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Homophobic Mob Attacks Gay Organization In Rome, Throws Excrement At Offices

Di gay project rome

Southern Rome’s Di'Gay Project (DGP) was attacked Wednesday night when an anti-gay mob threw excrement at the organization’s offices. DGP provides community, youth and cultural services to the LGBT community.

Earlier this month, Mayor of Rome Ignazio Marino promised the approval of a Civil Union Register for same-sex couples and registration of overseas same-sex marriages.

According to Italian news website The Local, the homophobic gang, estimated to be aged between 15 and 40, also threw wooden boxes and vegetables as people inside rehearsed for a theatre performance.

Before running away, gang members were heard to shout "we give you fire, you deserve to die.”

Speaking to Corriere Della Sera, politican and honorary president of DGP Imma Battaglia said that the attack is part of a recent increase in homophobia that must be addressed. 

Battaglia has since requested a meeting with the mayor to discuss solutions to increasing homophobia in the city.

Actress and director Maria Chiara Cucinotta said:

"We have not suffered physical or structural damage, but certainly in the heart, yes."

Performers vowed to return to rehearsals last night.


Italy's Government to Begin Consideration of Gay Civil Unions in September

Italy's government will begin debate on civil unions in September, Prime Minister Matteo Renzi announced on Tuesday, according to The Local:

RenziRenzi was quoted in La Repubblica on Tuesday saying “gay rights will be the same as those for married heterosexual couples.”

In a move the newspaper described as the “rainbow revolution”, gay couples could be entitled to benefits including inheritance guarantees, welfare assistance and be able to claim a deceased partner’s pension.

The marriages of gay couples who wed abroad would also be officially registered.

The proposals have been inspired by both the UK and Germany’s civil partnership model, the newspaper said.

However, the Italian model will likely differ when it comes to adoption: a partner will only be able to adopt the child of the natural parent in the union should he or she die.

For a look at some of the Italian LGBT activists who have been driving this debate so far check out David Mixner's recent piece from his trip to Italy.


Frozen Food Company Produces Italy's First Gay-Inclusive Advertisement: VIDEO

FindusAd

Frozen food company Findus has produced what is being touted as the first gay-inclusive advertisement in Italy. It is a no-frills ad in which a mother and her son enjoy a "home-cooked" meal prepared by the son's boyfriend (in an odd decision, none of their faces are shown); the son comes out, telling his mother about their relationship, and she reacts beautifully.

Time reports:

The ad comes nine months after the chairman of Italian pasta maker Barilla came under fire for saying that he would never use a gay family in his ads. The company eventually announced a “more inclusive” initiative to “establish a more active, global leadership on diversity,” including hiring a “chief diversity officer.”

Gay activists in Europe praised the video for showcasing the simplicity and the daily life of a gay couple. “It’s a positive step forward when different types of families are portrayed in ads, as they resonate with parts of society that are usually marginalized,” said Juris Lavrikovs, the communications manager of ILGA, Europe’s International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans & Intersex Association.

Way to go, Findus! 

Check out the wonderful ad, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Frozen Food Company Produces Italy's First Gay-Inclusive Advertisement: VIDEO" »


Mayor of Rome Promises Civil Union Registry, Recognition of Same-Sex Marriages Performed Abroad

Rome pride

At the 20th anniversary of the first Rome Gay Parade over the weekend, Mayor of Rome Ignazio Marino [pictured above with green, red, and white sash] promised the approval of a Civil Union Register for same-sex couples and registration of same-sex marriages performed abroad.

Ignazio marinoThe AFP reports that although polls find that a majority of Italians are in favour of civil unions for gay couples, Italy has lagged behind its European neighbours in part because of the influence of the powerful Catholic Church.

"We need to put pressure on parliament so Italy can overcome the shame of lagging behind the rest of the European Union," Marino said.

[photos via Facebook]


Italian Town Recognizes Gay Married Couples

Fano gay marriage

Last month an Italian court legally recognized a married gay couple for the first time in the country. Now the town of Fano is following suit and recognizing the marriage of Fausto Schermi and Edwin Van Dijck in the City Registry.

