We begin in Italy, 1938. Hitler is coming into power as is another man of great infamy: Benito Mussolini. Among many other things, one of Mussolini’s visions for Italy’s future was to present the country as being filled with ‘perfect’ men. The Mussolini of 1938 had built a clear image of the ‘perfect’ man: husband, father, soldier, and as traditionally masculine as possible. In his mind, gay men did not fit this ideal. He believed being gay was the same as being feminine, and most likely mislabeled other queer identities as gay, thus harming more of the queer community than he originally anticipated (though, if he had been aware of what he was doing, we’re certain he would’ve been pleased). So, among many other atrocities, he planned to eradicate gay men from Italy. What made this slightly complicated was that he wanted to do so without admitting their existence.
San Domino, Gay Island
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