ROME • The word "gay" does not fit him. That was what Italian designer Stefano Gabbana, one half of the iconic Dolce & Gabbana fashion brand, said on Sunday of his frustration of being labelled by his sexuality.
"I don't want to be called gay because I'm simply a man... full stop," the 55-year-old noted in an interview with the 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.
He launched the luxury fashion label in 1984 with his partner Domenico Dolce and although they separated in 2004, they 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 defence, but I don't want to be protected by anyone because I've done nothing wrong".
He realised he was homosexual at 18 when his girlfriend "whom I really liked" came to visit him for a weekend in Milan. But when they went dancing, he "was watching the men more than her".
"I had known (about being gay) for a while, but I didn't have the courage to admit it. Only through therapy did I realise that there had been clear signs in my childhood.
"I wanted to play alone... because I felt different from the other children and I feared that if we were together, they would realise. And they would tell my mother," he added.