Spazio Plus was recently born, whose goal is to win an inclusive, sensitive, and safe working environment for everyone. This is the new project of the Red Cross of Rome aimed at protecting, in public and private spaces, homosexual, bisexual, and transgender people.
In synergy with the CRI Committees of Rome and Civitavecchia, the project aims to educate and raise awareness of public bodies and companies on issues such as sexual orientation or gender identity (about which unfortunately so much confusion and misinformation still exists).
As the Red Cross explained to reporters from Gay.it, one of the most relevant media outlets in the Italian gay world, this awareness-raising work was not born yesterday: “In these years in which we have managed, and still continue to manage (see Casa+, a shelter for young victims of violence and discrimination), realities of reception and protection for young LGBTQIA+ people, the relationship with the business world, including non-profits, has been an ever-living element.”
A network that will move mainly along two parallel paths: “The involvement of entrepreneurs and businesswomen who are close and sensitive to LGBTQIA+ issues through the network of sector associations; Red Cross actions aimed at the involvement of the business system; engagement and participation in its own aid projects with a social value (several times we have been called, with our refuge experience of Casa+, to present at national and international business realities our project and its aims, a relationship that has also given way to openness for training or internship opportunities). Heritage, this, which will become a reference plan for the Spazio Plus project.”
A project that, today more than ever, is deeply needed.
As specified by the Italian Red Cross (CRI) Rome, in fact, in the three-year period 2019-2020-2021, according to reports from UNAR (National Office for Antidiscrimination in Defense of Racial Differences) and Istat, 26 percent of people who declare themselves homosexual or bisexual say that their sexual orientation has been a disadvantage in their career path, with 12.6 percent who did not show up for a job interview or did not apply for fear of a hostile or intolerant environment.
“About 1 in 3 people report episodes of outing, that is, non-consensual disclosure to third parties of their sexual orientation, while 40.3 percent have avoided talking about their private life in order to keep their sexual orientation hidden.” explains CRI. “Particularly widespread is the phenomenon of micro-aggressions in the current/last job related to sexual orientation, in fact, 61.8 percent report having experienced at least one such incident by people in the work environment, in their current or last employment. The most frequent experiences involve the use of offensive or derogatory language, taunting, questions about sex life, unwelcome sexual acts.”
In 2019 alone, already 5.1 percent of companies have adopted at least one measure, not compulsory by law, aimed at supporting and sustaining the inclusion of LGBTQIA+ workers: a significant step forward that Red Cross hopes to fortify further, extending the focus on different plans: “We believe that a cultural change is fundamental and to this end we advocate how necessary are training activities on LGBTQIA+ issues dedicated to different actors (employers, health workers, teachers, public employees, etc.), but above all more general initiatives of education, information and awareness to be carried out also in schools.”
A good starting point, then, which can and should be taken as an example by other Red Crosses in other countries