NON-POSSESSIVE GAY LOVE

We come now to the non-possessive love. Also in this case I will resort to a literary quotation and precisely to ”Another country” by James Baldwin, one of the most beautiful gay-themed books I have ever read. It is a masterpiece of American literature, but it is the gay side of the book that has always enchanted me. For Baldwin, homosexuality is a high value, it is a form of love with a capital A. The book has tragic implications in the initial part, which seems to follow a rather common direction in the previous gay literature: homosexuality as a tragedy. But the second part, which is the preponderant one, completely overturns things and homosexual love ends up imposing itself as a value capable of giving meaning to a life. 

The characters are many but the story that makes up the central part of the book is a wonderful gay love story born by chance between Eric, a young American writer, and Yves, a French boy younger than him. Their story is not a tragedy, it is not a story of loneliness, no! It’s a true love story and it’s a love story that ends well. Eric meets Yves shortly after the war, they both know very well that their life will no longer be the same as before. The atmosphere is of tenderness, of mutual respect, of profound love. Eric returns to America and Yves sends him a sweet letter and after a while follows him to the United States. Yves arrives at the Los Angeles airport and Eric waits for him. When the boy crosses the gates with the agitation in his heart, he knows that he has arrived in the city (Los Angeles) in which the inhabitants of paradise (the Angels) had set their home! And with this metaphor the book ends. But this love story is not a fairy tale, Yves loves Eric but knows that sooner or later he will need to feel free even by Eric, to be himself; also Eric is aware of all this, he knows that sooner or later, in a more or less distant future, Yves will leave, he will have to leave to follow his path, but this fact will not lead Eric to abandon Yves to his destiny to look for a another boy, Eric will love him in a total way even knowing that at some point he will lose it, because, as Baldwin says, in love there is nothing to decide but everything to accept. This consideration has always seemed sublime to me.

In practice, the relationship between Eric and Yves is an example of true non-possessive gay love. I would like to point out that very often gays have in mind a gay couple model derived from heterosexual marriage. In the case of the gay couple, since the law in Italy doesn’t contemplate gay unions, there are no strong legal guarantees of the stability, at least formal, of the relationship, but the double assumption remains that the couple must be destined to last forever and it must necessarily be exclusive, that is, in essence, it must stand on a real pact between two guys who are bound by mutual fidelity and the indissolubility of the relationship, this at least seems a priori to be the most desirable condition.

The story told by Baldwin is, instead, an example of a spontaneous relationship of love on the basis of which no explicit or tacit agreements of any kind are taken for granted, in essence of a true non-possessive love, without any external constraint. Demanding a guarantee of fidelity and duration means not realizing that at the base of every relationship of love there are feelings and feelings are not coercible or binding in any way.

Let us ask ourselves now what are the most typical manifestations of sexuality, which are based on a true affective dimension. Here the problem becomes complex and we come to the conclusion that in reality an affective dimension, however tenuous, always exists at the base of sexuality. It can be an absolutely equal and uncompromising love like that of Maurice and Scudder and even without any prerequisite of durability or exclusivity like that of Eric and Yves, but at the basically even the half-love of Clive for Maurice was born in a spontaneous way and implied, at least at the beginning, a real emotional involvement of Clive towards Maurice. Love, in itself, when it is born, is born with an enormous emotional potential, but sometimes on this basis, the reasoning, which is no longer emotional transport, takes over and so the logic of giving and having, the convenience, the balance of risks and benefits start to become the substitute for love and the emotional dimension goes into the background or ends up being completely canceled.

Gay love absolutely equal and unconditional exists in the novels, as an archetype, as an inspiring principle, but when you compare yourself with reality you understand that nobody is perfectly Maurice or perfectly Eric and that in all of us, in various ways and degrees, we hide a bit of Clive, and that true feelings always coexist, at various levels, with other motivations.

I would like to immediately say that the other motivations are not necessarily utilitarian and opportunistic as those of Clive and are often spontaneous and totally unconscious. Speaking with the guys, sometimes I hear expressions like ”I want to try to stay with a guy”, this expression is a sign of emotional immaturity, that is, of not being ready to understand the meaning of couple life. The speech needs to be deepened. A guy’s sexuality develops and structures itself through individual masturbation well before a couple’s relationship is reached. Masturbation, through the fantasies that accompany it, allows a guy to prefigure the future couple sexuality, but masturbation has the intrinsic limit of being a substantially individual activity even if projective, in which a guy confronts himself only with his imagination, it is precisely for this reason that masturbation is generally very gratifying, because one must compare with himself only.

