Rome

Italian equal opportunity minister preparing gay protections

Josefa Idem says sensitizing not enough, more rights needed

Italian equal opportunity minister preparing gay protections

Rome, June 4 - Italian Equal Opportunity and Sports Minister Josefa Idem reiterated that she was working on presenting a law against homophobia on Tuesday. Her comments came after the House unanimously approved adoption of the Istanbul Convention on combating violence against women on last Tuesday - a measure Idem has pushed for since she became minister five weeks ago. "From the beginning of my mandate I have spoken of a law against homophobia and when we have studied it, we will present it," said Idem on the sidelines of Rome initiative against homophobia hosted by the prime minister's office, which involved school children. Idem also said that preparing the law was a complex process and she did not know when it would be ready. In her address to the audience, Idem said, "Unfortunately the (economic) crisis increases the propensity toward violence against those who are different. One must sensitize (people) on this subject and on the LGBT world," making reference to the abbreviation for the lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender community. At the basis of the violence, she said, was "ignorance" deep inside people. "It is important, therefore, to count on young people, to train them to be sensitive regarding stereotypes and to value diversity, which isn't seen as enriching. Congratulations, therefore, to the entire scholastic world that got involved (in this initiative)....But sensitizing is not enough. One must aim very much at rights. And measures must be much more effective regarding the excesses of homophobia".

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