Luca and Fermo were just sitting at home, reading a book. When they heard something hitting the outside wall. They thought it was just the wind, but they opened the window to check. They saw a car pulling away. Luca and Fermo walked downstairs and they saw the wall full of eggs and holes created by gas guns. This is just one example of gay aggressions in Italy.
Erika Mattina and Martina Tammaro manage the Instagram page “Le perle degli omofobi,” meaning “the pearls of homophobes.” They were doing a live, when people started commenting and writing: burn, you should burn in the ovens. This, referring to the crimes of Nazism. The two girls reported it to the police, once again.
Silvia is transgender and she was walking arounf Turin with her boyfriend. Suddenly, a man came up to them, holding a bottle, “you gay people, I will kill you.” He kept referring to Silvia with the male pronoun, yelling homophobic slurs at the couple.
What do these three episodes have in common? All the protagonists are part of the Italian LGBTQI+ community. And, for this, they were attacked.
That’s how it works in Italy
Every day, support system of Gay Helpline receive 50 phone calls for help. On average, that’s 20,000 every year. Over 60% are from people between 13 and 27. Often, the young people from the LGBTQI+ community call for help after they come out to their families. If they have to reveal their true gender identity, 70% of them call the helpline.
So, Italian minors call because their family starts abusing both verbally and physically -some even force them into conversion therapy. On the other hand, 17% people of age call because they lost economical and financial support. According to the Gay Helpline report, in 2020 the calls about gay aggressions in Italy rose because the threats did (+17%) and discrimination did (+12%). Also, younger people reported a rise in cyberbullying, by 30%.
In 2020, the Helpline counted at least 64 homophobic episodes. And the association Arcigay reported that every three days, there is a homotransphobic aggression in Italy.
“In Italy, in 2021, this is how it works,” wrote on an Instagram post Erika and Martina, “it’s the fear of gender theory, of the drag shows in schools, and of men who feel like women. It works with fear.”
It’s full of kids, you ruin the view
In March 2021, the European Parliament declared the EU a LGBTIQ Freedom Zone. As the Parliament wrote, this step was a way to “address violations of the fundamental rights of LGBTIQ people in the EU.” While the violations refer specifically to countries like Poland and Hungary, Italy might soon become the third.
Ludovica Viola and her girlfriend were relaxing at the swimming pool. Another guest at the pool called one of the workers. The lesbian couple was asked to leave because they were obstrcuting the view. And they ruined the establishment’s reputation. In fact, the swimming pool is full of kids. They can’t see a lesbain couple, can they? Instead of walking away, Ludovica and her partner stayed.
But not everyone decides to stay. In fact, Luca and Fermo decided to move. They are afraid that, next time, people will use real guns, not gas ones and that gay aggressions in Italy will become too real. The couple is afraid that the threats won’t be words anymore. In the past, locals threatened to beat them and kill them.
“We just hope they will leave us alone until we sell the house,” Luca and Fermo said to Fanpage. They hope that, by moving to a big city, they will be able to love freely.
Silvia still loves freely her partner, no matter the transgender hate she receives. When she accompanied her partner to the train station, he didn’t want to kiss her goodbye out of fear. “I will kiss you anyway, I don’t care if they look,” Silvia replied.
She did kiss him, as any couple would. Still, the Italian numbers on homophobic aggressions should worry. It shouldn’t be the LGBTQI+ community to worry, but everyone else. Where does all this hate come from? That’s the question.