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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!


Italian Town Votes to Recognize Gay Marriage

The city council of Latina, a small commune in central Italy, has voted in favor of a motion to support the recognition of a same-sex couple’s marriage.

Agere per Formulas reports:

Garullo ottocentoAntonio Garullo and Mario Ottocento [pictured] were the first Italian gay couple to be married more than 10 years ago in Holland. In 2004 they asked the Ufficio dello Stato Civile of the Comune of Latina to register their marriage but their application was turned down. So the couple sued theComune of Latina, but in 2005 the Tribunale of latina rejected their complaint. Then they appealed the Court decision to the Court of Appeal of Rome where they found a second denial. Eventually the couple appealed the second negative decision to the Supreme Court of Cassation. In 2012 this court rejected their appeal but delivered a landmark opinion for LGBT rights. That Court said that the Italian laws should treat gay and straight couple equally. 

Antonio and Mario asked the Comune of Latina to record their marriage on April 15 and this afternoon the Council of the Latina approved in a 14-2 vote (1 absentee) a motion in support of the record of their marriage.

The motion is addressed to the Italian Government, which will decide whether or not the commune of Latina can register the marriage. 


Photos Of Gay Couples Kissing In Churches Gets NYC Show After Vatican Disapproval

Gay_kiss_catholic_church

When Rome’s Galleria L'Opera tried to artist Gonzalo Orquin’s photographs of gay, lesbian and straight couples kissing in Rome’s Catholic churches, the Vatican threatened legal action and had the showing stopped (the opera cited “security reasons”).

But it looks like those photos will still get a showing in Manhattan’s Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art on April 30.

The New York Daily News reports:

The photos were taken without permission from the churches involved. A Vatican spokesman claimed the photos could “harm the religious sentiment of the faithful.”

Another exhibition from Orquin — this time showing a woman dressed like a priest — was later vandalized.

But in New York, Orquin’s work is receiving a warm welcome. It will be featured in the SoHo-based museum’s window gallery and will be visible to passersby on the street.

Leslie-Lohman Museum Director Hunter O’Hanian said of Orquin’s church photos, “These were very beautiful, simple portraits of same-sex couples in a space that they held sacred and important to them. I hope visitors [who see them] leave with a wonderful feeling of compassion and humanity.”


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