A boy who arrives at the first experiences of falling in love can easily find himself in traumatic situations in which his sexual fantasy has to deal with the reality of confrontation with the other. The experience of falling in love is in itself completely different from that of masturbation, contains inherent the risk of a real emotional contact with another guy, which involves a whole series of problems that in masturbation are solved at the level of fantastic projections; whereas when the guy falls in love these problems must be dealt with on a real level. It is about declaring or not declaring one’s feelings, about uncertainty on the other guy’s sexual orientation, about the type of relationship that can be created, about the way to proceed, about the times and the limits of the relationship.

However, one thing remains clear, when one falls in love with another, the relationship is essential beyond any a priori conception of a couple life. Falling in love has a deep emotional dimension and, for a young boy, it has a fundamental formative value, it is an emotional involvement that touches all aspects of personality and brings a boy into a truly new dimension. For some elements, such as having an erection when you are close to the guy you love or simply when you think of him or masturbating thinking about that guy, falling in love develops in continuity with the feelings previously experienced in masturbation, and the masturbation itself is now used by the guy in love mostly to relive experiences and to project in his mind images all focused on the figure of the beloved guy, but falling in love also has an absolutely new and determining dimension non-strictly sexual: the presence of the beloved one is strongly felt and a strongly altruistic affective component begins to manifest, which is the essential component of falling in love.

You realize that you love another guy, that you want his good, that a single smile can be precious and that ultimately the affective interest is addressed to the person of the other as a whole. This type of experience greatly favors the maturation of a guy and makes him try, beyond the strict sexuality, what love is and indeed makes him see sexuality not as an end but as a means for the realization of the good of the other, respecting the times and the real needs of the other.

What does it mean to fall in love? Falling in love means finding in another guy some true deep consonances, not always and not only in the sense of finding similar interests or analogous ways of thinking but often, even if unconsciously, in finding analogous ways of suffering, analogous reasons of unease, similar attempts to escape difficulties, I would say analogous forms of despair when that level is reached. At the base of love there is essentially the sharing of discomfort and the possibility of finding a dialogue, even non-verbal, precisely on discomfort. If this dialogue is honest and we realize that it is equally important for the other, the prejudices fall and we question our ways of being, we are willing to change ideas, to follow the other on his way, to recognize the superficiality of our way of seeing things.

The speeches of principle, the assumptions taken for granted, the presuppositions that seemed obvious to us, leave the field to the idea of making the other feel good, beyond any condition and any assumption, we realize that the other has a his intimate coherence, that his reasons have a meaning that goes beyond our assumptions and even beyond our assumptions of principle, that his weaknesses are very similar to ours and that a serious comparison between people who love each other is not a comparison between ideologies or between abstract positions, it is not a comparison of presuppositions but a trying to understand the reasons of the other by accepting to put aside one’s own or those that are believed to be their one’s own.

Falling in love means understanding the reasons of the other, that is, going out of our own strictly individual dimension. Falling in love one must recognize the profound dignity of the other behind his behavior, that is he must understand the dignity and meaning of those behaviors beyond appearances. Understanding the other is not a question of intelligence but a question of love, because love leads to recognize the profound consonance between two people, which often manifests itself in their common way of suffering. If there is something in the other that you do not understand, it means that you are not in love with him.

When you fall in love, the other person’s way of being is transparent before your eyes so that you can understand its deep motivations and share them, you also feel them as they were yours and don’t judge them anymore. What does sex have to do with all this? Sex, by itself, can express a deep love, when even sex becomes a profound way of communicating. A hug communicates more than a thousand words. But sex is a form of love when it is really lived together, in conditions of perfect equality, I insist on this idea, I mean that the presence of attitudes of closure, of misunderstanding of the reasons and moods of the other, the attitudes of instrumentalization of the other, at any level, prevent one from experiencing a sexuality that is truly a form of love.

Having other reasons, besides those that are recognized in the other, means having prejudices, mental reservations, means setting conditions for an interpersonal exchange that should be without conditions. The basic presupposition of every form of love is the recognition of the authentic human dimension and at the same time of the ”fragility” that characterizes the loved one, because only in the context of this authentic human dimension and at the same time ”fragile” the apparent inconsistencies in the behavior of the other find a meaning and a positive value beyond any assumption and any theoretical model.

