Accusations of homophobia have resurfaced in southern Italy after a teenage couple were told they could not hug in public at a beach resort in Caserta last Friday.
A 17-year-old and an 18-year-old man were “intimidated” by the life guard at the Lido Arcobaleno beach resort in Caserta, in the Campania region, while they hugged in the pool.
“We were in the pool like everyone else,” one of the young men, who was not named in the story, 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 17-year-old Caserta resident says the lifeguard then approached and asked them to refrain from hugging as “there are children present in the facility.” The lifeguard asked the young men to remain more “composed.”
The couple told Il Fatto Quotidiano that the lifeguard later approached them as they were leaving to say that “he would have asked the same restraint of heterosexual couples,” although the two young men in question point out that there were dozens of mixed couples who were not asked to refrain from hugging.
Bernardo Diana, president of the Caserta regional branch of Rain Arcigay, an LGBT activist group, said that despite the law ensuring equal rights for gay couples, such discrimination continues.
Diana called on the government to outlaw sexual discrimination with new legislation. The activist recalled the recent case of a gay couple in nearby Calabria who were refused a room because the host “does not rent to animals or gays.”