The Legal Dynamics of Disrespect: LGBTQI+ People, Hate speech, and Criminal Justice

Reflections around "M. Pelissero, A. Vercellone (eds.), Diritto e persone LGBTQI+"

Abstract. This paper is inspired by a series of reflections developed while reviewing the volume ‘Diritto e persone LGBTQI+’ edited by Marco Pelissero and Antonio Vercellone. The contribution begins by locating the Italian case study within the context of ‘queer criminology’. It then addresses head-on the question of whether homophobic and transphobic discrimination (including hate speech) deserves to be criminalized. It is submitted that the question could be answered in the affirmative, though with some caveats. The main ground for the legitimacy of criminal law intervention can be found in the notion of ‘identity’ as an expression of human dignity. In order to take the notion of ‘identity’ seriously, one has to recognize that identity is a relational concept rooted on social dynamics of mutual recognition. Criminal law may be used, as a part of a broader policy toolbox (and only as a last resort) to prevent a denial of recognition and a refusal of one’s identity. Further arguments rely on substantive equality and the prohibition to treat similar circumstances in a different way. The article then tackles additional issues raised by the volume, regarding the prohibition of conversion therapies and the status of LGBTQI+ people within the correctional system.


Click here to download the review, in English language.

The review will be published in the issue 2/2023 of Diritto penale contemporaneo - Rivista Trimestrale.