Gay couple insulted and threatened with death on the banks of the Po river

May 17 is world against Homo/Bi/Transphobia day, yet in Italy there is still no formal law to recognise the gestures, words, discrimination and in the worst cases, physical violence that the LGBTQIA+ people are too often subjected to.

Case in point: a gay couple walking hand in hand along the banks of the river Po in Casalmaggiore (Lombardy, Italy) were insulted with expletives and homophobic epithets by a group of minors. Insults that later turned into death threats. “If you don’t leave, we will kill you”, the teenagers repeatedly told the 30-year-old couple.

The escalating situation caused one of the two 30-year-olds to faint, and when his partner assisted him and helped him walk away, one of the minors broke away from the group and began to follow the pair, threatening actual physical assault. At that point, the two men called the police, who were only able to acknowledge the complaint, allowing the group of homophobic minors to leave unchallenged.

The episode shocked the local Queer community, and the Cremona Pride Committee organised a flashmob for the evening of May 17 in the gardens of Piazza Roma in Cremona. We will also be present to support our community in Casalmaggiore, and to reaffirm they are not alone. “We will be there because any of us could have been in their place, and because any of our children – if they are not brought up to respect the other – could have been in the place of the aggressors.” The Cremona Pride president writes on Facebook: “Is the silence of the institutions what we want to bequeath to those who will inhabit our territory in the future? The streets do not belong to those who hate and attack. The streets belong to everyone and also to us. We want a territory free of Homo/Bi/Transphobia hatred. We want institutions that are present, receptive, ready to act. We want a community that is outraged when someone suffers such an injustice, that empathises and is present with its support. A community that no longer lets LGBTQIA+ people escape from contexts that they perceive as hostile”

It is well known, unfortunately, that in Italy an LGBTQIA+ couple still cannot publicly show their love with a kiss, a walk holding hands, basically any demonstration of public affection, without risking a possible backlash. The most shocking aspect of the Casalmaggiore episode, therefore, is that the aggressors were minors. Consequently it’s both thought-provoking and infuriating that one of the reasons that most incensed the opponents of Zan Ddl was the proposal to include educational courses in schools to combat such prejudices. It seems, then, that the antagonists of the Italian LGBTQIA+ community want to educate their children in homophobic prejudice and hatred.

Sadly the Casalmaggiore episode isn’t an isolated event, it’s just one of the few that’s actually being discussed publicly, unlike the many that are either hushed up or hidden out of shame and fear. 

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