Media and LGBT+ discrimination: UK and Italy compared

The United Kingdom in the front line against discrimination

  • The British Embassy, in tackling the misuse of journalistic language on LGBT+ topics renews its partnership with the Circolo Mario Mieli, a non- profit organisation for LGBT+ Culture.
  • The commitment against LGBT+ discrimination analysed by two experts in the field: Ben Hunte for the UK and Senio Bonini for Italy. 
  • The fight against LGBT+ discrimination remains a priority for Her Majesty's Government  
Rome, 16 May 2022 - The British Embassy in Italy renews its commitment to diversity and the defence of minority rights, choosing to open the doors of its splendid Roman residence, Villa Wolkonsky, to host a debate on "Media and LGBT+ Discrimination: UK and Italy Compared".

After music, fashion and art, the British Embassy and the Mario Mieli Circle of LGBT+ Culture, organisers of Roma Pride, together put a spotlight on the language used by the Italian and British, and European, media. The media's portrayal of the LGBT+ reality has often been controversial: from the most violent homophobic news cases to the 'simple' presence of LGBT+ people in the world of show business, sport, television entertainment.  

The lack of proper use of terminology by the media and social media is a symptom of a much wider reality. Language, therefore, becomes a sounding board of a lack of basic information and becomes a means, at times unconscious, of discrimination against a community that struggles to claim its identity and conquer a social reality that, on the contrary, discriminates, threatens, offends, mortifies, kills. For the mere rejection of what is different.  

Deputy Ambassador Eleanor Sanders said: 'As the representative of Her Majesty's Government in Italy, my goal is to do everything I can to implement and emphasise the importance of defending diversity in all social spheres. More needs to be done, everywhere in the world, to ensure that LGBT+ people feel safe and are treated equally throughout society. I am very proud to be here today, together with my friends at Mario Mieli, trying to achieve this goal. It is differences that enrich us, bring new perspectives and points of view, thus enabling us to improve ourselves and the communities in which we live."  

Mario Colamarino, President of the Mario Mieli Club, commented: "I am happy, as President of the Mario Mieli Club, that also the new Ambassador of the United Kingdom opens the doors of his residence to our association, to our issues and to the approaching Roma Pride. Being able to confront such topical issues allows everyone to grow and feel less alone in this battle for civilisation and overcoming prejudices, even in such a difficult time as the one we are living through. Comparison and culture have always been the strongest weapon against all forms of marginalisation'.The event, organised with the Mario Mieli LGBT+ Culture Circle, will feature, among others, journalists Ben Hunte and Senio Bonini. 

Ben Hunte was the BBC's first LGBT+ correspondent. He has always covered stories about sexuality and gender. He was also, throughout his career, a correspondent from North Africa. In July 2020, Ben was ranked number one on The Guardian and DIVA Magazine's Pride Power List.

Senio Bonini, host of Agorà Extra on Rai3, is a journalist and TV author. A former correspondent for Rainews24, he has followed the Council Presidency for years. He is civilly united with Rosario and is the father of two little twins, Leo and Luna.

This event is part of a wider context of initiatives and activities related to the LGBT+ universe undertaken by the British Embassy in Italy. In fact, in addition to supporting Pride, on 11 June, the overseas mission will participate in the Roma Pride parade, proud to be able to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first Pride in London this year. 

The confirmation of the presence of the British delegation symbolises the attention with which Ambassador Ed Lewellyn, and the entire overseas mission, deals with such a relevant social issue. The Embassy's actions are part of the Foreign, Development and Commonwealth Office's action strategy.