| 12.3°C Dublin

Close

Premium


A law banning homophobia is convulsing Italy's bishops and far-right

Paddy Agnew


Italian liberals want to better protect the LGBT community but they find prejudice runs deep

Close

CHANGE: Pope Francis says “who am I to judge?” on gays

CHANGE: Pope Francis says “who am I to judge?” on gays

AP

CHANGE: Pope Francis says “who am I to judge?” on gays

Ivan Scalfarotto, junior minister at the Italian foreign ministry and someone who has long campaigned for gay rights, is a rare bird in Italian political life: namely he openly declares himself gay.

He pointed out to the Sunday Independent last week that, of 945 deputies who sit in the Lower House, he is one of only three who have "come out", adding that not a single female deputy calls herself lesbian. Statistically, three out of 945 seems unrealistically low.

If a 2012 survey by national research body ISTAT reported that one million Italians (out of about 60 million, ie 1.66pc) declared themselves gay or bisexual then the figure for the deputies should be at least 12, if not more, but certainly not three. That 2012 figure, too, is probably an underestimation of the real number of gays.