Facebook Banned Italian LGBT Campaign Against Racism

Italy anti discriminationOn Monday 21 March (International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination), three Italian LGBT organizations presented a campaign to defeat the prejudices related to ethnic and religious differences and to inform LGBT migrants and asylum seekers about their rights. But a few minutes later, Facebook censored the campaign: a drawing of a bare-chested man was considered pornographic.

The initiative is a collaboration between Anddos, a national association against discrimination, IlGrandeColibri.com, the main Italian LGBTI media to deal with sexual orientation and gender identity in an intercultural perspective, and MigraBo LGBT, an association which offers free support to LGBT asylum seekers.

From late March gay bars and saunas, but also associations and libraries, will distribute tens of thousands of postcards and hundreds of posters with the images created by the erotic illustrator theAmir and the slogan: “Look at who I am, don’t look at your prejudice.” The campaign tackles in a provocative way some negative prejudices about migrants (the well-hung African, the transsexual prostitute, the Muslim terrorist) and dismantles stereotypes.

Marco Canale, Anddos’ president, explained: “To protect those who are discriminated twice, because they are migrants and because they are LGBTs, is our duty”. Pier Cesare Notaro, coordinator of IlGrandeColibri.com, added: “We need to remind the migrants about the fact that homosexuality is not a crime in Italy and that, indeed, it is possible to seek asylum if in your country of origin you were discriminated  because of your gender identity or sexual orientation: not all migrants know it.”

The project presentation page – http://www.ilgrandecolibri.com/2016/03/cartoline-gay-razzismo.html – can not be shared on Facebook because the social network considers pornographic the image of a bare-chested boy. Notary says: “This is a sexuophobic judgment: we can’t accept it. We call on Facebook to review its position: the image is not at all pornographic and its censorship harms a major campaign to combat prejudice.”

The sentence “I am gifted” dominates the front of the contested postcard. On the back, the sentence continues in this way: “I am gifted with great strength of mind: without so much courage, I couldn’t face the long and difficult journey that took me from my country, Nigeria, to Italy. I ran away because where I was born I risked long years in prison just because I am gay. I faced abuses from the merchants of men, hunger in the desert, fear when I crossed the Mediterranean. I arrived here on one of those boats that someone want to bomb.”

Another postcard depicts an Iraqi man sitting on the subway with a suitcase in hand, surrounded by suspicious people. A transsexual woman is the protagonist of the third card.


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Melanie Nathan, [email protected]

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