Giacomo Moro was minding his own business in the elevator, hanging fliers for an LGBT rights organization. Out of the blue, an unnamed man insulted Moro, calling him “human feces,” before threatening to take his life. Moro, a student at the University of Milan, decided to use the incident as impetus to create the first accredited gay studies course at an Italian university. “This person's hatred was born of ignorance. This class is something of a response,” said Moro. The 23-year-old biology major transformed the hate and anger directed toward him into a chance to educate his peers.
Although pegged as a “gay studies” course, gay men will not be the only subject of the class. The school’s LGBT rights organization, Gay Statale, released the syllabus. Don’t worry - the L’s, B’s and T’s of LGBT won’t be forgotten. For many students, this might their first time learning about queer theory so basics such as gender identity, politics and the media will be discussed.
The first day of the course saw a room filled to the brim with interested students. Fabio Galantucci, another student who helped launch the course, said, "People are responding very positively to the [class], to get the chance to see the world in a way different than presented by the media.”
Although these college students are on top of the times, Italy has a love/hate relationship with the LGBT community. Nationally, gender identity is not a protected class under employment non-discrimination laws. Marriage equality is nonexistent. However, the country seems to be moving in a steadily more progressive direction as the Roman Catholic Church loses its iron grip on Italian politics.
As it currently stands, the Gay Studies class is a one-time deal only. Fortunately, there is always the possibility that it will be offered again next year if there is enough interest. With 200 open-minded people showing up the first day, that is more than a distant possibility.