January 21, 2013 ( – The Italian media is piling on a Venetian high school religion teacher for reportedly saying that participants in the “gay” lifestyle aren't born that way and should seek therapy.

Enrico Pavanello, 49, says that he was asked to address the topic by his students and decided to send them home with an assignment to reflect critically on a series of assertions about homosexuality. Among other things, Pavanello’s document mentioned the fact that the Kinsey Report, which famously claimed that homosexuals comprise 10% of the population, has been debunked.

“No one is born gay,” Panavello reportedly said in class, “but they become that way by making a specific choice, and therefore whoever has this condition should seek to be cured.”

Panavello also distinguished the term “gay,” which normally refers to the lifestyle and behavior, from “homosexual,” which is used to refer more generally to those who suffer from homosexual attractions, asking: “Who says that a homosexual must identify himself with gay ideology?”

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The Italian media picked up the story after a disgruntled student scanned and published the sheet on Facebook, prompting the Huffington Post to pick up the story.  It has been covered by La Stampa, the Italian version of Vanity Fair, Corriere del Veneto, Il Messagero, Nuova Venezia, Venezia Today, and others, many of which have treated Panavello's document as if it were highly objectionable.

Panavello defended his statements to the Huffington Post in an initial interview, affirming support for treatment for homosexuals. He subsequently issued a statement following hints of possible disciplinary action by his school, the Foscarini di Venezia Lyceum. The institution is Venice's oldest high school, and teaches a classical curriculum that includes Latin and Greek.

“I would like to take the opportunity to declare that my intention was not to offend anyone,” the teacher wrote in the statement sent to the press. “The text given to the students is a summary of various lectures, reviews, articles, that do not express my thinking.  My intention was to furnish materials for the students to stimulate a debate regarding a topic that was requested by the students themselves.”

Contact information:

Foscarini di Venezia Lyceum
Fax: (011- from the USA or Canada) (39) 041 5201657
[email protected]