by Daniele Scalea

Italy is among the European countries that have chosen not to sign the “Declaration on the continued advancement of the human rights of LGBTIQ persons in Europe“. For the record, 18 out of 27 EU member states have signed the declaration.

Italy's rejection immediately sparked outcry from gender activists. For example, Democratic Party (PD) MP Alessandro Zan accused the government of “wanting to keep violating fundamental human rights.”

What is this declaration about and why hasn't Italy signed it?

What declarations are

“Declarations” should not be confused with treaties, which are formal and binding agreements between states. Declarations are written, non-binding documents. The fact that they do not place obligations, however, should not make one underestimate their significance.

Declarations, besides often representing moral commitments by declarants, also serve to establish international principles. These types of documents form what is known as soft law, which will not have direct effect, but is used in the courts to decide how to interpret actual norms. In addition, soft law very often manages to turn into hard law, for example when declarations become the basis for subsequent treaties.

To give a concrete example: what was asserted in the Global Compact on Migration, which Italy rightly (thanks also to the efforts of our Center) refused to sign in 2018, fell into the soft law typology. It contained no binding commitments, but predictably would have been used in national and international courts to neutralize any restrictive immigration policy.

The conferences

Usually these declarations are issued to culminate an international conference. This is also the case with the LGBTIQ Rights Declaration, which concludes the work of the “high-level conference” entitled "Pride Alliances and Policy: Towards a Union of Equality", sponsored by Belgium's rotating presidency of the European Union. It is an event attended not only by representatives of national governments, but also by various NGOs. So much transparency surrounds the event that a complete list of participants cannot be found. However, it is easy to guess the orientation of personalities and organizations involved.

“High-level conferences,” as defined by the UN (from which the EU has taken up the practice), are "dialogues and discussions on most relevant topics of global importance with participation of top UN management as well as government officials, scientific, business, civil society leaders etc.".

The U.N. has begun to make extensive use of this type of event since the 1990s. The rationale, as explained by Hungarian author Gergely Szilvay in his book A Critique of Gender Theory, is to strip space away from elected representatives, those in government, to give a greater role to “civil society,” that is, organizations that are not democratic expressions of popular choice.

What the Declaration says

So what are the problematic points of the Declaration, which may have prompted the Meloni government not to sign it? Essentially, there are of two kinds. The first concerns those statements which, taken literally, are agreeable or harmless, but which potentially (as has often happened in the history of international soft law) can be manipulated by assigning arbitrary meanings to specific expressions or words.

For example, the Declaration speaks of “preventing and combating discrimination, specifically on the basis of gender identity, gender expression”: the seemingly innocuous phrase lends itself to promoting a whole array of practices, from hormone and surgical therapies for “gender reassignment” in minors, to alias careers, to the mandatory use of arbitrary pronouns, to marriage and adoptions for same-text couples. Where, in fact, does the notion of “non-discrimination,” i.e., not distinguishing and not differentiating, stop? “Fully ensure non-discrimination in all areas of life": so it ramps up a few lines later.

These critical issues thus stem from the over-generalization of terms such as “discrimination,” or the adoption of terminology that is instead highly ideologically connoted. When it comes to “gender identity,” the reference is to constructivist gender theory. Even more blatant is the Declaration's partisan jargon where it states that one must “apply intersectionality as a horizontal principle”: “intersectionality” is an expression coined within neo-Marxism, which has no possible meaning outside the worldview it expresses.

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Other provisions of the Declaration are practical, direct in nature, and certainly at odds with our government's program. We find the “countering the spread of disinformation,” which by now we have learned is a euphemism for the censorship of opinions deemed heterodox. For the avoidance of doubt, it is specified that we need to “further enhance the Protection of LGBTIQ persons, both online and offline, from any form of exclusion hatred, discrimination, and violence” (wouldn't stating that a man who self-describes as a woman cannot use women's locker rooms be “exclusionary”?) and “countering the growth and influence of the anti-LGBTIQ movement” (since there is no one in Europe advocating the criminalization of homosexuality, it seems safe to assume that the target is civil society that does not accept gender ideology).

“Further ensure equal access to healthcare services for LGBTIQ persons, taking into account their specific needs.” certainly does not allude to normal treatment, which no one is denying to anybody, but to the possibility of access without limitation (not even age?) and free of charge (thus at the expense of the community) to hormone therapies and sex-change surgeries.

“Continue to protect and support civil society organizations and human rights defenders advocating for the rights of LGBTIQ persons” would seem to invite public funding for them, as is already very generously done (a large portion of the funding of ILGA Europe, the continent's leading pro-gender organization, comes from the European Commission).

“Continue working towards ensuring full freedom of movement for all LGBTIQ persons and their families.” is meant to force even those member states where same-sex marriage does not exist to recognize it for those couples from countries where it is legal.

"Prohibition of conversion practices" hints at who knows what forms of exorcism, but more realistically it serves to prevent a doctor, placed in front of a child who says he or she feels the opposite sex, from offering psychological counseling rather than pandering to the child's issues with puberty inhibitors and surgical amputations.

Conclusions

In spite of its name and the way it is presented by its apologists, the LGBTIQ Human Rights Declaration does not intend to guarantee some violated human right. On the contrary, it serves to attack other human rights:

  • the human right to freedom of thought and expression, even if it is in disagreement with gender ideology dogmas;
  • the human right of children and adolescents to be helped, according to the best available medical practices, based on the doctor's science and conscience, rather than being compulsorily directed to traumatic paths of “gender reassignment.”
  • the human right of citizens to be the source of legislation, rather than having to submit to top-down regulations from “high-level conferences.”

Founder and President of Centro Studi Machiavelli. A graduate in History (University of Milan) and Ph.D. in Political Studies (Sapienza University), he teaches “History and Doctrine of Jihadism” at Marconi University and “Geopolitics of the Middle East” at Cusano University, where he has also taught on Islamic extremism in the past.

From 2018 to 2019, he served as Special Advisor on Immigration and Terrorism to Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs Guglielmo Picchi; he later served as head of the technical secretariat of the President of the Parliamentary Delegation to the Central European Initiative (CEI).

Author of several books, including Immigration: the reasons of populists, which has also been translated into Hungarian.