The Queerness of Our Wild Selves: Ivan Cotroneo's queering of Italian TV 

Julia Heim

 

This paper seeks to map out the forms of inclusive knowledge around LGBT individuals created through the mediatic works of Ivan Cotroneo. Arguably the Italian answer to Ryan Murphy, with all the singing and dancing high school kids one could expect, Cotroneo has been one of the most prolific creators of LGBT Italian television content. Cotroneo’s mediatic reach spans from film to television to digital productions, and his professional hats are just as varied, as producer (with his own production house 21), screenwriter, showrunner, and creator. Through these roles he has sought create empathy and understanding toward LGBT lives and experience in the Italian context. Because of this Cotroneo’s works have been nominated for Diversity Media Awards five times in the last 4 years, winning for both È arrivata la felicitià and Io e lei in 2016. This activist’s effort to fight bullying and systemic homophobic and transphobic social attitudes creates a landscape of normalized gender and sexual variance, often to the detriment of difference. This may be interpreted as an “inclusive” epistemology of “normal” that unfortunately still marginalizes liminal identities. On the other hand, when difference is not represented by an actual embodied minority group (LGBT or otherwise), Cotroneo finds pathways to portray a lived experience that exists outside traditional notions of normalcy—as we see in his depiction of the lives of a matriarchal family of mermaids in Sirene (2017). Through an investigation of his mediatic body of work over the last five years, this paper will bring to light a potential queerness that enters Italian mainstream media through non-LGBT diversities that more openly embody LGBTQIA+ difference.