Italian fashion luminary Donatella Versace delivered a powerful message of support for LGBTQ rights during Milan Fashion Week as she received the Humanitarian Award for Equity and Inclusivity at the CNMI Sustainable Fashion Awards. In her impassioned speech, Versace expressed deep concern over the recent actions of Italy’s right-wing government aimed at curtailing the rights of LGBTQ individuals.
A Family of Acceptance
Versace, who serves as vice president of the board and artistic director of the Versace fashion house, shared a heartfelt personal anecdote about her late brother, Gianni Versace, coming out as gay when she was just 11 years old. She emphasized that his revelation changed nothing for her, emphasizing that love and acceptance transcended all else. “His love and encouragement made me who I am,” she affirmed.
Challenges to LGBTQ Rights in Italy
Under the leadership of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and her conservative Brothers of Italy party, Italy has witnessed a series of measures aimed at restricting LGBTQ rights. Notably, the government directed the city of Milan to cease automatically recording both parents in same-sex couples on city registers, and later sought legislation criminalizing efforts by Italian citizens to become parents, even in countries where such practices are legal.
Versace’s Call for Unity and Acceptance
Versace spoke out against the marginalization faced by LGBTQ individuals in Italy today, where “children of same-sex couples are not considered their children,” and “transgender people still suffer terrible violence.” She took a moment to acknowledge the presence of Italian left-wing politician and LGBTQ advocate Alessandro Zan, underlining the importance of his advocacy.
A Queer Icon’s Commitment
Closing her speech, Versace embraced her role as a “queer icon,” expressing pride in her dedication to the fight for freedom, equity, and inclusiveness. She emphasized the importance of building chosen families based on unconditional love and values such as creativity, openness, joy, and kindness. She left the audience with a powerful message of acceptance and understanding, envisioning an extraordinary world where people are more accepting of one another.
In a time of uncertainty for LGBTQ rights in Italy, Donatella Versace’s advocacy serves as a beacon of hope, resonating with a global audience committed to a more inclusive and accepting world.