Reports of a second homophobic attack in less than 48 hours show a sharp rise in such incidents across Italy.
The first attack occurred in the capital Rome on April 9 in the middle of the afternoon. The 21-year-old victim was walking home from his first day in a new job and was attacked near the second largest train station in Rome, Tiburtina Station.
The young man was followed by a group who then approached him, threatened with a knife, beaten and robbed. This attack took place in broad daylight and no-one intervened to help the victim.
He spent the night in hospital receiving treatment and testing for injuries to his head.
Independent LGBT+ advocate association Mario Mieli Homosexual Culture Club made a statement expressing their solidarity with the victim:
“The Mario Mieli Club expresses the total and unconditional solidarity with Federico, an activist of Roboterie – Our bodies are our cities. We remain truly dismayed at the news of yet another aggression suffered in Rome. We are also happy, however, that Federico has decided to denounce his attackers.His testimony, given to the competent authorities, outlines a clear homophobic aggression. The violent gang acted to rob but above all to offend, threaten and then strike with violence”.
In Parma, a region in northern Italy near Milan, a similar attack took place where a 19-year-old was insulted and beaten in the early hours of Tuesday morning by a group of men.
The incident took place when he was with a group of friends and he kissed one of his friends, a group in the same room began hurling homophobic insults at the group. The feud ended with the victim receiving a punch to the face which burst his lip.
Speaking to gay.it, he told them how events unfolded:
“Last night I was in the company of a friend in a restaurant in Via d’Azeglio that I occasionally go to.
“The atmosphere between us was quiet and at some point, we started to kiss. A small group of boys, who were also in the room, started to insult us with very heavy homophobic epithets. We did not react but from the words, it immediately went to the facts: one of them punched me, which hit me on the lip, causing me a wound.
“To justify one of them said that the problem was that I had offered a girl to drink in their group but obviously it was not true; they insulted us as gay and assaulted for that reason “.
The increase of frequency in these attacks has seen an increased demand for the introduction of hate crime legislation to Italian law.
Students from the political society ‘Aula Tsunami’, which the second victim was a member of, posted on their Facebook page the following message:
“Only two days after the beating of a young man at the Tiburtina station in Rome by a group of skinheads, last night, during a relaxing evening among friends, one of our comrades was attacked purely because he happens to be gay.
“We think that these are not isolated cases, but that they are a symptom of the wave of intolerance and xenophobia that has been spreading through our Country, including our Government.
“Up until a few years ago, people would be expressing their own ignorance through words. Today, they feel validated and know they can take their ignorance from words to action, knowing they will remain unpunished.
“We will not be intimidated and we will continue to oppose homophobia and all the other forms of xenophobia, through educational initiatives as well as self-defence plans which are needed considering the times we live in.”
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