A Step Backwards: Italy Rejecting a Bill Against Homophobia

Picture of By Asiah Capponi

By Asiah Capponi

The Oxford Dictionary defines phobia as a strong unreasonable fear of something. There surely are many things we could be scared of, like falling down the stairs and breaking our neck, finding ourselves in a room full of spiders, or drowning because we are unable to swim. I could go on like this and make a very long list, and then I could hand it to someone else so that they could add their fears and the list would become increasingly longer. Over the years I have learned that we are all different, we all have different skills and abilities, and we all fear different things or situations. However, we shouldn’t have fear of other humans simply based on the fabric that makes them who they are. 

Who We Are vs. Who We Decide To Be

Homophobia literally means ‘fear of men’, which might sound crazy at first, why should we be scared of each other? Aren’t we all similar, living and connecting on this planet? However, when I think about it I understand that some people do actually scare us, for instance, a young girl walking home alone at night might be afraid of the man walking behind her. At some point, we were all afraid of one of our teachers, and I think many people have been afraid of powerful figures like Adolf Hitler or Benito Mussolini. We can be afraid of each other after all. But the deeper I reflect on it, the more I realize that we fear more what a person could do to us, rather than the person itself. Then the question I would like to raise is:

what is a person that identifies as homosexual doing to you? Are they hurting you? Do they frighten you? What is it that you are truly fearing?

Personally, I really don’t think that something a person simply is, which is different from what a person decides to be, should be feared at all, but rather be accepted and supported.


Homosexuality has been part of societies well before we might think, proof has been found that the Greeks and Romans considered it as a normal part of civilization. However, in today’s world, same-sex attraction is seen as something to be feared by many people. Only in 1989 same-sex unions were made possible for the first time ever, in Denmark; and it took almost ten years longer to legalize civil unions between people of the same sex, in Catalonia, on June 30th, 1998. Some countries still don’t recognize them, while some others have slowly made progress, such as Italy, where same-sex unions were only legalized in 2016. I suppose that it’s better late than never… 

After years of fights and protests, the country’s decision-makers finally made a good decision. It seemed like Italy was heading in the right direction, even Pope Francis showed his support of love in every kind and form. As an Italian, I was slowly starting to see the change in my country, which has characteristically always been protective of traditions and afraid of change. One might say that the Italian government has been change-phobic for an exceedingly long time. After all, why should we change a country that has so much history in its lands and so many traditions engraved on its buildings? This deep-rooted tradition is slowly leaving Italy years behind the rest of the world. 

Shameful Politics

On Wednesday, October 27th, 2021, the Italian Senate rejected a bill that would have considered every discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community as a hate crime. A video of the parliament became viral on social media, showing senators cheering and celebrating after the proposition of law was rejected.

When I saw the video, I immediately felt ashamed of my country. The land of people like Julius Caesar, Christopher Columbus, Galileo Galilei, and Michelangelo, a land with so much history and so much beauty, the home of many revolutionary characters and the place millions of people dream of visiting has failed us all. The Government of such a beautiful country has shown us that the power stands with them and they still live in a patriarchal world with a very closed mind. It’s worrying to think that the people we, Italians, gave the power of decision making to, have no idea what it means to make the world a better place. It should be their job, according to the Constitution, to ensure that everyone’s needs and interests are met. 

Perhaps we should consider that the issue lies at a deeper level, maybe the foundations this country has been built on are not the same that we can live by today. I am no politician, but sometimes I have the feeling that a normal person like me, a nobody, has a better idea of what is going on in people’s lives. People do want change. The new generations are ready to make change happen, they are ready to speak up and ask for it, but Italy gives us no space. The average age of people in parliament is around 48, despite the fact that at only 25, anyone can be elected as a deputates. Politics is old, and we all need someone to step up and take the lead, someone that won’t only make promises, but someone that will put them into practice. Today I’m ashamed of the country I call home, but I hope tomorrow I won’t have to be.   


Cover by: ekaterina

Edited by: Anna Rauxloh

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