City mayor/registrar Stefano Aguzzi authorized the recognition and is the first mayor in Italy to do so; it will also be his last action as mayor of Fano on May 30. Interestingly, Mayor Aguzzi is politicaly right of center. The marriage and its recognition was quite the celebratory ordeal, and many photos of the couple's happy day have been uploaded to Facebook.


Italy's LGBT Movement and the Activists Driving It Forward

Mixner

BY DAVID MIXNER

Last week I had the opportunity to meet with a large number of Italian LGBT leaders and influencers. In many ways, their struggle for LGBT rights is in its infancy stages and lags behind most of the Western European powers. However a network of rights organizations make these pioneers a force whose power grows daily in Italy and puts them far ahead of Eastern Europeans.

Adoption rights, hate crimes legislation and marriage equality still all have to be obtained in Italy. At the moment, a hate crimes bill is working through the legislature (it has passed the Chamber of Deputies and is currently in the Italian Senate) but it seems to have quite a few detractors — some who believe it is not tough enough and some who will simply oppose anything having to do with the LGBT community.

ScalfarottoFranco Grillini in 2001 became the first open LGBT member in the Parliament. He was joined by the first Lesbian Anna Paola Concia who was elected in 2008. Today one of the most powerful members in the Chamber of Deputies is openly gay Ivan Scalfarotto (right). The handsome and articulate advocate is Vice Chair of the governing Democratic Party. When meeting with him, one is immediately impressed with his passion, intellect and political agility. Scalfarotto started out as a member of the Green Party in 1988 and shifted to the Democrats in 2008. The passionate activist has pushed for a Hate Crimes bill and is exploring creating national civil unions for Italy.

Over breakfast, Ivan said he was interested in creating an Italian version of the Victory Fund. He believes it is time to move dramatically forward in electing more LGBT Italians to office. There is no question that his charismatic and promising leadership will help make that a reality.

Mg_3187_pp2-copia-fileminimizerAnother bright light is youthful Matteo Pegoraro (right) who hails from Solesino. He is active at both the grassroots and political levels and expressed  impatience with Italy's slow progress.  When asked about then new young Prime Minister of Italy, Matteo told me:

I admit I'm still pretty doubtful. So far, Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has given priority to constitutional reforms to reduce public spending and groped to boost employment, but no word yet from the Italian government on the protection of LGBT people. However, hope is the last to die, and I really hope that this Prime Minister can listen to the voices of our community and strive to make a better Italy through raising awareness and social welfare, which starts from the total recognition of fundamental rights.

In addition, the lesbian community has a star in Luisa Bordiga who is coordinator of Arcilesbica Milan.

The country's largest LGBT organization is Arcigay and it covers the broad spectrum of grassroots politics. EDGE is a new professionals organization. Famiglie Arcobaleno and Rete Genitori Rainbow are two family-oriented organizations that would make PFLAG proud.

Without question one of the organizations that could wield considerable influence in Italy is PARKS. The organization is named after American civil rights icon Rosa Parks and its members are the diversity officers of major corporations in Italy. Corporate giants such as IKEA, Johnson & Johnson, Telecom, Citi and IBM are members of the group which has embraced LGBT rights as part of its agenda. You can find its Executive Director Igor Suran all over Italy spreading the gospel of diversity. Lining up these major corporations and others could be the major catalyst for change that is needed in Italy.

Like the rest of the Western powers the victory for Italian LGBT rights feels inevitable. Some of the leaders think marriage equality is ten to twenty years down the road. Interestingly, most of the young organizers think it will only be five years. What is clear is that this Italian LGBT community is a passionate, talented and determined force that will make this happen.

In discussions with the activists, the Vatican comes up over and over again. The Catholic church hangs over the movement in Italy like the Evangelicals do in the United States. A couple of activists even offered to move St. Peter's Basicilica to the United States. I respectfully declined and said that their offer was far too generous!


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