An Italian mafia heir who does drag?!
In today’s strange but true news, a top Italian prosecutor shared that gays are finding inclusivity in the most unlikely place.
Nicola Gratteri, who has devoted his life and career against mafia crimes and organizations, shared in a recent press event that he’s come across a lot of gay mafia members of late. According to the DailyMail, the anti-mafia investigator in Calabria told the press that the mafia has evolved with society.
“Gays can be accepted now, even as foot soldiers, so long as they don’t parade it in public,” he said.
But how does the inspector know this? He says he has intercepted “passionate” letters between a crime boss and a young lieutenant. He’s also eavesdropped on phone calls which revealed that mafia foot soldiers enjoy going to, what he calls, “transvestite bars.” On top of that, he also notes that the son of a mob chief has a drag persona called Lady Godiva.
Despite having a few hurdles left in terms of LGBTQ rights, Italy is considered a relatively gay-friendly country and public opinion on gay rights are fairly liberal. That said, it took a while to get there. Italian society used to be fairly homophobic, and the Italian crime society even more so. Being gay was a life-threatening secret that risked murder after the discovery. This is due to homosexuality being seen as not only a sin but also a foil to masculinity.
“It undermines their image of themselves as tough, virile guys,” Gratteri said.
This culture trickled down even to the Italian crime world in America. As the New York Post notes, New Jersey mob boss John “Johnny Boy” D’Amato, who ran the DeVavalacante family, was shot dead in 1992. Turns out, D’Amato was murdered after it emerged he was gay.
But as Gratteri shares, times have changed for gay members of Italian crime organizations. Gays are finding inclusivity in even the most hostile of places.