ROME (Reuters) - The granddaughter of Italy's wartime dictator Benito Mussolini has defended being a fascist by saying it was better than being a "faggot".
Alessandra Mussolini's televised derogatory remarks came less than a month after Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi welcomed her far-right political party into his coalition before a general election in April.
Mussolini, proud of her ancestral ties to "Il Duce", had been criticised by a drag queen-turned-politician about being a fascist on Italian TV talk show Porta a Porta.
"I'm proud of it," she snapped in comments due to be aired later on Thursday.
Vladimir Luxuria, who hopes to be Europe's first "transgender" MP and is running with the Communist Refoundation party, then asked if Mussolini wanted to lock up homosexuals.
"Better to be a fascist than a faggot," Mussolini said, using the highly offensive Italian word "frocio", according to Porta a Porta's press office.
It was not the first time one of Berlusconi's allies publicly insulted homosexuals. Mirko Tremaglia, an outspoken right-wing minister for Italians living abroad, said in 2004 that Europe was ruled by "culattoni".
The word derives from the Italian colloquial for bottom (culo) and refers to sodomists.