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Italy's 'macho, homophobic' culture persists, says Speaker

Boldrini says rights must be guaranteed

17 May, 15:29
Italy's 'macho, homophobic' culture persists, says Speaker (ANSA) - Rome, May 17 - Italy is still overrun by a widespread "macho and homophobic culture," the country's House Speaker said on the International Day Against Homophobia Friday.

It is a culture that reduces "women to objects and homosexuals to caricatures, making them isolated groups who are simply tolerated as long they do not claim their rights and their identity," Boldrini said.

When women and homosexuals ask for their rights to be respected is when they become open to "attacks at all levels, verbal and physical," Boldrini, a centre-left former United Nations refugee chief, said.

According to Boldrini, homophobia is fought in three ways. "By implementing more guarantees for rights, punishing perpetrators of homophobic violence or aggression and by battling cultural prejudices and stereotypes," Boldrini said.

Recognizing women's and homosexuals' rights "does not mean stripping them from others," she said.

"Are we equal or not? The Constitution says we are," Boldrini said.

The International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) was set up in 2004 to mark the day in 1990 when homosexuality was removed from the International Classification of Diseases of the World Health Organization (WHO).