A young gay couple say they were relaxing in the pool at a local beach resort when a staff member harassed them.
The 17-year-old and 18-year-old say they were recently “intimidated” by a lifeguard at the Lido Arcobaleno beach resort in Caserta, in the Campania region of southwestern Italy, after sharing a brief hug in the water.
“We were in the pool like everyone else,” one of the teens told Repubblica. “While we were in the water, like everyone else present, we also embraced, a spontaneous embrace, but we are two men and it was not appreciated.”
The lifeguard allegedly approached the couple and demanded they stop hugging as “there are children present in the facility.” He then asked them to be more “composed.”
The couple said several other couples were in the water, as well, but none of them were asked to refrain from hugging. The other couples were all, coincidentally, straight.
LGBTQ activist Bernardo Diana said that despite laws that promise equal rights for gay couples, antigay discrimination still happens on a regular basis in Italy, pointing to another resort in the area that recently refused a room to a same-sex couple because the host “does not rent to animals or gays.”
A rep for the Lido Arcobaleno beach resort denied allegations of homophobia, telling Repubblica that the lifeguard only intervened because other pool-goers complained about the couple.