Alessandro Zan Italy transgender President Alessandro Zan Italy

How a bill to fight homophobia has polarised Italy and sparked a culture war

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Alessandro Zan, an LGBT rights activist, who was troubled by a rising wave of homophobic and transphobic attacks.At present, the section of Italy’s penal code that specifically outlaws hate crimes and discrimination – or the "Mancino law", dating back to 1993 – only explicitly mentions “racial, ethnic, national or religious” motives.The Zan bill would thus add five new categories: sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability.Acts of discrimination on such grounds could land offenders an 18-month prison sentence or a €6,000 fine.

Violent crimes could attract four years of incarceration.The bill in its current form would also serve a quasi-pedagogical purpose, alongside its more obvious aim of protecting minority groups.

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