Italy was witness to one of the strongest mobilisations for IDAHOT 2014, in Europe and worldwide. Actions took place in at least 15 cities, and countless topics and communities were the focus of activities around May 17 this year. Progressive voices of faith and individuals joined in prayer, reflection and remembrance in 14 towns and cities, as part of a Global Interfaith Prayer Initiative for IDAHOT 2014. The project ‘ddl405’ launched a video and public call for anti-transphobia and anti-intersexphobia messages to support their campaign. In the north of Italy a local youth organisation brought more than 500 people together to hug a UNESCO monument, amongst many other events.
Global Interfaith Prayer Initiative
For many years now, the Global Interfaith Prayer Initiative, organised from Italy by Gionata, an Italian Project addressing Faith and Homosexuality, and with the support of the European Forum of LGBT Christian Groups, has taken place throughout the period around May 17 in various cities in Italy, and other countries. The focus of the vigil is to commemorate the victims of homophobic violence and discrimination. At the same time, organisers and participants also stand up and speak out against prejudice within the Church. The events were organised by local churches and groups, and took place in the following cities in Italy this year:
May 12: Bologna
May 15: Florence and Palermo
May 16: Padova, Parma, Pistoia and Rome
May 17: Borgo Priolo, Catania, Forano Sabino, Licata, Mantova, Pecara, Pinerolo, Rome, Torino and Trieste
May 18: Rome, Florence, Grosseto, Licata, Milan, Naples, Padova, Rimini and Trapani
May 20: Genova
May 22: Milan
The vigils and commemorations are set to continue in Italy until June 13 and will include Palermo, Livorno and Cremona.
On the occasion of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, the project ddl405 has launched their campaign video for the draft bill DDL405 to put forward to the Parliament. The bill would protect the rights of Italian transgender and intersex people, making a series of changes to the current legal framework.
The claims are to
– stop forced surgery for transgender people to enable them to legally change their name and gender;
– ease off the bureaucracy and relieve the expenses of transition;
– prevent the unconstitutional annulment of marriage in case one of the spouses changes their legal gender;
– end mutilating surgeries on intersex infants.
You can watch the ddl405 campaign video here (launched May 15):
The initiative also invited people to send in their message against Transphobia and Intersexphobia with a picture which was then published on their Facebook page.
Here is a message from Francesca Cellini, a candidate for city council in Bagno a Ripoli:
You can find out more about the campaign on their blog and you can sign the petition here.
Free Expression Zone Bologna!
On May 17, the Cassero LGBT Center in Bologna together with ArciLesbica Bologna and other groups declared a Free Expression Zone on the Piazza dei Celestini in Bologna and later on they also took action in via d’Azeglio and Piazza del Nettuno. The public space was created into a space free from violence and racism, where all identities can be expressed. The space was created together with other civic associations active in the field of LGBT or other social justice questions. The space was occupied with workshops, small events, information tables, and activities from morning to evening.
You can find out more about the Center on their website and on Facebook page.
Casa Delle Donne di Milano
On May 18, the Casa delle Donne di Milano organised a conference with presentations and a discussion on the struggles and violence LBT women face, and on good practice to combat homophobia. They also talked about social constructions and the self-image of teenagers. Eva Schwarzwald addressed gender stereotypes and specifically body images; Helen Ibry, an anthropologist, gave a tour of Europe in twenty minutes with numeric data, legislative proposals and political situations of countries; and Milena Cannavacciuolo spoke about popular culture.
Hug-In in Vicenza
Organised by the local Youth organisation Arcigay, Vicenza (Northern Italy) hosted a big ‘hug’ against homophobia, biphobia and transphobia. More than 500 people gathered to hug the Palladian Basilica, a UNESCO monument.
The Collettivo Stonewall Venezia LGBTIQueer organised a flashmob against Homophobia on Campo Santa Margherita, Venice. The flashmob was aimed at sparking discussion and increasing public awareness, by participants wearing a mask of Putin in the streets while homophobic insults were shouted and stories told about the impact of homophobic violence. To provide more details they also distributed flyers.
LGBT Training in Torino
On occasion of the IDAHOT 2014, the LGBT Office of the city of Torino carried out training sessions about gender identity and sexual orientation, as part of a national strategy to sensibilize state officials and police forces.
This year is particularly important for our LGBT Office as the City of Torino, as national Secretariat of RE.A.D.Y, the Italian Rainbow Cities, Provinces and Regions, has been assigned by the national Government the meaningful task of translating in concrete actions the objectives and measures of the national LGBT Strategy.
Top level trainings on LGBT topics have already been carried out for the national Police and Arma dei Carabinieri high rank officials in April 2014 while other top level trainings are going to be hold for CEO belonging to the Minister of Labour and Regions.
Locally, the LGBT Office held its first LGBT training in the jail of Ivrea, a city nearby Torino, on gender identity and sexual orientation in detention. The session addressed police officers, psychologists and social assistants of the Penitentiary Police working in the LGBT section of the prison of Ivrea. LGBT transsexual/transgender persons are likely to experience a double suffering in detention: restrictions of freedom, and restrictions in specific areas of prisons. “Our training focused on sexual identity, applicable law, good practice for the management of transsexual/transgender and homosexual persons in jail aiming at their social and professional reintegration in society,” the organisers explained.
Further details about the national strategy are available here.