We have all come to expect nothing less than queen behavior from Italian fashion maven and queer icon Donatella Versace. And she’s done it again by recently denouncing the recent anti-LGBTQ+ actions of Italy’s right-wing government.
On Sunday night, during Milan Fashion Week, Versace was presented with the Humanitarian Award for Equity and Inclusivity at the CNMI Sustainable Fashion Awards.
“Here in Italy, it has never been more important for us to champion minority voices. Our government is set on taking away the rights of individuals to live as they wish,” Versace, the vice president of the board and artistic director of Versace fashion house, said in her acceptance speech. “We all must fight for freedom.”
Versace’s brother, Gianni Versace, started the Versace fashion house in 1978. He was tragically murdered in 1997.
In her speech, Versace spoke about her late brother’s coming out to her as gay when she was 11 years old.
“For me this changed nothing. I loved him, and I didn’t care who he loved,” she said. “His love and encouragement made me who I am.”
Under the leadership of Giorgia Meloni, the Prime Minister of Italy, the Italian government has made efforts to limit LGBTQ+ rights.
Meloni’s coalition pushes ‘conservative moral values’ throughout Italy and disapproves of same-sex couples parenting children. The coalition has targeted queer parents in the country and altered a child’s birth certificate to delete one same-sex parent. In March, the government announced that state agencies will no longer register the children of same-sex couples. In June, Meloni’s government promoted legislation that criminalized the act of Italian citizens trying to become parents even in countries where the practice is legal.
Meloni went on record saying, “We want a nation in which – whatever each person’s legitimate choices and free inclinations – it is no longer a scandal to say we are all born from a man and a woman.”
In her speech, Versace highlighted that, in Italy, “children of same-sex couples are not considered their children” and “transgender people still suffer terrible violence.”
She also mentioned Italian left-wing politician and LGBTQ advocate Alessandro Zan, who was in the audience, addressing him by saying, “Your voice is critical in our world, and I am here to support all that you fight for.”
Versace acknowledged that she has been referred to as a “queer icon” and that she is “very proud of that.”
“I fight for freedom, equity and inclusiveness every day. I built my chosen family with unconditional love. My friends and my team are not defined by race, religion, age, gender or sexual orientation but by creativity, openness, joy and kindness — values with matter,” she said. “If we were all more accepting and more understanding of one another, what an extraordinary world it would be.”