For several years, LGBTQ rights in Italy seemed to be on the upswing. The country legalized civil unions in 2016, for instance. But conservative politicians, who have ridden a populist, anti-immigrant wave to power in Italy, as well as in much of Europe, and the world, in recent years, have slowed down or stopped much of that progress.
In an interview with a Catholic media outlet, La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana, Matteo Salvini, the far-right Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Minster of the Interior called same-sex parents "unnatural."
Soon after assuming his role as Deputy Prime Minister this past June, for instance, Pink News reports he reversed use gender-neutral terms throughout government resources and documents, in part to accommodate LGBTQ parents.
"Last week I was told that on the website of the Ministry of the Interior, on the forms for the electronic identity card there were 'parent 1' and 'parent 2,'" Salvini said in his interivew. "I immediately changed the site by restoring the definition 'mother' and 'father.'
He also took a swipe at LGBTQ and other parents who use surrogacy to form their families: "Utero for rent and similar horrors?" he said. "Absolutely no."
Salvini joins the ranks of other rightwing Italian politicians who have recently come to power, most notably Lorezno Fontana, the new Family Minister, who also spoke out against surrogacy this past June, and claimed that LGBTQ families "don't exist," in a legal sense, in the country.
This, in turn, led to a backlash from LGTBQ advocates. The hashtag #NoiEsistiamo (We Exist) began trending, with LGBTQ families sharing photos of themselves with the minister on social media.