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social sciences

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Consoli, Massimo (1945-2007)  
page: 1  2  

One of the most notable examples of Consoli's educational activities occurred in 1981. He spent several years in New York and was there when the first cases of AIDS were announced in the press. He immediately recognized its danger, wrote an article for publication in Italy in which he referred to the disease as "the plague of the 20th century," and gave up a lucrative position in New York to return to Italy and continue there his educational efforts on behalf of safe sex. Unfortunately, his dearest friend, the writer Dario Bellezza, died of complications from AIDS in 1996.

In the 1990s Consoli was on the front lines almost daily. He was the first person to request a meeting with the Roman police regarding crimes against gays. (The Police Commissioner later said that it was due to his work that these crimes were drastically reduced.) He also met with the mayor of Rome to request--and obtain--the appointment of a liaison officer to the gay and lesbian community.

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On July 29, 1992, he organized with Kevin Calegari a demonstration at the Vatican to protest the anti-gay letter of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) to the U. S. bishops entitled "Some Considerations Concerning the Catholic Response to Legislative Proposals on the Non-Discrimination of Homosexual Persons." This document described homosexuality as an "objective disorder" and a "tendency ordered towards an intrinsic moral evil." It advocated legal discrimination against homosexuals in areas of adoption rights, the hiring of teachers and coaches, and in the military.

Consoli's editorial and literary activity is notable for its range and visibility. He was interviewed frequently on radio and television, almost always in his role as founder of the Italian gay movement.

He authored some thirty books and thousands of articles for newspapers and journals. His plays wereproduced successfully and he was also known as a poet, but most of his writings dealt with historical topics.

Perhaps his most important books are Homocaust (1984, reprint 1991), which describes the Nazi persecution of homosexuals, and Ecce Homo (1998; translated into Greek, 2001), which treats homosexuality in the Bible. His own personal favorite of his works was Andata & Ritorno (2003), an autobiographical novel in which the protagonist's serious illness prompts a review of earlier periods of his life. The more conventional autobiography, Affetti Speciali (1999), traces not only his own life, but also the birth and progress of the Italian gay movement.

Consoli always enjoyed tracing the history of other gay pioneers, especially the German homosexual theorist/emancipationist Karl Heinrich Ulrichs (1825-1895), who spent the last fifteen years of his life in Italy. After rediscovering the tomb of Ulrichs in L'Aquila (about 50 miles northeast of Rome) in 1988, he began annual pilgrimages there on August 28, Ulrichs's birthday. At first he made these journeys alone, then he was accompanied by more and more friends, so that by 1995 newspapers began to report on these commemorations. They became international events.

Consoli's anarchist and anticlerical positions were solidly reasoned; but despite his rejection of all organized religion, he was nevertheless profoundly spiritual, discerning the divine in nature.

While there was, of course, an evolution in his thinking, his anarchist/libertarian principles remained steady. He experienced the persecution of state and church, but, despite serious health problems in his last years, he continued to write, and to use the Internet to inform a wide circle.

Consoli also knew the joy of being able to adopt a young man, who later married and in 2004 presented him with a grandson named Massimo.

After a long battle with cancer, Consoli died on November 4, 2007. His body was interred near that of his friend Dario Bellezza.

Hubert Kennedy

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Consoli, Massimo. Affetti speciali. Bolsena, Italy: R. Massari editore, 1999.

_____. Independence Gay: Alle origini del Gay Pride. Bolsena, Italy: R. Massari editore, 2000.

Croce, Fabio, ed. Bandiera Gay: Il movimento gay in Italia dalle origini al 2000 attraverso L'Archivio Massimo Consoli. Rome: Edizioni Libreria Croce, 1999.

Massimi Consoli Homepage:


    Citation Information
    Author: Kennedy, Hubert  
    Entry Title: Consoli, Massimo  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2005  
    Date Last Updated November 9, 2007  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2005, glbtq, inc.  


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