Venice has voted to ban teaching about LGBTI people in schools and Milan may be next, Gay Star News has learned.
The votes are a reaction to plans to introduce same-sex civil partnership in Italy and can even be linked to Russian influence.
The motion put forward by the Venice region’s parliament tries to forbid the teaching of gender equality and respect for LGBTI people in schools.
It was passed by a vote of 24 to nine on 1 September by the Regional Council of Veneto – an area with a total population of 4.8 million.
The council does not formally control what is taught in schools as that is ordered by Italy’s national government.
But the ruling is designed to scare and pressure teachers so they don’t include positive LGBTI education, says Mattia Stella, president of local group Arcigay in another Veneto city, Vicenza.
The motion claims teaching about LGBTI people and ‘gender ideology’ is destabilizing and dangerous for students.
It singles out England and Australia as countries where this is taught, saying that has led to pedophilia, children being sexualized, porn addiction among young people, unwanted pregnancy, emotional problems and low self-esteem.
It was pushed through by right-wing party Lega (also called Liga and Lega-Nord).
Stella told GSN: ‘The situation in this region is getting worse and worse because we are ruled by Lega which is a very homophobic party and they have mayors putting pressure on LGBT people.
‘We have a civil partnership bill that is going to be discussed in the Senate of Italy quite soon.
‘What really scares these right-wing and Catholic groups is the civil partnership bill. They are worried about what happened in Ireland in the referendum and also about a new poll showing for the first time that the majority of people in Italy support gay marriage.
‘They are using one motto against gays: Protect your children. It is the same motto that was used in Russia before the bills against propaganda. It is all part of the same agenda.
‘The previous ambassador of Russia in the UN toured Italy, promoting the Russian propaganda law. That was supported by Lega and in 2013 he spoke at the Lega conference.’
The next target appears to be the Lombard region, home to 10 million people, whose capital is Milan.
Lega is the biggest party in a conservative coalition government there and wants to pass the same motion as it voted through in Veneto.
It comes as Milan hosts a major, six-month long, international expo, with 140 participating countries, ending on 31 October.
That makes the development even more ‘disgraceful and unacceptable’, says Stella.