MILAN — A wave of protests in Italy isn’t dying amid public outcry over LGBTQ rights and protections – and fashion players are speaking out.
Thousands of people gathered in Milan and Rome on Thursday to protest against the decision of the Italian Senate to block the “DDL Zan”, a bill against homotransphobia, which would have extended passages of the penal code which already punishes the discrimination and violence based on race, ethical and religious beliefs to also include sex, gender, sexual orientation and gender identity, and disability.
The bill has been at the center of public debate over the past year, as its passage by the Senate has been repeatedly delayed for months and its content has been fiercely opposed by right-wing parties.
On Wednesday, outrage erupted across the country as the Senate not only rejected the bill – thus rejecting the designation of discrimination and acts of violence against the LGBTQ community, people with disabilities and women, as crimes of hatred – while part of the political class loudly exclaimed to have succeeded in canceling it.
The triggering videos of the moment immediately spread on social networks, sparking strong reactions and mobilizations as in 24 hours associations for LGBTQ rights, including Arcigay, Sentinelli and Coordinamento Arcobaleno, invited crowds to show their disappointment in the street .
The fashion world reacted immediately and Italian designers, including Valentino’s creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli, Roberto Cavalli’s Fausto Puglisi and MSGM’s Massimo Giorgetti, took part and shared images of the protests in Rome and Milan. Many others, like Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele, Donatella Versace, Riccardo Tisci and Giuliano Calza of GCDS, have also taken to their respective personal Instagram accounts to speak out about what is happening in the country.
A photo posted by Michele just after the Senate’s decision read: “This is a very sad day for Italy. Shame on those who, today, have decided not to promote the emergence of a more inclusive society. Shame on those who today applauded the rejection of fundamental human rights.
Nearly 1,400 comments piled up under the post, including reactions from fellow designers like Marc Jacobs, Simon Porte Jacquemus and Roger Vivier’s creative director Gherardo Felloni, among many others.
Piccioli borrowed words from Italian director and poet Pier Paolo Pasolini to express his feelings in content on Instagram.
In a message, Piccioli appears with “DDL ZAN” written on his hand and poses in front of an illuminated banner with Pasolini’s quote “Non vogliamo essere subito già cosí senza sogni”, which translates in English to “We don’t want to be already without dreams like this.
“DDL Zan is a law that protects the dignity of every individual, and those who applauded today applauded a moral failure of this country. This is a strong signal, and strong must be the change we hope for a future where people, all of them, are at the center of the world. I am here, I will not move, I will use my voice even louder than before. My country is not the one that applauded today but the one that will lead the change tomorrow,” reads the caption that accompanies the image.
Pictured in the same pose as Piccioli, with her hand raised, Versace wrote: “It was deeply painful to witness what happened yesterday in the Italian Senate, especially at a time when the world is celebrating inclusion, the rights of LGBTQIA+ people, women and minorities of all kinds. The loss of #ddlzan is a defeat that affects us all. As an Italian citizen, I am ashamed of it. I will never stop lending my voice and d lend my support to the creation of a fair and equitable society.
While the image drew reactions from Christopher Kane and Ricky Martin, Versace also shared the video of the Senate applauding for blocking the bill in an Instagram Story, captioning it “Heartbreaking to watch.” This is not the example to follow.
The same images appeared on the profiles of other designers. Piccioli flanked it with another quote from Pasolini which read: “T’insegneranno a non splendere. E tu splendi, invece”, in English, “They will teach you not to shine. And you shine, instead.
Riccardo Tisci included a lengthy caption in an Instagram post, writing, “Thanks to a certain political class we lost the opportunity to be a civil state, we lost the opportunity to be a civilized people. They succeeded, they abandoned the DDL Zan, a law which concerned the civil rights of all, and that was not enough, they were also delighted to have succeeded, to have refused to be discriminated against. And that, you call it victory?
“I strongly dissociate myself from this victory, shouting it with all my breath. [lungs], I dissociate myself from these Italian politicians, I dissociate myself from these people who feel represented by this political class, I dissociate myself from this Italy. A political class that does not grasp the urgency of the present is destined to bury its nation, and today the present is called rights for all,” Tisci wrote.
“It is the Italian senators who have fun making this country a retrograde country, where LGBTQ youth have no value. Yet they are paid for by taxes of all colors,” Calza offered, while Sansovino 6 art director Edward Buchanan wrote, “Fascism in Italy is alive and well…Italy is not not interested in protecting LGBTQ people.
Giorgetti commented on the situation through a lengthy Instagram caption under a photo of an installation with the lettering “Where do we go from here?”
“I posted this same work almost six months ago: at the time, it was intended as a message of encouragement and hope, today it is the photograph of a dark moment, of a defeat. What happened yesterday in parliament should make us wonder about many things: how much work remains to be done, the distance between the part of the world we see on social networks, “our” social networks, and d ‘other places in society that we often get distracted or choose not to see,’ read Giorgetti’s caption.
Continuing, he writes: “If in the last decades we have had victories, rights and progress, it is not thanks to the institutional policy which was “forced” to recognize us when it could not be otherwise. It is thanks to those who have chosen to live their lives with courage, taking the risk of being themselves, even without protection. It belongs to those who have wanted to teach new things to loved ones, friends and family, overcoming the fear of being rejected. Of those who, by their testimony, wanted to expose themselves to show a way. From them (from us) we can start again, with a horizontal movement that will not stop, even if they have decreed a law. From them (to us) will come the change we deserve. It’s only a matter of time: the future is unwritten.
While more protests are planned across Italy over the weekend, Thursday’s protests illustrated the divide and distance between the political class and the people, and highlighted the growing cultural divide. deep between part of the older generations and the country’s youth, also fueled by the various media and sources of information to which they turn.
As noted, Bill DDL Zan was at the center of a case involving Italian rapper Fedez earlier this year. In a speech at a televised concert, Chiara Ferragni’s husband condemned homophobia and accused the right-wing Lega Nord party of obstructing the bill, as well as the attempted censorship by the national television channel Ray.
Piccioli, Versace and Giorgetti were among fashion figures who have already shown their support for the bill, as well as Fedez the day after his speech.