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GAY LOVE AND GAY SEX

Let’s start from the first point. To the classic question: “When a guy is gay?” I always reply that “A guy is gay if he falls in love with other guys”, this definition, which seems obvious, contrasts another widespread definition, according to which “a guy is gay if he has sex with other guys “, which is the most common definition of gay. The two concepts seem similar but in reality they differ as much as love differs from sex. It is not a question of terminology and has important implications in people’s lives. 
 
It is a fact that there are many guys who have sex with other guys without falling in love with them, these are gay only according to the common definition, but according to the conventions I followed, I should simply call them guys who have sex with other guys, the market for pornography for the great majority is addressed to them. I don’t mean that guys who fall in love with other guys don’t use pornography, such a statement would be ridiculous, I mean instead that the masturbation of guys who fall in love with other guys, very often is not related to pornography but to fantasy and to the re-elaboration of experiences and desires linked to real people in which affectivity plays a substantial role.
 
It often happens that guys who have sex with other guys without falling in love are people who also have a more or less satisfying hetero sex life. It is not really a question of bisexuals, precisely because towards  guys there is  no real emotional component, which is instead turned towards women and is often strongly frustrated. For these guys who have sex with guys, sex with a guy is essentially an adventure, a diversion, an escape from the frustration of hetero affectivity. These people naturally tend to bring into a gay relationship with a guy behavior patterns typically hetero, far from the spontaneous sexuality of guys who fall in love with other guys, that is, far from the parity that is typical of gay sex. When I talk about gay sexuality, I’m not referring, of course, to pornography or to what people believe to be typically gay but to what most guys who fall in love with guys, i.e. gays in this sense, live and above all want.
 
To explain the difference between this true gay sexuality and that of guys who have sex with other guys but don’t fall in love with them, I will use a concrete example taken from the “Maurice”, a wonderful novel by Edward Morgan Forster. When I read the novel for the first time I felt the thrill of having in my hands a book that would always remain on my bedside table. The book is extraordinarily addictive.
 
Maurice and Clive, one of his college mates, start a homosexual relationship, it seems a love story destined to be lasting and deep but Clive is a young ambitious aristocrat and chooses to sacrifice love on the altar of the political career. Not marrying and being considered homosexual would marginalize him, so he comes to pretend to fall in love with a girl and marries her. Maurice and Clive will continue to meet in a formal way but the first love story of the book is over.
 
Maurice, invited by Clive to his estate, meets Clive’s wife, but above all meets another guy, a gamekeeper from Clive’s estate, named Scudder, more or less the same age as Maurice and Clive. 
 
While Clive’s aristocratic friends treat Scudder as a servant and humiliate him by giving him orders and tips in money, Maurice treats him on an equal footing from the first moment and both of them understand that something new and important is beginning for them. I would like to strongly emphasize the fact that Maurice treats Scudder at par because this is the basic condition of a true gay love. When, during a heavy rain, dripping water comes down from the ceiling of a salon, the aristocrats call Scudder to clean everything and move the furniture to prevent it from getting wet and they go to another room, but Maurice takes off his jacket and stays with Scudder to clean up the room where it had rained. This and other similar behaviors by Maurice are spontaneous and are indicative of Maurice’s respect for Scudder and of the fact that Maurice tries to do something that Scudder would like and that is an opportunity to initiate a minimum of direct dialogue, without the concern of social rituality and of caste to be respected, and above all in a more direct and private dimension of human sympathy.
 
In a dark night Scudder climbs with a ladder from the garden in Maurice’s room and the two live together their first sexual contact, the moment is exciting but in the morning Maurice is assailed by the doubt that Scudder wants to blackmail him. Maurice and Scudder will end up explaining each other and realizing that they cannot do without one another. Scudder, pushed by his family, decides anyway to leave for America as an emigrant because he thinks that what happened between him and Maurice should not affect Maurice’s life, which could have a future in politics and in high society. Maurice is assailed by despair, he would like to see Scudder, he would like to talk to him, but he cannot, he goes to the pier where the steamer is about to leave but Scudder is not there, then he remembers that they had talked about the possibility of meeting in the boathouse of the estate of Clive, he goes there and Scudder is there, he did not leave for America, that is, Scudder eventually made an act of faith in Maurice, he believed in Maurice’s love and in the fact that Maurice would not have abandoned him in the name of political career or of the social position.
 
