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The story of the suicide of Chloe Bianco, a trans woman whose charred body was found in a van burned by flames last Saturday in the Belluno area, has been in the news for days and reconstructions and testimonies about her past, marked by heavy discrimination on the work, have become an example of how the daily life of a transgender person in Italy can be, cited by opinion leaders and associations that deal with discrimination against LGBT + people to denounce the lack of laws, tools and sensitivity in this regard.
Bianco was originally from Marcon, in the province of Venice, was 58 years old and the day before he killed himself he had left one last post on his blog in which he said he would. She had worked as a teacher in various high schools and was a fairly well-known person in the area because in 2015, when she started showing up at school wearing women’s clothes, she had been at the center of a controversy that also involved local politics.
Early in the morning of Saturday 11 June in the Belluno area, between Auronzo di Cadore and Misurina, the firefighters had to intervene to put out the flames of a van that was on fire. Inside the van, a charred body had been found, that of Chloe Bianco, who had set up the vehicle as a house on wheels and lived in it. It was initially speculated that the van might have caught fire for some reason and that she hadn’t been able to get out in time. The investigation into the causes of death is still ongoing, but after the discovery of the blog post there are no longer many doubts that it was a suicide.
Bianco had started writing on his blog in November 2015: he mainly reported news and considerations related to the experience of trans people in Italy, which he defined from this point of view as “desert” and “sick”. Bianco had expressed herself above all on her own experience as a trans woman that she does not want to “follow the dictates of the trans Italic community, especially regarding the modalities of transition from one gender to another”. That is, she wrote that she was doubly discriminated against: not only as a trans woman but also as a trans woman who did not intend to undergo psychological or psychiatric interventions (which in Italy are necessary for anyone who wants to change the gender on their documents), hormonal therapies or surgical operations.
In 2015 Bianco worked as a teacher at the Scarpa-Mattei technical institute in San Donà di Piave (in the province of Venice) and had just become a permanent teacher. Perhaps for this reason she too had decided that it was time to begin to freely express her gender even in the workplace. After notifying the principal, she showed up in the classroom wearing women’s clothes and a wig and explained her motives to her class. The father of a student who had learned of the matter had written a letter to the then councilor for education of the Veneto region, Elena Donazzan (elected with the Brothers of Italy), in which he said among other things: “but really the school has been reduced like this? ” and “I wanted to inform you of what happened, hoping that with your role as councilor for education policies you can do something to prevent these things from happening in the future”.
Donazzan had published the entire letter on Facebook commenting with “draw your own conclusions” and to the press He said: «I will ask to take some measures. His sphere of affectivity is a personal matter. But what happened was serious. We are very concerned with the crib at school so as not to offend the sensitivity of Muslim students. And this then? ».
The school principal had limited himself to saying: “He is a teacher and as such must be respected”, but then the news broke out that Bianco had been suspended from work for three days. In the following days the affair had been picked up again by the newspapers: the vice-principal had said that Bianco had talked to her about her clothing and had convinced her to wear more “sober” clothes. Bianco had filed an appeal with the Labor Court against the suspension from school, but he had lost it: The judge had motivated the decision by arguing that coming out in that way had not been “responsible and fair”, and that he should have prepared the class first. After that, reports the Courier of Veneto, Bianco had been put to work in the school office, therefore no longer in contact with the students, and had isolated herself.
Sara Mazzonetto, a former student of Bianco who is now 21 years old, he told to Republic who «immediately discriminated against her, even her colleagues looked at her with contempt. When her case broke out, everyone turned their backs on her. Some teachers even vented to us by saying that she had ruined the reputation of the school ».
In her latest post Bianco did not motivate her decision to kill herself, but the movements for the rights of trans people and not only have traced her back to her history of suffered discrimination. It is known that among trans people the risk of suffering from psychological distress and committing suicide is higher than in cisgender people, that is, who recognize themselves in the gender assigned to them at birth. Transphobia and discrimination are cited among the factors that can most contribute to depression and suicidal tendencies.
The majority of Italian schools and public offices do not in any way provide for the management of the gender transition of an employee, something which is increasingly common in large companies and multinationals. The management of these cases is usually left to the common sense – when there is – of those in management roles. In recent years in some Italian schools and universities the possibility has become widespread of having a document defined as an “alias”, which corresponds to the gender identity experienced when this diverges from that associated with the sex of birth and which allows trans students who have documents not updated to communicate and have their gender identity recognized.
– Read also: What is alias identity
Porpora Marcasciano, historical exponent of the Italian movement for the rights of trans people, commented on Facebook and Instagram that the «patriarchal culture» continues to oppress at times visibly, at others subtly. It assaults you in moments of weakness pushing you to the corner ».
Vladimir Luxuria, who is one of the most famous trans women in Italy for her work in politics and television, and who was a former high school teacher, said in an interview to Fanpage that “suspension from the role is a measure carried out in the event of very serious facts in the workplace. Chloe felt unworthy, a criminal. They practically told her that a woman like her couldn’t teach. For a teacher who loves doing her job this is a real death sentence ».
On Friday 17, a garrison was organized in front of the Ministry of Education to ask for a more inclusive and welcoming school.