The ILGA-Europe’s Rainbow report is an annual evaluation of the legal and policy situation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT+) individuals in the European Union. It ranks the countries according to various criteria, such as non-discrimination, equality, and hate crime.

In 2022, Italy was 33rd out of the European Union’s 49 member states. This means that the country is one of the most intolerant environments for LGBTQ+ individuals.

Zan Legislation

In 2018, a member of Parliament for the Italian Democratic Party, Alessandro Zan, drafted a law protecting LGBTQ+ individuals from hate crimes and discrimination. 

In June 2021, a young student was attacked by seven individuals in Pescara, Abruzzo, after he held hands with his partner. After the incident, the student had jaw surgery and required a recovery period of over 30 days. The incident highlighted the need for concrete measures to prevent hate crimes and discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals. 

In the past 25 years, various attempts have been made to create laws that criminalize acts of transphobia and homophobia. However, some groups, such as the Italian episcopal conference and pro-life organizations, are against these laws.

Many members of Italy’s LGBTQ community criticized the Senate’s decision to reject the Zan bill, reflecting a backward step in the country’s evolution toward equality. 

Population Data

A study conducted in 2020-2021 by the Istat-UNAR revealed that about one in five individuals who identify as LGBTQ feel that their sexual orientation has affected their professional development.

The study also revealed that about one in five individuals who were employed or previously employed in Italy experienced a hostile work environment due to their sexual orientation. The incidence of aggressive behavior was higher among women than men.

Individuals in a civil union in Italy who identify as bisexual or homosexual are more likely to experience threats to their sexual orientation. The figure is 3.3 percent for women and 4.1 percent for men. 

Almost 70% of people in Italy avoid holding hands with their partners of the same sex out of fear of being attacked, threatened, or harassed. This behavior is more common among men than women.

Conclusion

The journey to reaching equality in Italy is going to be challenging. Nevertheless, it is essential to keep fighting and voicing awareness of the issue. The rejection of the Zan bill should not be seen as a defeat but a stepping stone to achieving the enjoyment of LGBTQ+ rights, which represent fundamental human rights.