Not Paradise Island?
San Domino, a gay island community created by Italy’s Fascists
by Alan Johnston
In their book, The Island and the City, researchers Gianfranco Goretti and Tommaso Giartosi talk of dozens of men, most but not all from Catania, enduring harsh conditions on San Domino.
They would arrive handcuffed, and then be housed in large, spartan dormitories with no electricity or running water.
Some of the few accounts given by former exiles make clear that life was not all bad on San Domino. It seems that the day-to-day prison regime was comparatively relaxed.
Unwittingly, the Fascists had created a corner of Italy where you were expected to be openly gay.
For the first time in their lives, the men were in a place where they could be themselves — free of the stigma that normally surrounded them in devoutly Catholic 1930s Italy.
What this meant to the exiles was explained in a rare interview with a San Domino veteran, named only as Giuseppe B — published many years ago in the gay magazine, Babilonia — who said that in a way the men were better off on the island.
“In those days if you were a femminella [a slang Italian word for a gay man] you couldn’t even leave your home, or make yourself noticed — the police would arrest you,” he said of his home town near Naples.
“On the island, on the other hand, we would celebrate our Saint’s days or the arrival of someone new… We did theatre, and we could dress as women there and no-one would say anything.”
When the outbreak of World War II in 1939 led to the end of the internal exile regime on San Domino, and the men were returned to a kind of house arrest in the places where they came from.
A number of gay men were interned along with political prisoners on other small islands, such as Ustica and Lampedusa, but San Domino was the only one where all the exiles were gay.
It is deeply ironic that in the Italy of that time, they could find a degree of freedom only on a prison island.
There is still no real social stigma attached to homophobia in Italy, Scalfarotto says, and the state doesn’t extend legal rights of any kind to gay or lesbian couples.
Their struggle for equality goes on.
Image from: In Italia Sono Tutti Maschi — the 2008 graphic novel written by Luca de Santis and illustrated by Sara Colaone — tells the story of gay people exiled under fascism in Italy in the late 30s.
Identification pictures of Henny Schermann, a shop assistant in Frankfurt am Main. In 1940 police arrested Henny, who was Jewish and a lesbian, and deported her to the Ravensbrueck concentration camp for women.
On the back of her prisoner photo was written: “Jenny (sic) Sara Schermann, born February 19, 1912, Frankfurt am Main. Unmarried shopgirl in Frankfurt am Main. Licentious lesbian, only visited such [lesbian] bars. Avoided the name ‘Sara.’ Stateless Jew.” [After 1938, as one way of identifying Jews, a Nazi ordinance decreed that “Sara” was to be added in official papers to the first name of all Jewish women.]
In 1942, Henny was gassed at the Bernburg killing facility.
Read More: Lesbians and the Third Reich
Gross-Rosen concentration camp prisoner arm band
A 26-year-old gay man was beaten eight days ago just outside the 79th police precinct in Brooklyn by police officers who made homosexual slurs, the victim and two of his roommates who witnessed the incident tell the Voice.
The encounter, which took place around 4 a.m. on Sunday, June 2 and is under investigation by NYPD Internal Affairs, erupted after an officer standing in the precinct parking lot mistakenly accused one of the men of urinating on the side of the stationhouse and then called in as many as 5 other cops to join in the assault.
Williamsburg waiter Josh Williams, all of 5-foot-8, 140 pounds, suffered a laceration on his face which required four stitches, bruised ribs, a black eye and scrape on his torso. Williams and his roommates—Tony Maenza and Ben Collins, both 24—were then arrested on specious charges in what they call an effort to cover-up the attack. Maenza made an iPhone video of a portion of the incident.
The Voice has also learned that NYPD Internal Affairs Bureau started investigating after someone apparently associated with the precinct filed a complaint.
“This case is so extreme in how the encounter escalated so fast over something so silly and turned so violent,” says Williams’ lawyer Cynthia Conti-Cook. “Based on how the incident started, there’s very little to justify such extreme action other than homophobia.”
Kanye West getting deep on twitter
Kanye West is the Kanye Best.
He’s actually one of those creepy guys who brags about having sex with and “turning” lesbians, but this is a step in the right direction.
The murder of Mark Carson Friday night was the fifth — not third, as mainstream media outlets are reporting — violent anti-gay hate crime in NYC this month.
The murder of Mark Carson Friday night was the fifth — not third, as far too many mainstream media outlets and others are reporting — incidence of violent anti-gay hate crimes in New York City in just twelve days — less than two weeks. In a world where facts are all too fluid, this is one fact that the media, reporters, bloggers, and pundits need to get right — right now.