When Maurice sees Scudder in the boathouse he is so happy he cannot even speak and the chapter ends like this: And since Maurice did not speak, indeed could not, he added, “And now we shan’t be parted no more, and that’s finished.” –
 
One last chapter concludes the novel, if you want a chapter that has the bitterness of Dante’s contrappasso [The law of “contrappasso” (retaliation), from the Latin contra and patior, “to suffer the opposite”, is a principle that regulates the punishment that strikes the offenders by the opposite of their guilt or by analogy to it. It is present in numerous historical and literary contexts of religious influence, such as the Divine Comedy.]: Clive realizes that Maurice is happy, knows that Maurice has made the right choice and that he will love, Scudder for life while, loved in turn by him, while he, aristocrat ad social climber, will have to go to bed with a beautiful girl he doesn’t love and to which he will ruin life to follow his ambitions.
 
The novel presents two characters, one of them who embodies the gay morality, Maurice, who is a guy who falls in love with other guys, and the other embodies the gay immorality, Clive, who is a guy who only has sex with other guys but doesn’t fall in love with them. Maurice is the honest gay who, when he falls in love, falls in love without reservation and is not willing to trade his love in exchange for anything, his love for Scudder leads him to expose himself and to risk himself by putting aside any privilege of caste. Clive is the dishonest gay man who agrees to put aside his sexuality, behind which there are evidently no strong feelings, selling it in exchange for social prestige and political career. Every dialectic is impossible between these two characters who are the embodiment of good and evil under the gay perspective.
 
As for Scudder, who is certainly not a secondary character, I would be inclined to say that he represents for Maurice the opportunity, the unique opportunity to get out of the limbo of sublimations and enter the real world of sexuality, lived with passion. Scudder takes the first steps of an explicit sexual type and in doing so he risks a lot. Even Scudder has a high morality, a vulgar man could have used the weapon of blackmail to take advantage of Maurice’s feelings but this thought doesn’t even touch him and when he realizes that this is just what Maurice is thinking of him, he gives him a lesson of morality reproaching him for having nourished even the simple suspicion of being the object of such a low action on his part. Maurice will understand.
 
Maurice and Scudder experience sexuality as an expression of their deep love, and it is precisely in this way that sexuality acquires its highest meaning, because love is total transport towards the other. The gay sexuality of Maurice and Scudder on one side and that of the aristocratic Clive on the other are apparently superimposable but for the first two, sex is really love, for the last one it is just a game that has to give way to more important interests.
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A TRUE STORY OF A GAY PRIEST

Newspapers write many times stories of gay priests and gay prelates who give themselves to the good life taking advantage of their prestige and their social position and combining meetings with male prostitutes or with guys who for some reason cannot subtract themselves. Although managing a gay site for years and despite having met several times priests and religious through that site, I must say that what I saw is completely different from what can be read in the newspapers. For the sake of honesty and with the consent of the person of whom I speak, which unfortunately is no more alive, I would like to tell here the true story of a gay priest I met through the chat. I think it is proper to make people understand the real extent of the problem, which is not in the scandalous behavior of someone, scandalous especially for the gays themselves as well as of course for the Church, but in the deep suffering of many, according to what I can see, of  the great majority of gay priests. 
 
Several years ago, I was in chat with a priest who was fifty years old at the time. The dialogue between us was characterized, at the beginning, by a certain mutual distrust. It seemed strange to me to be contact by a priest, it was a rather rare event and I thought it could be the usual fake that needs to have fun abusing a gay chat (and unfortunately there are several fake), then, over the weeks dialogue between us became particularly serious, I will quote below some passages (I call the priest who speaks to me Paul, fictitious name, I’m project):
 
