An Arcigay float at the 2010 Rome Pride Parade. (Pic: Blackcat)

Italy’s leading LGBT rights group has called on the international community to help it address a spate of homophobic incidents in the country.

In a letter, Arcigay described a “a new wave of homophobia” which it said is making the country “unsafe for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual people”.

“Every day, we are seeing a growing number of hate crimes being committed against people because of their sexual orientation and their gender identity,” said the organisation.

It noted that in the last two months, it had recorded a number of cases across the country of lesbian and gay people and couples being threatened, assaulted or exposed to public ridicule just because they were walking hand by hand, kissing or standing outside LGBT bars.

Arcigay highlighted a number of recent incidents:

In Ostia, a seaside town near Rome, a gay couple was forced out of a beach resort after other people complained that they were kissing.

In Milan, in the last month alone, the organisation’s local branch said that it had recorded five assaults on gay people, who were attacked and beaten simply because they were standing outside LGBT bars or public meeting spaces.

A homosexual couple in Tuscany and another in Sardinia who were kissing on the beach were targeted and passers-by threatened to call the police if they didn’t stop.

In another incident in Pesaro, two young gay people were assaulted and beaten outside a gay bar and required medical treatment.

In addition, Arcigay said that LGBT bars and pubs throughout the country “are being systematically harassed” with unreasonable controls and exposed to constant and obsessive audits by different authorities.

It further claimed that outdoor venues where gay people meet have been raided by the local police, fenced off or even closed down by local authorities.

“LGBT people in Italy are beginning to live in an intolerable climate of fear,” said Arcigay, urging international groups and individuals to raise the issue with the Italian government.

While homosexuality is legal in Italy, there is no provision for the recognition of same-sex relationships. Adoption by same-sex couples is also not allowed.

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