Italy Rocked By ‘Gay’ Suicide

ROME – Italy has been rocked by the suicide of a teenager who was subjected to anti-gay taunts at school.
“They can’t accept me because I’m different,” the 16-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said in a note before throwing himself out of a window earlier this week.
Although the student’s sexuality is still a mystery, gay movements and leftwing parties urged Education Minister Giuseppe Fioroni to do something to combat an alleged rise in homophobia in school and society at large.
Two of the Communist parties in Premier Romano Prodi’s centre-left government claimed the reported rise in anti-gay feeling was linked to the Catholic Church’s campaign to stop cohabiting gays getting civil and economic rights as partners in a pact called Dico.
On Friday Italy’s gay association Arcigay and the national union of school and university students announced a ‘Stop Homophobia’ Day on April 11 and urged Minister Fioroni not to attend a Church-backed ‘Family Day’ against draft Dico legislation next month.
Ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party urged politicians not to score anti-Dico points, “consciously or not,” in the wake of the tragedy.
“Pro and anti-Dico politicians can only express disgust at what happened”.
The Vatican has not commented on the case.
According to Italy’s Gay Help Line, more than one third of the calls it gets are from students distressed by taunting and bullying at school.
On Friday homophobic graffiti was sprayed across the front of a well-known gay and lesbian bookshop in Milan.
Also on Friday, the Rome chapter of Arcigay claimed that local priests were pressuring mothers to have their gay children exorcised.
Arcigay also complained about RAI state TV broadcaster news reports implying that the dead boy was picked on not because he was gay but because he was seen as a ‘swot’.
The dead student, of Italian and Filipino origin, was reportedly top of his class.
Teachers described him as “particularly sensitive”.
The head of the school told Italian TV that he had only complained once of bullying, at the start of last year.
from ANSA

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