In Italy, Homophobia Is on the Rise
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Published in: November-December 2019 issue.


RECENT MONTHS have seen a rise in homophobic attacks on the LGBT community in Italy. Gay rights organizations associate these hate crimes with the harsh political climate. Matteo Salvini, the former interior minister who rose to power on a campaign of anti-immigration, far right nationalism and xenophobia is especially under scrutiny. Opponents and activists alike say the leader of the extreme right-wing party The League has emboldened perpetrators of these hate crimes with his xenophobic rhetoric and discourse.

         Arcigay, Italy’s oldest and largest national gay organization, which monitors the press for homophobic and transphobic attacks, estimated a surge in such hate crimes over the past year, when 187 attacks occurred for an increase of nearly 33 percent. Other organizations tend to support this conclusion. Gay Help Line received some 20,000 phone calls this year, and 3,200 came from minors. The organization reported that the percentage of parents who do not accept their children’s homosexuality is increasing. More than one LGBT person is a victim of family violence per day.

Matteo Salvini often brandishes a rosary during public speeches. Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images

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Marco Michieli is an Italian political analyst living in Paris and covering French politics for Ytalimagazine.