Stefano Gabbana & Domenico Dolce
Stefano Gabbana, one half of the Dolce & Gabbana fashion empire, may be attracted to men but he’s certainly not proud to be described as gay.
In an interview with the Corriere della Sera newspaper, Gabbana asserted: “I don’t want to be called gay, because I’m simply a man … full stop.”
“The word ‘gay’ was invented by those who need to label people, and I don’t want to be identified by my sexual choices,” the 55-year-old Italian designer insisted.
“I thought that I could help spread a new culture as a famous person, a culture no longer based on gay rights but on human rights. We are human beings before being gay, heterosexual or bisexual,” Gabbana said.
The billionaire also went on to lash out at LGBTQ rights groups, stating that they “often serve as a defence, but I don’t want to be protected by anyone, because I’ve done nothing wrong.”
This is not the first time that Gabbana and his business partner, Domenico Dolce, have distanced themselves from the LGBTQ community.
In 2015, celebrities and shoppers mounted a brief boycott against the brand over the men’s comments that gay families are unnatural. The designers told Panorama magazine then that they “oppose gay adoptions” and that gay families are “a fad.”
The duo said: “The only family is the traditional one… No chemical offsprings and rented uteri. Life has a natural flow, there are things that should not be changed.”
They added: “You are born to a mother and a father – or at least that’s how it should be. I call [them] children of chemistry, synthetic children. Uteri [for] rent, semen chosen from a catalogue.”
The comments led to a demonstration outside the label’s London store and saw one of the company’s top executives resigning in protest. Ricky Martin and Elton John, both of whom are raising children born through surrogates, criticised the designers. “Your archaic thinking is out of step with the times, just like your fashions,” said John.
Ironically, Dolce & Gabbana became famous in part by using homoerotic imagery in its marketing. At least one of its campaigns included same-sex families.
The designers also recently raised the ire of many LGBTQ people when they defended dressing the US first lady, Melania Trump, despite her husband’s anti-LGBTQ stance.
“We are Italian and we don’t care about politics and mostly neither about the American one!” said a furious Gabbana, responding to criticism from singer Miley Cyrus earlier this year.
The fashion icons, who were romantically involved for 19 years before breaking up as a couple in 2005, are known for dressing celebrities such as Madonna and Beyoncé.
They founded their fashion house in Milan in 1985 and now employ more than 3,000 people and run stores in 40 countries around the world.