Culture And Media

Italy: Security forces to launch Gay association

Turin, 2 Sept. (AKI) - Gay members of Italy's security forces will "come out" later this month and launch their own association, the first of its kind in the country, Italian media reported on Tuesday.

The Open Polis association will launch in the northern Italian city of Bologna on 26 September. Membership is open to gay men and women from the police, the paramilitary Carabinieri and tax police, as well as the army and the air force.

"For many of us in uniform, the worry is not violent physical attacks, but blatant discrimination, and daily 'macho' jokes and language," said Open Polis President Nicola Cicchitti, who serves with Italy's tax police, quoted by Italian daily, Corriere della Sera.

"The entry of women into the police and army has altered this macho culture somewhat, but hasn't been able to get rid of it," Cicchitti said.

Some 200 gay members of Italy's security forces have so far applied to join Open Polis, which will hold a series of talks and elect regional delegates when it meets in Bologna.

A key goal of the association will be to change attitudes towards gay men and women in the security forces and set up groups to train colleagues in handling crimes against gays.

Open Polis is following the example of equivalent associations that have already been up other European countries, such as Spain's Gaylespol.

The association organises anti-gay discrimination courses for the Civil Guard - the counterpart of Italy's Carabinieri or France's Gendarmerie.

The awareness-raising courses are run by gay Civil Guard members.




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