Luke Dalli, son of Minister for European Affairs and Equality Helena Dalli, has responded to a slew of negative online comments recently directed at the minister. The comments came following yesterday’s news of the implementation of a new LGBTIQ+ ‘All Welcome’ logo, intended for businesses in the hospitality to showcase their welcoming of the LGBTIQ+ community into their establishments.
“For the past 35 years, my mum has given her life, her heart and soul to make people’s lives better through politics”
“Be it minorities, majorities, people in need and less fortunate, she taught me that if you make at least one persons life better every day, you would already have achieved a lot,” Dalli’s post reads, highlights his mother’s work with civil liberties.
Dalli goes on to detail some of the harshest comments aimed at his mother’s online profile, proceeding to defend her as the “same human being who put the needs of others before her own. […] People have the right to voice their opinion, but it’s unfair on the person I love most in the world”.
“One fine day, one questionable initiative, and I read comments like ‘stupid bitch’, ‘get the fuck out of our lives’, ‘we deserve better’, ‘you’re a joke’. People I call friends are calling her names. Why?”
The new ‘All Welcome’ government initiative has been met with anger and disapproval from the public, who clearly haven’t seen the initiative in the same light that Equality Minister Helena Dalli might have intended it to be received
The #Allwelcome or #IlkollMerħba initiative states that businesses in the hospitality sector can apply for a special logo that shows that they are LGBTIQ+ friendly, after they attend an information session of the topic.
But many have questioned why such a measure is needed in the first place, condemning the endeavour as discriminatory and promoting segregation.
Helena Dalli’s work has been heavily focused on the progression of civil liberties rights in Malta
In 2015, she presented a law establishing basic rights for transgender and intersex people. The Gender Identity Gender Expression and Sex Characteristics Act provides for gender recognition, and recognises a right to bodily integrity and physical autonomy. It was the first law globally to be implemented to protect the rights of intersex people.
Dalli is not the first politician or public persona to have fallen prey to negative online feedback. Earlier this year, Women’s Rights Foundation director, Dr Lara Dimitrijevic, read out messages she received online degrading her and her team of specialists. A month later, Facebook removed an insensitive meme that featured Maltese triathlon-running hero Jake Vella as the butt of an overweight joke. Just last month, Partit Demokratiku MEP Camilla Appelgren quit Facebook after receiving death threats on social media.