If you thought Phil Robertson from Duck Dynasty is being treated unfairly by A&E, then you have to get a load of what is happening in Italy with regards to media treatment of dissenting views on homosexuality.
The government has just issued a new set of guidelines for journalists for how to treat “LGBT” people. The guidelines, funded by the Council of Europe, dictate what terms and images must be used by the media when treating LGBT subjects. Journalists who do not comply are threatened with legal and professional penalties. They are instructed not to use negative sexual images from gay pride events and to refrain from employing terms like “natural family”, “traditional family” and “gay marriage”. The guidelines explain that those terms are discriminatory and that marriage and family alone will do.
Italian media covered the guidelines but was not as incensed as might have been expected. Perhaps this is the chilling effect on freedom of speech that was expected all along. One of the ministers who was in charge of promulgating the guidelines said she was overall pleased with how major newspapers and other media reacted.
The tone of the guidelines is educational. They start with the basic notion that “sex” is not the same thing as “gender”, the latter being a mental state and the former being merely anatomical, and then proceed to explain the ins and outs of homosexual jargon with colorful and detailed explanations. “Coming out” is explained as a long process of self-awareness and awakening — not to be confused with “being outed” against one’s will. The term “gay woman” journalists are told is disparaging, and should be substituted with “lesbian” which is more respectful. But things get tricky pretty quickly after that.
The guidelines delve into the subtle differences and nuances of what constitutes a transsexual male to female (Mtf) or transsexual female to male (Ftm), transgender as an umbrella term for everyone who is in-between two genders either anatomically or psychologically, and transvestitism, drag kings and drag queens and the list goes on. The document says the biggest mistake commonly made by Italian journalists is that all these “trans” should be preceded by the feminine article (la trans) and not by the masculine (il trans).
The document also contains perplexing moments, like when it laments the indifference of Italians to gay women. The author reports that no disparaging terms have been coined specifically for lesbians while there are a dozen disparaging terms for male homosexuals in the language in which Dante once wrote.
But the objective of it all is clear. Restricting freedom of speech is not enough. The ultimate goal is thought control.