Italian boy kills himself over anti-gay bullying

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Italian boy kills himself over anti-gay bullying
Politicians and activists are calling for tougher anti-homophobia laws. Photo: AFP

Politicians and gay rights groups are calling for toughter punishments for those involved in hate crimes against homosexuals after a 14-year-old boy in Rome committed suicide after being bullied for being gay.


The suicide comes a few weeks after Italy’s Parliament began debating a bill that would make homophobia a criminal offence.

The boy wrote a letter saying: “I’m homosexual, nobody understands my drama and I do not know how to make my family accept it”, before throwing himself from a balcony in Rome’s San Basilio district, La Repubblica reported.

In the letter, he said he decided to take his own life after being bullied and teased by his peers, as well as excluded by a group of friends.

A number of young Italians have committed suicide in the past year after struggling with their sexuality. A 15-year-old boy hung himself in the bathroom of his grandparents’ house in Rome last November, while a 16-year-old attempted suicide by jumping out of the window of his school during break-time.

Laura Boldrini, Italy’s speaker of the lower house of parliament, on Sunday night led calls for politicians to decide on a law that is aligned with most other EU countries.

“The tragic story of a 14-year-old-boy who took his own life in Rome, because he did not feel accepted as a homosexual, is a new, dramatic cry of pain that arrives at the institutions and politics,” she said in a statement.

An investigation, led by Prosecutor Pierfilippo Laviani, will focus on whether anyone was aware of the boy’s troubles and if he had been a victim of cyberbullying.

Flavio Romani, president of Arcigay, an LGBT rights group said, called on politicians to “take responsibility”.

"The news of the 14-year-old who took his own life because he could not stand to be mocked and marginalized for his homosexuality immerses us in a terrible pain," he told La Repubblica.

Romani also pointed to the recent murder of Andrea, a 28-year-old transsexual, whose body was found at Rome’s Termini train station.

“Why is this the reality?” he said.

Franco Grillini, president of Gaynet Italy, an online LGBT group, said the latest suicide reflects the urgency to put a law in place that would stipulate tougher sentences for those involved in hate crimes against homosexuals and transexuals.

The debate, which began in July, will resume in September.

“I wonder how many victims are still needed to overcome the resistance of those who do not want a law of this kind?” he told La Repubblica.

The anti-homophobic bill was last debated, and rejected, by Italy in 2011. 


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