The Italian designer Stefano Gabbana, one half of the Dolce & Gabbana brand, has said he is tired of being defined by his sexuality. Making it even more obvious to the outside world of how much privilege he has as a rich white man.
“I don’t want to be called gay, because I’m simply a man … full stop,” the 55-year-old said in an interview with Italy’s Corriere della Sera daily.
“The word ‘gay’ was invented by those who need to label people, and I don’t want to be identified by my sexual choices,” he said.
Gabbana launched the luxury fashion label in 1984 with his partner Domenico Dolce, and although they separated in 2004 the couple continue to work together.
“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 Milanese couturier said gay associations “often serve as a defense, but I don’t want to be protected by anyone, because I’ve done nothing wrong”.
It appears that certain pockets of society have decided that since they now have access to the same rights as their neighbors, they can sit the hell down and enjoy them. So many of us are declaring “We don’t need labels” and refusing to acknowledge their sexuality openly or actively, murmuring about fluidity and self-identification. Is this a political stance, a belief that we truly live in a world where we no longer need labels? Because, although optimistic, it’s a slightly misguided take on the realities of a world still divided. Now I stand completely behind the sentiment of an un-labelled society… It stems from a genuine belief that we are all equal, which I couldn’t be more in support of. But we aren’t there yet.
I hear so often about how we don’t need labels, but we do. Although I agree that we shouldn’t need them, it’s a truth self-evident that an army must wear it’s colours, and ours is that rainbow flag. When movements such as Race Equality, Women’s Rights and Religious Freedom were in full swing, do you think that members of those minorities could just hide on the side-lines? No. They had to band together, and it made their collective voice louder. It made them stronger, together.
This is why we need labels. To stand up and be counted. We must declare ourselves, each and every one, as a member of the LGBT community so that future generations won’t need to. We must wear proudly our sexuality – declare it! Become bastions for the cause within our communities; Be the example for the younger generations; inspire others to come out and join in! I’m not suggesting we blast out Lady GaGa and streak through our town centre’s singing Born This Way, covered head to toe in rainbow paint, but still… Be active. Be open. Be heard.