Italian lawmakers reject government nominee for the lead public broadcaster because he has a long transphobic record

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Italian ruling parties Five-Star Movement and Northern League have been defeated in a vote to nominate a new director to the Italian public broadcaster Rai. According to the Italian laws the government offers candidatures for such kinds of posts and they are approved (o9r not) by the broadcaster’s board of directors. Party leaders and deputy prime ministers Luigi di Maio and Matteo Salvini picked journalist Marcello Foa for the high-profile role, but his candidature was not approved and the number of remarks he used to make in the past could serve as a reason for it. In a 2016 opinion piece titled “The latest aberration: the pregnant man,” published in the Switzerland-based Corriere del Ticino, Foa laughed at recognizing trans men as men and supporting their rights to give birth. The news was a bit old, as Thomas Birtie’s first pregnancy was reported already in 2008 when he appeared on the Oprah Winfrey’s show, but he became aware of it only8 years later and was deeply surprised how the worlds could celebrate parenting of those people for whom ‘it is not possible’. By that he meant not only transgender men but also same-sex couples. “[Tension] keeps running high due to radical minorities that keep on behaving as if gay people were still persecuted, advancing requests that it isn’t wrong to define abhorrent because they keep denying an undeniable reality, which is that procreation takes place among a man and a woman,” he wrote. Yet Berlusconi’s party Forza Italia joined other opposition parties to abstain from the vote in the 40-member parliamentary commission, preventing it from reaching the two-thirds majority required to approve Foa’s nomination. Northern League party leader Salvini nonetheless wants Foa to be involved in the running of the broadcaster, if only in an advisory role, the newspaper Corriere della Sera reported.

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