Thousands took part in protests across Italy at the weekend as the country’s parliament debate legislation to add hate crime legislation based on sexual orientation and gender identity to existing law.
Coinciding with protests, 70,000 people have signed a petition by All Out to the Italian Government for legal protections against transphobia, homophobia and misogyny.
Meanwhile, opponents including right-wing politicians and the Brothers of Italy (representing Italian Bishops) say it is unnecessary and restricts freedom of expression.
“These people are particularly exposed to hate crimes,” Alessandro Zan, a member of Parliament and the centre-left Democratic Party which proposed the legislation, told the New York Times. “This is why we particularly need to protect them.”
The latest research by the European Agency for Fundamental Rights on LGBTQ+ people in Italy shows that 62% of respondents avoid taking their loved ones by the hand and 30% do not go to certain places for fear of being attacked.
23% claim to have suffered discrimination at work, 32% to have suffered at least one episode of harassment in the last year and 8% one episode of physical aggression in the last 5 years. Only 1 in 6 people have reported these incidents to the police.
Socially distant demonstrations were held in 63 cities across Italy including Romem Milan, Naples, Pisa and Palermo in which protesters called for protection for LGBTQ+ people from violence.
In recent months, the number of horrific acts of violence against the LGBTQ+ community in Italy has risen.
In February, a gay man was assaulted in a brutal homophobic attack in the seaside town of Cesenatico in Italy. The attack, which occurred inside a disco, happened while the victim was dancing with friends. He was left with a head injury, a fractured nose and internal bleeding.
Yuri Guaiana, AllOut’s senior campaigns manager in Italy, said:
“Italy needs an effective law that protects women and LGBT+ people from discrimination and violence. The time has come to fight hatred.
“The time has come for Italy to follow the example of other European countries. Time is up: the parliament must approve a serious and effective law now.”
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