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Mafia drops ban on homosexuality after discovering mob boss’ son is a fabulous drag queen

Emma Powys Maurice December 9, 2019
Mafia

Nicola Gratteri, anti-mafia prosecutor of Reggio Calabria, speaks at a conference in 2011. (Alfonso Di Vincenzo/Kontrolab /LightRocket/Getty)

The Italian Mafia has opened its doors to gay men for the first time after it emerged that a mob boss’ son is living as a fabulous drag queen.

In the past mobsters risked being murdered if they were even suspected of being gay. But the once fiercely homophobic Mafia has now “evolved with society”, an anti-Mafia investigator in the southern region of Calabria has revealed.

Nicola Gratteri told The Times that although homosexuality is still taboo among older bosses, the Mafia has relaxed its rules to permit gay men in its lower ranks, as long as they don’t “parade it in public”.

Gratteri eavesdropped on communications between the ‘Ndrangheta, Southern Italy‘s richest crime syndicate. The family are thought to control 80 per cent of cocaine flow in Europe, part of a business that brings them £38billion a year.

He intercepted “passionate” letters between one crime boss and a young lieutenant, and learned that many Mafia foot soldiers freely enjoy drag bars. He even discovered that the son of one prominent crime boss is living as a drag queen under the name Lady Godiva.

“It undermines their image of themselves as tough, virile guys,” said Gratteri. “But the Mafia have evolved along with society. Gays can be accepted now, even as foot soldiers, so long as they don’t parade it in public.”

Officials prepare to search the house of ‘Ndrangheta boss Pietro Longobucco, who was found dead in December 2018 (Alfonso Di Vincenzo/KONTROLAB /LightRocket/Getty)

Gratteri, who has lived for three decades under police protection, claims that the ‘Ndrangheta have grown soft.

“I’ve brought to trial the grandfathers and fathers of today’s bosses. They were impassive in the face of long prison sentences,” he said. “The young today can’t take the stress of prison in the way their parents did. They get paranoid, depressed. They’re more fragile.”

Instead of receiving the expected death threats for his comments, Gratteri was bombarded with emails accusing him of being “insensitive” for declaring the Mafia’s admittance of gay men meant they’d gone soft – suggesting that times really have changed.

Gratteri isn’t letting his guard down, though. In 2005 he overheard a boss and his son-in-law casually chatting about plans to murder him, and in 2017 police uncovered a plot to blow him up with 36lb of plastic explosives.

“It means I haven’t been to a beach, cinema or restaurant in two decades. I could never go to any of my children’s school plays,” he admitted.

“To live like this, you have to believe you’re doing something important, or you’d go crazy. Being anti-Mafia is like a religion.”

More: 'Ndrangheta, Calabria, drag queen, Italy, mafia, Organised crime

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