EU road to equality 'long and complicated'

LGBTI community in Europe must 'walk through' hard times towards 'new and open political Europe', says Daniele Viotti.

By Daniele Viotti MEP

17 Jul 2014

"Ongoing commitment to the EU agenda in the area of non-discrimination and equality - I pledge to support programmes that ensure continued EU funding for effective and necessary action to combat discrimination and promote equality on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression."

This is the tenth of the 10 point pledge ILGA Europe, the advocacy group promoting the interests of the LGBTI community, submitted to the candidate of the European parliament.

I signed this document not only because I am a gay, and I have been fighting a decennial battle as an activist for civil rights, but also because I think that the future of Europe is strictly connected to the development of social equality.

We have to walk through these hard times with no fear. I am Italian and, as you may know, Italy is a very strange country. It's a country where people are able to vote the same conservative politicians year after year, right-winged extremists, who fear everything outside their narrow minded horizon.

Parties still sitting in our parliament, such as the Lega Nord, Forza Italia and Nuovo Centro Destra - a new political subject established by ex-Berlusconi congresspersons who sit in government with the Democratic Party – who are used to build very harsh social politics against gays.

They advocate no marriages, no family recognitions, no heritages, and no adoptions. The right-wing of the parliament encouraged this homophobic attitude; they embody the strong and machist aspects of politics, reinforcing the stereotype making it stronger and stronger.

"Parties still sitting in our parliament, such as the Lega Nord, Forza Italia and Nuovo Centro Destra... who are used to build very harsh social politics against gays"

 

Obviously, they are supported by the most conservative representatives in the Vatican. Every year, in Rome, the Catholics organise a national initiative called 'the family day', where people meet to assert that the traditional family is the only type of family that can be officially and legally recognised.

The road to equality is still long and complicated; even if their votes collapsed during the last years. Those parties are still able to ensure congressmen and congresswomen speak-out about the need to fence genders and sexual orientations, through the mainstream mass-media lobby.

Massimo Buonanno, a Lega Nord MEP, recently stated the will to ban gay people from kissing in public in Borgosesia, a small town in Piedmont where he is the mayor. As a gay man, a civil right activist, and an S&D group MEP who believes in social equality as a key value of the left and most of all, as a civil human being who lives in the contemporary world, I replied to him in an official note.

The note stated, "This new decree is just the latest, pathetic publicity stunt by a narrow-minded man who desperately wants to be in the spotlight. Mr Buonanno is only able to give a voice to all the worst values that, unfortunately, are still circulating in Europe. As always, he is focusing his political frustrations on citizens who are more vulnerable to discrimination, in this case LGBTI people. It would be an interesting psychological exercise to ask why Mr Buonanno is so obsessed with homosexuality."

I think Buonanno's positions are unacceptable not only from a left-wing perspective, but also from a conservative. If David Cameron said he allowed gay marriages because he stands for families as he is a conservative, we have to consider Buonanno's position anti-historical.

Luckily, as the Lega North is a non-attached party, he will not play any role in the constitution of a new and open political Europe.

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