Teen brutally beaten by own uncle for carrying rainbow scarf in Italy

Italy : A 'Stop Homophobia' sign at a Pride parade in Padua

A 16-year-old in Italy was beaten so severely by his own uncle that he broke four ribs, all for having a rainbow scarf on his bag, rights groups have said.

On 17 May, which was also International Day Against Homophobia Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT), the teenager left his home in Cosenza, a city in Calabria, Italy, to hang out with friends.

Before leaving, he tied a rainbow scarf to his backpack, according to Silvio Cilento, president of the anti-mafia civil rights charity ARCI Cosenza.

On his way, he was spotted by his uncle who was driving. His uncle parked his car, before telling his young nephew: “We don’t want gay people in our family.”

“He slaps him first, which then turns into a punch, and immediately after a kick, a series of kicks,” wrote Cilento on Facebook.

“Not satisfied, the uncle calls three other men to help him. The result: four broken ribs, deviated nasal septum, and various other injuries.”

Cilento said the teenager was then loaded into his uncle’s care and driven back to his house, before being told: “Now you’ll die at home.”

For the boy’s own protection, and because he is a minor, Cilento said neither he or ARCI would be providing more specific details. He said the 16-year-old had been treated in hospital, and that police and social workers had been notified.

He continued: “Physically the boy is better, he will bounce back. Emotionally and psychologically, I don’t dare to imagine how he is. Maybe I don’t want to imagine.

“I am sharing this incident with all of you to remind you how necessary and important it is to talk about gender-based violence, LGBTQ+ issues, gender identity and sexual orientation.

“To make you understand how necessary [IDAHOBIT is]. To give you a good reason to go down to the square and work, work, work for initiatives against hate and violence.

“To give you one more reason.”

In a later post, ARCI Cosenza added: “We don’t want to exploit the tragic event, but to start constructive actions our region.

“Our only hope is that what happened will make you reflect, and mobilise as many forces as possible to prevent such acts.”

There is currently no federal legislation against anti-LGBTQ+ hate crimes in Italy.

In November, 2020, Italy’s lower house approved a bill to extend anti-racism laws to ban discrimination and hate crimes on the basis of sex, sexual orientation and gender identity.

Sadly, following opposition from the Catholic Church and the far-right, the bill died in the senate in October, 2021.

Although hate crime laws have been enacted in several regions throughout Italy, Calabria is not one of them.