A survey designed to research instances of homophobia, racism and sexism among young people has been pulled by the Italian government. Critics said it promotes “sexual fluidity”.
The anonymous survey from the University of Perugia was meant to poll teenagers studying in the central Italian region of Umbria on a range of topics pertaining to gay rights.
As reported by PinkNews online, survey respondents would be asked to indicate their nationality and that of their parents, their religious beliefs, political affiliation and sexual orientation—there is no mention of gender identity—choosing between the options “exclusively heterosexual, predominantly heterosexual, bisexual, predominantly homosexual, exclusively homosexual, asexual.”
They would then be asked to indicate the degree to which they agree with a series of statements including: “Women get offended too easily,” “homosexuality is a psychological disorder,” and “immigrants take Italians’ jobs.”
Part of the survey also asked respondents to identify whether they have been involved in episodes of various forms of bullying as either the victim or the perpetrator.
In an interview with PinkNews, the survey’s lead researcher, Professor Federico Batini, said: “Research on homophobic bullying, racism and gender-based violence helps understanding the environment students are exposed to at school and the level of safety each student experiences compared to their peers”.
The survey was set for distribution across 54 schools in the region but was met with criticism by local politicians. Regional councillor Claudio Ricci said the questions were potentially infringing on families’ “educational freedom” on the “very delicate” issue of sexual orientation. “[The survey] implies a message of uncritical approval of sexual fluidity (homosexual pseudo proselytizing),” he protested, quoted in local news outlet Terni Today.