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The Gay Internment Camp on San Domino, a Product of Fascist Italy
June 22, 2013 2:16 PM   Subscribe

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."
posted by filthy light thief (16 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
George's reaction.
posted by damehex at 2:23 PM on June 22, 2013 [6 favorites]


(Context to George Takei's reaction)
posted by filthy light thief at 2:28 PM on June 22, 2013


This doesn't sound like the set-up to a bad 70s porno at all.

But seriously, that's absurdly fucking evil.
posted by fifthrider at 2:37 PM on June 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


Oh, Fascists... Just when we think we know pretty much how rotten you were, you just keep getting rottener...

I really just don't like you guys at all.
posted by Fists O'Fury at 2:42 PM on June 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Fascists gonna...fasc?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:50 PM on June 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Well, once you decide it's OK to be an asshole to [group] because [reasons] it's amazing how group and reasons manage to multiply.
posted by localroger at 2:58 PM on June 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


Fascists ligate? (Lictor -> ligature -> bind?)
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:33 PM on June 22, 2013


Fascists gonna faschit, guys.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:42 PM on June 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


Benito Mussolini declared Italy too masculine for homosexuals to exist

Bob Katter said the same thing about Queensland.

''I would walk to Bourke backwards,'' he said, ''if the poof population of North Queensland is any more than 0.001 per cent.''
posted by Mezentian at 6:00 PM on June 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


In 2007, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was challenged on Amnesty International figures that suggested that 200 people had been executed in Iran so far this year, among them homosexuals.

Ahmadinejad elicited laughter and boos from the audience at Columbia University when he said, "In Iran, we don't have homosexuals, like in your country."
posted by filthy light thief at 6:30 PM on June 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Bob Katter said the same thing about Queensland.

Maybe because that article was all about Australian politics inside baseball, but I had a hard time parsing it.
posted by double block and bleed at 7:05 PM on June 22, 2013


The thing I don't understand: heterosexual men have sex partners who are, on average, considerably shorter, lighter and nowhere near as strong, and, in additional, are socially disadvantaged compared to them. Whereas homosexual men are likely, on average, to have sexual partners who are their equals in all of those areas.

That's less "manly"? Puzzling.
posted by maxwelton at 7:31 PM on June 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


How can it not be queer to dress up in tight uniforms and wear knee-high leather boots?
posted by KokuRyu at 8:20 PM on June 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Bob Katter said the same thing about Queensland.

''I would walk to Bourke backwards,'' he said, ''if the poof population of North Queensland is any more than 0.001 per cent.''


Well it's hardly surprising given that that "No poofters" is rule 1, 3, 5, and 7.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:16 PM on June 22, 2013


The place is even called Queensland.
posted by telstar at 11:03 PM on June 22, 2013


If the dude's gonna walk everywhere backwards, his chances of bumping into my penis increase...
posted by Packed Lunch at 12:52 AM on June 23, 2013


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