Over the past 48 hours I have had to reach out to several mainstream media outlets to correct them. Some have very graciously responded and corrected the record.
“The murder is at least the 22nd anti-gay attack in the city so far this year, police said. Anti-gay attacks are up an alarming 77 percent from 13 such assaults during the same period last year,” the New York Post reported Sunday morning.
Getting the numbers right matters — not just because by under-reporting violence we minimize its impact, and not just because each of the victims deserves to have their crime brought to the attention of the public and the criminal brought to justice, but because apparently it’s now open season on LGBT people in New York City — home to the birth of the modern gay civil rights movement — and this crime wave won’t stop until its magnitude is recognized, forcing our politicians and police to actually do more than pay lip service to the violence.
Four men allegedly shouted anti-gay slurs as they attacked Nick Porto and Kevin Atkins near Madison Square Garden.
A man was assaulted in Union Square by another man who allegedly used anti-gay slurs.
Two men reportedly shouted anti-gay slurs as they attacked a man who was leaving Pieces bar on Christopher Street
Two gay men were attacked by a group of other men allegedly shouting anti-gay slurs near the 33rd Street PATH Station. Port Authority police officers quickly arrested two of the suspected perpetrators.
A gay man, Mark Carson, was shot to death by another man who allegedly assailed the victim and another gay man with homophobic slurs and chased them out of a pizzeria on Sixth Avenue in Greenwich Village before the shooting.
1,500 rally for Mark Carson in NYC - It was New York City’s largest LGBT rally in years, according to organizers. On Monday at least 1,500 people showed up to honor the life of Mark Carson and make a stand against the hate that led to his death. Carson was an openly gay 32-year-old black man who was shot and killed over the weekend in what authorities are investigating as an anti-gay hate crime.
The randomness of Carson’s death has shocked the city’s LGBT community. “Mark is not going to die in vain. We are not going to get beat up in vain,” one rally participant told Mother Jones. “Gay rights, we’re still fighting for them, and the fight is not over. We need to protect each other.”
- Uses gay as an insult: “Foo Fighters are gay”
- To a black audience member: “Do you really like rock music? Because you’re African-American. That would be like me being into Lil Wayne.”
- “I’m allowed to use the word ‘f**’ because I’m a gay icon”
- Said she hopes Dave Grohl get …
On Friday evening, a 32-year-old man was fatally shot in the middle of Greenwich Village in what police believe was “clearly a hate crime.” Brooklyn resident Mark Carson was walking with friend on Sixth Avenue near West 8th Street around midnight Friday when they were confronted by 33-year-old Elliot Morales and two others. “Do you want to die here?” Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said Morales asked Carson. Morales then allegedly pulled out a .38-caliber revolver and shot him once in the cheek.
Carson and his 31-year-old friend were dressed in tank tops and cut-off shorts with boots. Police say when they first were approached by the suspects, Morales and pals started hurling gay epithets at them, including “Look at these faggots” and “What are you, gay wrestlers?” Even when Carson and friend started walking away, the suspects chased after them shouting “faggot” and “queer.”
Carson, who managed a yogurt store, had moved from Harlem to Brooklyn recently. “He was a courageous person,” Carson’s brother, Michael Bumpars, told the Daily News. “My brother was a beautiful person…He was our foundation.” Kay Allen, a friend for more than a decade, told the Times: “He was a proud gay man. A fabulous gay man” She added that he loved going to the Village: “His spirit was too big for this city. He didn’t have a negative bone in his body.”
And y’all wonder why I don’t like straight men and why I dont like being in any space with them…
yep. straight men can go straight to fucking hell and there abide to be quite honest. may he rest in peace but FUCK i’m mad as hell that dude;’s life was cut shirt cause some indescribable shits decided that he needed to pay with his life cause they needed to prove their mandhood
Tonight I attended an Atlanta zoning board meeting during which they voted on an ordinance aimed at closing adult businesses on Cheshire Bridge. I had to cut it short due to time restrictions, but here are a few things that didn’t make my address to the board:
“The supporters of this ordinance keep referring to a 1999 study which proposed rezoning. Their ideas seem to be stuck in the 90s along with their outfits.”
“It’s unfair to target adult businesses just because someone snatched your man on Cheshire Bridge.”
“You say you don’t want your children to see the strip clubs on Cheshire Bridge, but I don’t want mine to see your disgusting headband. Live and let live.”
Also, some anti sex work jackass who kept harassing the dancers who showed up tried to insult me by saying, “you’ve got a little sugar in you.” If only the rest of the homophobic remarks I got were so cute.