The Gay Internment Camp on San Domino, a Product of Fascist Italy
June 22, 2013 2:16 PM Subscribe
posted by filthy light thief (16 comments total)
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Though homosexual activities weren't a crime under Italy's fascist regime, there was persecution and blackmail of men of "dubious virility."
The hidden threat of homosexual men was so strong that the attempt to criminalize homosexuality failed because to pass such a law would only "publicize" homosexuality
(Google books preview). It was in that context that Benito Mussolini declared Italy too masculine for homosexuals to exist, rounded up around 45 men believed to be homosexuals, and sent them into "internal exile"
on San Domino, in the Isole Tremiti
archepeligo.A Special Day
(IMDb; Una giornata particolare on Wikipedia
; YouTube video in Italian
, without subtitles) is an Italian film from 1977 that addresses some of the complexities of being a homosexual man in fascist Italy, including exile
In 2006, Gianfranco Goretti and Tommaso Giartosi published their research into the "internal exile" of men to San Domino in the book The Island and the City: Homosexuals in Exile in Italy in Fascist
(Google auto-translate of this PDF on La città e l’isola.Omosessuali al confino nell’Italia fascista
. This period in history was also represented in the Italian graphic novel In Italia Sono Tutti Maschi
(Italian, as Google auto-translate doesn't link well; lit. In Italy All Are Males
Earlier this year, a group of glbtq activists gathered on the island of San Domino in the Tremiti Archipelago in the Adriatic to honor the memory of gay men who were interned by the Fascist regime as "degenerates."
They placed a plaque to commemorate the gay victims of Italian Fascism.
Alan Johnson reported on the San Domino internment camp for BBC News
, imagining that the exiles might have found some relief in finally being able to live openly, but Claude J. Summers wrote for glbtq
that while the interred Italians most likely found ways to cope with their imprisonment, being expected to be openly gay was not the same as being truly "idyllic."