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Italian General Fired for Book Saying LGBTQ People are ‘Not Normal’

‘Normality is heterosexuality,’ wrote Roberto Vannacci

An Italian general was fired after his book, The World Upside Down, was attacked as racist and homophobic. 

Roberto Vannacci’s termination has ignited debate over the limitations of free speech under Italian law.

Vannacci was removed as the head of Italy’s paratrooper brigade and from his position at the Military Geographical Institute after he self-published the now-controversial book. Despite the backlash, his book climbed to the top of Amazon Italy’s Best Seller list. In it, Vannacci is critical of various people and ideologies, including environmentalists, leftists, feminists, Black Italians, LGBTQ people and the unemployed.

“Dear homosexuals, you’re not normal, get over it!” Vannacci wrote. “Normality is heterosexuality. If everything seems normal to you, however, it is the fault of the plots of the international gay lobby which banned terms that until a few years ago were in our dictionaries…” 

He also “also throws doubt on people of colour ever becoming Italian, using as an example Paola Egonu, a member of Italy’s volleyball team who was born in Italy to Nigerian parents,” report The Times.

“Paola Egonu is an Italian citizen but her features don’t reflect Italian-ness,” wrote Vannacci. 

Vannacci defended his statements during interviews with Italian media outlets, saying he would “not take anything back and he would write the book the same way over again if he had to,” per EuroNews.Culture.

The book and Vannacci’s statements were denounced by Italian Defense Minister Guido Crosetto as “ramblings… that discredit the army, the Defense Ministry, and the Constitution.”

Alessandro Zan, an LGBTQ activist and politician, said, “[It is] serious and alarming that an army general in office publishes a political essay… steeped in anti-democratic, racist, homophobic and misogynist language,” per LGBTQ Nation.

Catholic historian and self-identified feminist Lucetta Scaraffia published an opinion piece on Aug. 26  defending The World Upside Down, writing that it “deserves to be taken seriously.”

Scaraffia wrote that Vannacci “makes a nostalgic speech about the family of the good old days” but that his military service and foreign deployments make it clear that “he knows the world.”

“The book is much better than interviews,” she wrote in a translation of Il Giornale. “The interviews are terrible, he with the journalists cannot juggle, even on TV he is faced with skilled people, with [assassinate] journalists who try to make him say what they want. I have not yet read a single interview made with a minimum of respect and curiosity.”

“I believe that one must be able to express herself even if homophobic and racist,” Scaraffia added. “But he is not. He does not consider homosexuality a disease like many scientists up to 30 years ago.”

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