No Flat for You!: Italian Landlord Yanks Apartment Offer after Finding Out Man is Gay

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Sunday March 7, 2021
Originally published on March 4, 2021

A 30-year-old Italian man who was set to move back to his home town from Rome had the door slammed in his face when the landlord of the apartment he planned to move into found out he was gay, Pink News reports.

The young man, identified in reports only as Rafaelle, related his story in a video that he posted to Facebook and then shared at NanoTv and posted at Twitter. Saying that he had made extensive preparations for the move to Marcianise, in the southern Italian province of Caserta, including buying new furnishings for the apartment, Rafaelle shared that, "This morning they contacted me from the real estate agency and they told me that they will no longer give me the apartment.

"And the reason? Because I'm gay."

Local and national newspapers picked up the story, with Napoli Today reporting that the NanoTV video had been shared widely on social media, including by a local politician and a radio host.

Saying he had shuttled between Rome and Milan for years and "such a thing had never happened to me" before, Rafaelle decried the landlord's about-face: "I am a citizen who works and pays taxes, and yet I am denied fundamental rights just because I am homosexual?" he said.

"I returned from Milan to be close to my family in this difficult time for all of us, and this is denied to me," he added.

The company where he had taken a job was willing to send him to Naples, but Rafaelle said that the way regional councilor Francesco Emilio Borelli and others had stood up for him made him want to stick with his original plan and remain in Marcianise.

Italian newspaper Corriera della Sera noted that Councilor Borrelli continued to speak out on Rafaelle's behalf. Appearing on a radio program, Borrelli told listeners, "That these things still happen in 2021 is disconcerting and worrying."

Borelli decried what he called a "Middle Ages" mentality, Napoli Today recounted. "We are still too far behind and this cultural backwardness is also damaging us economically," he declared.

"We will be close to Raffaele and to all those who are constantly victims of discrimination," Borrelli added, vowing to see that those facing such bias would receive "all necessary support."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.