A hotel in southern Italy is under fire for having a flamboyant looking gay toilet icon on the premises.
The Local reports that the establishment, in the town of Cavallino in the province of Lecce, has three, rather the usual two or single unisex toilet icons.
One is a blue male figure, another is a pink female figure and the third is a half blue and pink figure, which appears to be in an offensive stereotypical “gay” or “camp” pose.
Some also see the gay symbol as scratching its head in apparent confusion. The figures have the words, female, male and gay, written under them.
The owner claims that the signs were there when the hotel was bought. They said the gay symbol was painted over but has since become visible, and insisted that there was no intention to offend anyone. The owner promised to cover it up again.
The icon has been widely criticised as mocking the LGBTQ community, in particular transgender people who have long lobbied for inclusive toilets.
The issue of transgender toilet use has become a divisive one in many countries with conservative groups seeing it as a threat to traditional gender roles and identities.
Italian LGBT rights lobby group Associazione LeA was among those to slam the use of the symbol by the hotel.
“It is frankly shocking that in 2017 there are still cases of this kind, where there is a great confusion between gender identity and sexual orientation,” stated the organisation.
A spokesman said that the icon was “misleading and homophobic” and “only humiliates and hurts people”.
Italy was one of the last Western European nations to acknowledge same-sex relationships, although not embracing full marriage equality. It was only in May last year that lawmakers voted to pass a civil union bill in parliament.