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Italy’s Eurovision Entry Signals the Country’s Changes

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MILAN — In February, the artists Mahmood and Blanco turned to each other onstage at Italy’s national song competition and sang, “I’d like to love you, but I’m always wrong.” It was the refrain of “Brividi” (translated as “Chills”), a song about the vulnerability of love, as experienced by all people — regardless of gender, identity or sexuality.

When the song won at that competition, the Sanremo contest, and became Italy’s entry for this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, the unexpected happened: There wasn’t much pushback.

There was some grumbling from a socially conservative politician about what he called L.G.B.T. “domination” at the contest, and disdain that Mahmood performed one evening wearing a garter, but Alessandro Mahmoud, known as Mahmood, had been expecting a bigger response, he said in a recent interview.

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