Since the triumph of the right-wing alliance in Italy’s general election, advocates for women and the LGBTQ community are worried about their future.
Many fear far-right leader Giorgia Meloni, who is set to become the next Prime Minister, could adopt anti-queer and anti-abortion policies.
She gained prominence with a 2019 speech declaring “I am a Giorgia, I am a mother, I am Christian, and you cannot take that away from me.”
Her party’s program states it is against marriage equality, gay parents adopting children, and surrogate motherhood.
Alessia Crocini is President of Italy’s Rainbow Families, an association with 5,000 members.
She had to go outside Italy with her former partner to get artificial insemination treatment so they could have a child together.
But back in Italy, only her partner, who gave birth to her son, is recognized as his parent. Crocini has no legal rights as the parent of her son under Italian law.
“It is terrible news that we were expecting,” she said about the victory of Giorgia Meloni and the Brothers of Italy party.
“The polls were clear. But when something like this materializes, becomes real, it is pretty shocking.”
Crocini said following the victory she began receiving messages from members of her association. “There are people who I do not know who today are writing to me on Instagram ‘I am afraid’, ‘I don’t know what to do’, ‘I am very worried’, I want to cry,” she said.
Italy ranks 23rd in the EU when it comes to protections for LGBTQ people. It is the only major country in Western Europe that is yet to legalise same-sex marriage
After many failed attempts to find a legal path for homosexuals to marry, in 2016 the Italian parliament approved a law on “civil unions” between couples of the same sex.
The law does not grant the same rights as same sex marriage, denying them any parental rights and making it impossible for homosexual couples to adopt.
Fears over women’s rights in Italy
Other activists fear that Meloni’s stance will impact women’s access to abortions.
In the eastern region of Marche, which has been governed by Meloni’s party for a few years, abortion rights have already been eroding on the local level.
The small town of Ascoli remains the only place where women can receive an abortion because many doctors refuse to carry out the procedure in the area due to ethical beliefs.
“We have plenty of stories like these, too many. Elsewhere, women are forced to move to another region, others have to get an illegal abortion, some go abroad or other women dont even have the option of an abortion,” explained a family planning officer in Ascoli.
Certain experts fear that Meloni’s future policies could bring a general setback for civil rights.
“I think the single most dangerous element of Giorgia Meloni is not a return to fascism in Italy but a cutting down of civil rights for women, for gay people, for people who are not white immigrants,” said Alain Fridman, a US political analyst in an interview with Euronews.
“I think Giorgia Meloni has a social policy that is perfectly similar to Donald Trump… I think she will take away or try to take away many civil rights”