A beach resort in Italy is under fire after reportedly warning a young gay couple not to hug in front of children in the pool area.
The 17-year-old and 18-year-old men were embracing each other last Friday at the Lido Arcobaleno beach resort in Caserta, Italy, when a lifeguard reportedly came up to them and told them not to do it again.
“We were in the pool like everyone else,” the 17-year-old teen, who was unnamed, told Repubblica. “While we were in the water, like everyone else present, we also embraced, a spontaneous embrace, but we are two men and it was not appreciated.”
The Caserta resident says the lifeguard requested that the couple refrain from hugging as there were children present in the facility. Further, the lifeguard reportedly asked the couple to remain more composed. As the couple didn’t want to “disrupt” the children, they opted to get out of the pool and move away.
In another interview with Il Fatto Quotidiano, the couple claims that the lifeguard came up to them as they were leaving and said that he would have asked the same restraint of heterosexual couples. The teens noted that there were many other heterosexual couples who weren’t asked to refrain from hugging.
Bernardo Diana, president of the Caserta regional branch of the LGBT activist group Rain Arcigay, is frustrated that cases like this still exist, despite laws that give equal rights to both heterosexual and homosexual couples in Italy.
He suggests that the government introduce new legislation to protect the LGBT community, referencing the recent case of a gay couple from Naples who weren’t able to book into a guesthouse in Calabria last month because the Catholic owners refused to “accept gays and animals.”