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Is traveling to Italy as an LGBTQ person dangerous?

Italy is undeniably one of the favourite destinations for straight travellers all over the world, but the same cannot be said for the LGBTQ collective. In this article we examine the viability of Italy as a holiday destination for the queer traveler departing from recent news and addressing the point of view of queer Italians.

Picture by Elena Aquila/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

A homophobic aggression

A few weeks ago, on April 6th, 2018, 21-year-old Firenze-born Federico suffered a homophobic aggression on his way back home on the surroundings of Tiburtina train station in Rome, Italy.

According to the police statement, Federico was on his way to the train station after work around 6pm when he was stopped, beaten, and insulted by a group of four young men of far-right aesthetic — one of which had a Celtic cross tattoo on the back of his neck according to the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, a symbol widely known for its association with the nazi swastika.

They threatened Federico with a knife to his neck and stole his possessions while aggressing him with homophobic slurs. The aftermath of the aggression provoked Federico’s hospitalization for nearly a week, but he is already out and his life is currently not at risk.

This kind of homophobic act is not the first one happening in Italy, a country historically known for their connection to the Vatican, but it is not the norm.

 

Is traveling to Italy dangerous?

With the objective of analyzing the viability of traveling to Italy as a member of the LGBTQ collective, we have decided to get in touch with two Italian LGBTQ travel experts: LGBTQ activist and Rainbow Tours guide Emanuele Cellini, and gaynews.it blogger Giuseppe Giulio, who is also an IGLTA member.

During our conversation with Cellini, he made very clear that “this is very serious matter and it’s reflective of Italy’s long way to go towards real equality”. In Italy “there are still people who believe that, if the LGBTQ collective gained rights, both freedom of speech and democracy as a whole would be at stake”, explains Cellini, “and this is exactly why there is no specific law against LGBTQ-phobia in Italy”.

However, “Italian society is responding in an empathetic and inclusive way with the LGBTQ community, even more than actual authorities, although [the authorities] are already looking for Federico’s attackers”.

The LGBTQ Italian collective appears increasingly “strong and united”, according to Giuseppe Giulio from gaynews.it, and there is an increasing number of LGBTQ people, institutions, and citizen groups actively participating in the “big cultural change” that is affecting Rome.

Picture: Arcigay

Even though “underestimating these [violent] episodes” would imply “legitimizing their existence”, as Cellini explains, “Italy is showing an increase in open-mindedness towards the LGBTQ collective”. This means that the array of cultural and leisure offers for the LGBTQ community is increasing in Italy, according to Giulio. 

 

What can I do in Italy as an LGBTQ person?

Nowadays, Italy is starting to become a popular destination for the LGBTQ community, and “there are plenty of things to do here for the LGTB community [near] the Colosseum”, explains Giulio. “There is a small gay street with bars, hotels, and restaurants, all managed by an incredible LGBTQ staff”.

If you would like to get to know the beauty of Rome side by side with a private gay tour guide who knows every secret of the city, here at Rainbow Gay Tours we can help! Take a look at our Rome city tour site and drop us an email at info@rainbowgaytours.com for more information.

Italy is close to becoming one of the most popular LGBTQ destinations in Southern Europe. Discover Rome before any of your friends with Rainbow Gay Tours!