The official new is quite fresh, and the one of us eading Italian can access it at the site
To summarize in short: yesterday, in Commissione Giustizia (the branch of Italian Chamber of Deputies in charge for justice functioning) the proposed text of a new law against homophoby has been rejected with votes from PDL (mr.Berlusconi's party), Lega Nord (a xenophobic right-wing formation allied to PDL in former government) and UDC (a catholic center party).
The battle will go on at Chamber of Deputies, and my hope is it will eventually be formulated and voted.
But in the same time I have to add this is not the first time anti-homophobic law is rejected in Italy.
The common right-wing argument is, a "special" law protecting a tiny category is not necessary, as laws against common criminal acts already exist, and it would be amply sufficient to apply them.
What really<\em> happens is, right-wing and catholic parties (even some left-wing ones) have systematically blocked any law trying to alleviate discrimination against LGBT communities. Some leaders even distinguished themselves by publicly declaring their disgust against homosexuals and "counter nature" acts.
Why this? Because this all pays, electorally.
In a country like Italy, rich but with an overall culturally underdeveloped population, it is much easier to follow mainstream fears, than to exert leadership and government. Populism, in the extreme: telling people "we, the politicians, really understand your gut feeling, share them, and know you, the common people, ir right".
And what is the big fear involving a mostly invisible and not so large community as LBGT?
I have no definite answer to such a deep question. But, allow me a personal opinion.
In Italy, the fact of pretending someone more or less "counter nature" (as some catholic fundamentalist say) is sort of a minority opinion. What really frightens many Italians is something else: the possibility that accepting homosexuality opens the way to give some worth to "feminine" values. In the mind of so many in the common people "homosexuals" are figured out as "effeminate males". It is this, as far as I understand, to make horror to so many men (and women too): to proposing "effeminacy" as a "model" makes a deep horror.
Behind this horror there is still another one, who no one has the courage to admit publicly if questioned, but which emerges as crystal clear from attitudes and implied meanings, is that femaleness should not be celebrated. On the contrary: woman, the symbolic, idealized one, should stay in her own place. Be a mindless beauty (until age allows her), and support Man, the Superior being, from the shadow, as a good wife always should.
That is, plain old, deeply ingrained misogyny.
The terror that giving the "symbolic feminine" a worth on its own would endanger the position of men, the breadwinners acting in bands out of homes.
I imagine this feeling is not specifically italian, yet it's a powerful mover here.
The problem behind is a massive gap in overall education (including the specific education on gender subjects, but not limited to this only). Stated in a different, ugly but dramatically utilitaristic terms: "obsolete and low-value human capital".
In my previous post on violence against women I stated education is necessary, although difficult.
Now I add one other point: women should not any more accept the marginal position Italian mainstream culture gives them. All people, women and men alike, have to realize how marginal and stick in the mud we actually are compared to other countries, and take a stand against this all.
In (positive) rage,
but with love,
Take action! This post was submitted in response to Ending Gender-Based Violence 2012.