaders came out calling for movement to be made on the legislation. On November 4 last year, the bill was approved by 265 votes to 193 in the Lower House of Parliament. In the lead up to Parliament debating the proposed legislation, thousands took part in protests across Italy to show their support for the bill. Around 70,000 people also signed a petition by All Out calling for legal protections against transphobia, homophobia and misogyny.

Since that date, the bill has yet to reach the Senate.

In a 2020 survey, the European Agency for Fundamental Rights on LGBTQ+ people in Italy showed 62% of respondents avoid holding a partner’s hand in public, 30% avoiding certain places for fear of being attacked. 23% reported suffering discrimination at work, 32% have suffered at least one episode of harassment in 2020 and 8% were victims of at least one episode of physical aggression in the last five years. Only one in six people reported these incidents to the police.

© 2021 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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