Gennarro Casalino and his partner planned to go for a trip to the southern region of Calabria, Italy in August 2017. So, the couple searched through the site Booking.com and decided to choose Ciufo guesthouse near Vibo Valentia as a place to stay. But when the owner of a guesthouse has reached out on Whatsapp for “additional information”, two men revealed him they were a gay couple. Amorous twosomes were immediately rejected with a comment that the owner “believes in traditional families”. He said: “This is important and I don’t want to appear like a troglodyte, but we don’t accept gays and animals”.
Mr. Casalino was shocked with these explanations and couldn’t even find what to demur. He commented the incident to Arcigay, Italy’s largest gay organization: “t was like getting a silo of ice cold water. In my mind I could see the infamous images of Nazi signs outside of shops saying “forbidden entry to dogs and Jews”. But it has been 70 years since then and this cannot be ignored”. “Is the money my partner and I would have given him not the same as he would receive from a straight couple? I assure you, I do not feel bad for the two of us. In my heart, I thought of the heavy repercussions that such a message could have on a younger person, who is struggling to recognize or accept himself”, he added. Arcigay organization described the incident as a “serious case of discrimination and homophobia”.
From the owner’s of a guesthouse point of view, he didn’t discriminate gay people, but just formulated the refuse according to what he believes in. “I did not mean to put gay people and animals in the same category and it was a punctuation mistake. The guest house is not a public structure, it’s a private house. We are Catholic, devout Christians. I have nothing against it, for me they are normal people, but objectively we prefer to keep our faith”, he said.