The Tuscan Region has set aside 150,000 euro from the European Social Fund to help transsexuals find secure jobs. The region’s unemployed trans-gendered will receive a prepaid credit card worth 2,500 euro to be used for professional training courses and diplomas in an effort to assist this highly marginalized social class, considered ‘at a high risk for social exclusion’, find stable employment. The card, which has a two-year expiration date, will be issued by the Regional Employment Agency. To obtain the prepaid card and get help finding the proper professional training program, those interested must present the employment agency with a medical certificate which states that they suffer from a ‘gender identity disorder’. This very progressive regional initiative aims to deter prostitution and lessen the social stigma suffered by the trans-gendered.
Employment superintendent Gianfranco Simoncini stated that the initiative, though still in the experimental phase, is directed at one of the region’s most destitute social groups. ‘We want to grant these people a concrete opportunity to have a normal life and ensure that their marginalization does not force them to prostitute themselves in order to make a living’. He later added that if the card is successful, it will be applied to other disadvantaged social groups in search of employment.
Nonetheless, the decision to allot these funds to transsexuals has met with fierce opposition from the centre-left. The Forza Italia party has strongly contested the provision and accused the centre-right of giving preferential treatment in an effort to ensure more electoral votes from the gay community. Meanwhile, Italy’s first trans-gendered parliamentarian, Vladimir Luxuria, has applauded the move, stating that ‘this initiative directly deals with the major problem that transsexuals face: that of finding stable employment’.