The Italian election campaign is not squeamish. Even the popular animated series Peppa Pig quickly became a political issue. A right-wing politician demands that the episode with Penny Eisbär and her two mothers not be broadcast. She could upset the children.

On September 25th there will be general elections in Italy. There is no shortage of campaign issues. But the fact that the British children’s cartoon Peppa Pig is also involved sounds more than bizarre. But that’s how it is.

In Channel 5’s episode “Families”, airing September 6, new character Penny Polar Bear introduces herself to her classmates: “I live with my mommy and my other mommy. One mommy is a doctor and one mommy makes spaghetti .I love spaghetti!”

Federico Mollicone, MP for the right-wing Fratelli di’Italia party and cultural adviser, expressed his indignation and asked public television RAI not to broadcast this episode on its channels or platforms. “RAI is buying the rights to the series with the fees of all Italians,” he pointed out, adding: “The authors’ decision to include a character with two mothers is unacceptable. Once again, the politically correct has struck and our children are bearing the consequences .” Mollicone fears the cartoon will confuse children. Perhaps the fact that Penny Eisbär loves to eat spaghetti also plays a role. That could influence the Italian children even more.

When he was accused of discriminating against homosexuals, Mollicone replied that this was wrong, he only insisted that the education of children should remain the sole responsibility of parents. He cited figures that allegedly support his position: 55 percent of Italians are against the adoption of a child by same-sex couples, he said. But that’s not true. The opinion institute IPSOS published a survey in the summer, according to which 59 percent of those questioned were in favor of adoptions by same-sex parents.

Party leader Giorgia Meloni has repeatedly shown that the right has a problem with the LBTQ community, most recently in Spain in the summer. At a right-wing VOX election rally, she yelled clearly and unequivocally into the microphone: “Yes to the natural family, no to the LGTBQ lobby!” She later apologized, but said is said.

“It is understandable that this politician does not miss the opportunity, no matter how absurd his thesis that children could be influenced by it sounds,” says Valentina in an interview with She is married to Gianna. Both are around 35 and have a seven-year-old daughter Costanza together. Valentina is a teacher, Gianna is a nurse. They live in the small town of Sulmona, in Abruzzo. “We were accepted by the community without any problems, also because I’m from Sulmona,” continues Valentina. Ever since kindergarten, Constanza has never experienced exclusion. “Having two mothers was for her playmates and it didn’t matter.”

“Everyday life is normal,” adds Gianna. “But we have to reckon with problems of a bureaucratic nature, for example if Costanza ends up in the hospital. In Italy, adoption by same-sex couples is prohibited, which is why only I am authorized to make decisions in such a case.” But since she works in the city hospital herself, it won’t be that bad, she says.

At the thought that the right-centre alliance is very likely to win the elections, Valentina and Gianna get a bad feeling. “We have two difficult pandemic years behind us and a dry spell ahead of us. Many people are upset, unnerved and statements like that of the MP and Meloni are like gasoline on the fire.” The fear is that after a win, some might become even more aggressive.

The newspapers are increasingly reporting on homophobic attacks. A law against it was almost passed last year, the House of Representatives had passed it. However, Fratelli d’Italia and Matteo Salvini’s national-populist League rejected it in the Senate vote. The law would have equated homophobia with racism and then also provided for imprisonment. However, Fratelli di’Italia and Lega felt it could restrict freedom of expression and promote propaganda for homosexuality in schools.

“What nonsense,” says Porpora Marcasciano to She is a municipal councilor in Bologna and one of the best-known trans activists. “We don’t even have access to the schools. Let’s say we want to give a lecture on this topic. It only takes one parent who is against it and nothing comes of it.”

She is not surprised that the topic of homosexuality even came up in the election campaign via Peppa Pig. “It’s perfect for that.” The real problem, she says, is that Italy has been in electoral mode for five years. “And the constant repetition of certain views ultimately influences one or the other unstable mind.”

Marcasciano knows what she’s talking about. A few weeks ago, she was threatened by a group of young people on a beach in Abruzzo. “There were five of them, around 20, maybe 25 years old. One of them pulled out a knife and told me, ‘If you even graze me, I’ll cut your throat.’ I grabbed my things and slowly walked on my back “There weren’t many people on the beach, which is why nobody noticed anything. After 100 meters, with the group that followed me step by step, I finally reached the beach kiosk. Such cases show how important a law against homophobia would be. “

Aggression of this kind is increasing. The newspapers recently reported another case in the holiday resort of Sperlonga in Lazio. There, two women were attacked for kissing. And also Valentina and Gianna had a bad experience at Teramo train station this summer. One man verbally abused and harassed another. Gianna tried to intervene, whereupon the attacker called her and Valentina lesbians. “But what really disturbed us was his daughter. She came to us, apologized for her father and said that she herself was a lesbian and had to continue living with her parents.”

There are only a few days left until the parliamentary elections. The chances of the centre-left camp winning are slim. “Under a right-centre government, life for the LGBT community will not get any easier. But I trust in civil society,” says Marcasciano, “that it will finally wake up again and stand up for rights, should it be necessary. Because nobody gives us that.”

That may sound like wishful thinking. Marcasciano could also be right. Because when things get serious, Italy is often good for a surprise.