The case of Valentina, a lesbian from Rome, brings into sharp focus the difficulties LGBT+ people face in Italy in a deepening homophobic climate. Valentina had originally applied for a job at a stand at Lungotevere in Festa. However, after the hiring manager viewed her Facebook profile, he called her “a failed man” and told her that he would not waste her time.
Writing to her on Facebook Messenger, he said: “Listen, I had a look at your profile… No point in meeting for an interview, he will never hire you… We are looking for good looking women. No point in wasting your time.”
When Valentina criticised him for his communication style he dug in even further, saying: “We are looking for women, not a failed man. You’re presenting yourself as a woman, but you look like a dude. I am not the one who needs to improve how to approach people… You are the one who’s in between [genders] and haven’t figured out what you want to be. Start figuring out your identity, then you can apply for workplaces looking for GIRLS.”
When Imma Battaglia, manager of The Gay Village, heard about the case, she invited Valentina to come to the club where she offered her a job. According to Battaglia, “I asked Valentina what work experience she had, at the moment we have not yet chosen a specific task for her. Next week we will hold an interview with our production manager and she can start a trial period to become part of the big family of The Gay Village.”
Commenting on the whole controversy, Valentina said, “From the discrimination I have suffered, something good has finally come out of it. I have tried to send, through the media, many messages against discrimination and homophobia but now something concrete has happened to me and I am happy.”
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