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social sciences

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Mieli, Mario (1952-1983)  
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In this wide-ranging work, Mieli discusses six major topics. 1) He challenges antigay commonplaces (e.g., that homosexuality is an illness, that sexual attraction is permanent and directed to only one sex) in medicine, psychology, sociology, law, politics, religion, etc. from his own personal viewpoint, as gained from his participation in the gay liberation movement. 2) He traces the history of the social repression of homosexuality. 3) He insists on the universality of desire (i.e., it concerns not just a minority, but is present in all individuals). 4) He attempts to shed light on the relationship between homoeroticism and that which is beyond the common perception of what is usually considered "normal"; i.e., he sees homosexuality as a bridge toward an existential dimension decidedly other, sublime, and profound, such as, he says, that which is partly revealed in the so-called "schizophrenic" experiences. 5) He underscores the importance of gay liberation within the framework of human liberation. 6) He sees the goal of liberation as the freeing of the total erotic potential of each individual.

The Freudian and Marxist aspects of the work are somewhat obscured in the English translation, which is 14% shorter than the original Italian. Some omissions would mainly be of interest to Italian readers (such as passages from the writings of Dante and Pier Paolo Pasolini), but a number of quotations of Marx were omitted, as were all references to Hegel. As a result, some coherence of the theoretical argument is lost, though Mieli's reasoning is everywhere quite compelling.

Sponsor Message.

Soon after Mieli's death, the largest gay organization in Rome changed its name to Circolo di Cultura Omosessuale Mario Mieli (Homosexual Cultural Circle "Mario Mieli"). Massimo Consoli, the founder of the Italian gay movement, has called Mieli "an extraordinary militant, one of the few clear minds of our movement."

Hubert Kennedy

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social sciences >> Overview:  Aversion Therapy

A form of behavior modification that employs unpleasant and sometimes painful stimuli, aversion therapy was one of the more popular treatments for homosexuality and cross-dressing in the 1950s and 1960s.

social sciences >> Overview:  Italy

Although it is a founding member of the European Union, Italy lags beyond other member states in the protections and respect it accords to glbtq citizens, especially gay and lesbian couples.

social sciences >> Consoli, Massimo

Writer, archivist, and theorist, Massimo Consoli was the founder of the Italian gay movement and its leading activist.

literature >> Dante Alighieri

In the Divine Comedy Dante treats male homosexuality first as violence against God and then more sympathetically as merely one of the kinds of love.

literature >> Pasolini, Pier Paolo

Most of the fiction and much of the poetry of Pier Paolo Pasolini, one of the great Marxist homosexual artists of the twentieth century, was shaped by his fascination with the lives of subproletarian youths.


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

Mieli, Mario. Elementi di critica omosessuale. Turin: Einaudi, 1977. Reprint, Milan: Feltrinelli, 2002. The reprint edition has additional articles by Teresa de Lauretis and others.

_____. Homosexuality and Liberation: Elements of a Gay Critique. David Fernbach, trans. London: Gay Men's Press, 1980.

Seymour, Mark. "Mieli, Mario." Who's Who in Contemporary Gay and Lesbian History from World War II to the Present Day. Robert Aldrich and Garry Wotherspoon, eds. London: Routledge, 2001. 280-81.


    Citation Information
    Author: Kennedy, Hubert  
    Entry Title: Mieli, Mario  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2005  
    Date Last Updated July 27, 2005  
    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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