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“The newspapers didn’t report it at all”: the story of a gay island created by Mussolini’s Fascists

The conditions on San Domino were squalid and prison-like. Yet it was also one of the only places gay men could be open about their sexuality

By Finbarr Toesland  

It’s well documented that the rise of Mussolini paved the way for abhorrent racial laws that heavily restricted the civil rights of Jewish Italians, alongside other ethnic minorities. But far less has been said about the devastating impactMussolini’s regime had on the country’s gay population. 

Seen as antithetical to traditional masculine ideals, gay men in fascist Italy were targeted for discrimination and oppression—even though technically…

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