League senators furious over transgender Q&A with kids

The far-right League’s famously hardline conservative senator Simone Pillon was left outraged after a transgender actor and former politician spoke to schoolchildren about gender identity for a TV show.

League senators furious over transgender Q&A with kids
Anti-gay rights activists protest in Rome with a sign saying 'We are all born from a man and a woman'. Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP

Actor Vladimir Luxuria spoke to the group of 9-12 year olds for RAI3 show Alla Lavagna! (At the Blackboard), on which adults are quizzed by a classroom full of youngsters, often on controversial or “adult” themes like politics, religion and now, sexuality.

The show is well-known in Italy for the thoughtful and sometimes challenging questions posed by children to adult participants, who have previously included League leader Matteo Salvini.

Luxuria told the children of the “deep sadness” she'd felt as an adolescent, being born a boy but identifying strongly as female.

Pillon reportedly slammed the Q&A session as “shameful indoctrination” and said Luxuria “should go and tell her fairytale somewhere else, definitely not in a school with kids in front of the cameras.”

He said he would be filing a complaint about the contents of the show with the broadcaster’s parliamentary oversight committee.

Pillone is not the only one to complain about the show, with the channel receiving a high number of complaints after the programme was aired and drawing criticsm from conservative Christian groups like ProVita and Generazione Famiglia.
The show was also described as “unacceptable” by Paolo Tiramani, League minister and member of the Rai Parliamentary committee, who said the topic was “too complex” for the children and that such private matters “must remain private.”
It's no surprise that the party, which rules in coalition with the Five Star Movement, has reacted so strongly to the programme.
The League has given conservative Catholics several prominent government roles, notably new Families Minister Lorenzo Fontana, who upon his appointment swiftly declared that same-sex parents “don't exist at the moment, as far as the law is concerned” and expressed his preference for what he called “natural” families with one mother and one father.
Salvini meanwhile has pushed for the wording to be changed on childrens' identity cards from “parents” to “mother and father”. But his attempt to give preference to heterosexual couples was blocked by data protection rules.

Pillon meanwhile, also a family lawyer, proposed sweeping reforms to Italy's divorce and custody laws that opponents fear will make it harder for women to leave marriages and place survivors of domestic abuse at continued risk.

While Italy does not recognise gay marriage or the parental rights it would guarantee, at a local level various Italian cities have begun allowing same-sex couples to legally register their children to both parents, a move towards de facto acknowledgement.

Italy scores poorly when it comes to LGBT rights, particulary with equality and non-discrimination, according to rights group Rainbow Europe.


Italy’s Draghi criticises Germany over latest energy plan

Outgoing Italian PM Mario Draghi condemned Germany’s €200-billion energy-prices shield, saying EU ‘must act together’.

Italy's Draghi criticises Germany over latest energy plan

Outgoing Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and his likely successor have criticised Germany’s 200-billion move to shield its citizens from rising energy prices, saying Europe must act together to tackle the energy crisis.

“Faced with the common threats of our times, we cannot divide ourselves according to the amount of room in our national budgets,” Draghi said in a press release on Thursday.

READ ALSO: Electricity bills in Italy to rise by 59 percent, warns power regulator

The statement came after Germany introduced a 200-billion ($194-billion) shield to protect households and businesses from soaring energy prices, 

The measure was Germany’s move in what the country’s Finance Minister Christian Lindner described as an “energy war over prosperity and freedom” with Russia.

“The energy crisis requires a response from Europe to reduce costs for families and businesses, to limit exceptional gains made by producers and importers, […] and to keep Europe united once against in the face of an emergency,” Draghi said, commenting on Germany’s move.

At a meeting of EU energy ministers in Brussels on Friday, Italy’s Roberto Cingolani reiterated Rome’s support for an EU-wide cap on the price of gas – something Draghi has long been calling for.

“Everyone has recognised that there is a priority at the moment, which is to bring down the cost of gas. But there is also a second priority, [that is] to avoid creating a shortage of gas in doing so,” Cingolani said.

READ ALSO: Portofino mayor offers residents €400 to offset energy bills

Draghi will only be in office for a few more weeks, after which he will likely be replaced by Giorgia Meloni, whose far-right Brothers of Italy party triumphed at last Sunday’s elections.

Like Draghi, Meloni has backed the idea of a European price cap thus far. 

Ahead of Friday’s energy meeting in Brussels, the soon-to-be new Italian PM also appeared to criticise Germany as she called for “an immediate European response” to the energy crisis.

“No member state can offer effective and long-term solutions on its own in the absence of a common strategy, not even those that appear less financially vulnerable,” she added.