Paul writes: Don’t be surprised, project, there are many  gay priests but I really feel a priest, I cannot tell you if when I made the choice to enter the seminary, it was really my vocation or under what seemed my vocation there was the inability to be what I was or maybe the desire to spend my life anyway for my neighbor, doing something good, since I could not live as I wanted. I grew up in the parish environment and I felt it as my natural environment starting as a child. Faith for me was always a great value, of course I understood that there was a contrast between my faith and what I was and when I made my choice I consciously chose to put aside what I was and to follow the Lord because I hoped to find some consolation too. When you’re young you react emotionally and you don’t know that over time many things change and that making choices that are “forever” is much more difficult than it seems.
I have had several parishes, now I’m at [omissis], it‘s a nice place and it’s good people, almost all old, there’s so much misery but above all economic, there’s no moral misery, there’s no criminality, there’s no violence, there is no drug, they do not cheat the neighbor and there is also a lot of dignity even if they are poor and perhaps exactly because of their being poor, that dignity that I don’t have or I no longer have because sometimes I feel like the wrong man in the wrong place. 
The parishioners love me and I love them, many are farmers but they are really good people. But I feel in the wrong place because in a sense I’m lying to them, but I don’t even know if things are just like that. I thought that maybe I should leave the Church because I’m not worthy to be there but it’s an idea that scares me, I don’t think I could live if I had to leave the Church and then I would feel a traitor to things in which, despite everything, I believe deeply.
When I can pray, I have the feeling that the Lord is near me and helps me to move forward. Understand me well, I have never betrayed my vows but not only, when I happened to come into contact with young men I always behaved like a priest must behave and then it was not even a sacrifice because those people for me were sacred, I tell you as if in confession, if I had put in trouble one of those guys I would have felt as a worm.
The result of all this was that I have always avoided contacts with young men and boys, who might need a real priest. I put in the first place above all poor, old and sick people. When I happened to witness those who were dying I prayed with a very strong intensity that God could help them by giving them so much faith to face the moment of the passing. In those moments I had no doubts and I felt I was a priest in the most beautiful and profound sense because I was bringing the Lord to people who needed comfort.
But sometimes I really think that I should leave the Church because so many things I have to say are things that I don’t really feel, I have tried to follow the teaching of the Church but sometimes it seems to me in full consciousness of not being able to adhere to those things.
 
Project writes: But if you left the Church, what prospects would you have?
 
Paul writes: In practice none, I don’t have a qualification that can serve in civil life, I don’t know how to survive I don’t know how to do anything, I can only be a priest and certainly I’m not a good priest and I go on like that because for my family it would be destructive and unexpected if I came out of the church.
My mother and my father are old, they are happy with the idea of having a son priest, for them to have a misguided son would be terrible and then my parents live with a very small pension and even if they want to help me, because I think they wouldn’t abandon me anyway, they can’t feed me too.
Then if I think of the idea of having a partner, well it’s just tragic. But who would put himself with a 50-year-old ex-priest who dies of hunger? Nobody at all and I wouldn’t go with anyone, apart from the fact that I’m old my parents would still feel me distant because I now come from an environment a very different from theirs.  And then that world has not only been mine but it is still now and it would still remain so if I left the church. It is not only the fear of the outside that doesn’t make me take a step like that, but it is also the fact that the Church is my real world, a world in which I feel useful. When someone comes to confession, something very rare apart from the old ladies who should be sanctified because they are incapable of doing anything wrong, when someone comes to confession, I always ask him/her to pray for me because sometimes I don’t know how to manage my relationship with the Lord, I cannot understand what He wants from me. In fact I know very well that I have no choices and that I can only go on like now and over the years I will perhaps end up putting aside even the doubts that still exist, but I wonder why the Lord asks me such a big sacrifice, I mean big for me because there are people who bear much worst things with so much faith, it is not that I want who knows what, but it is this state of dissatisfaction that I feel inside that overwhelms me, I wonder not how it is possible that the Lord wants me priest, but how is it possible that He wants a priest like me, with this half faith, with all these ifs and buts. Sometimes I think I’m not a priest but that I “act” as a priest a bit like any other job and then I think I’m cheating on the Lord.
 
The dialogue with Paul went on for several months, even if with long intervals, and the relationship of esteem and mutual respect has consolidated. One day he told me that he was not well and that he would have to make some investigations, he made them and it resulted that he had an advanced tumor. He was operated. After the surgery, which failed to stem the problem but weakened even more his body, he called me for the last time. The conversation was very short.
 
Paul writes: it went wrong, they told me that I will only do palliative care. You remember, we thought the problem was one and instead the real problem was another. I am very tired, I go to rest, I ask you only one thing: pray for me.
 
Project writes: I will certainly do it. A big hug.
 
Paul writes: You have done a lot for me. Hello Friend.
 
This was our last chat conversation. I can say that I keep inside me the memory of this priest and his suffering humanity, that’s why when I hear about gay priests in a scandalistic way I get angry, what I saw in these people is neither stupidity nor arrogance but silent suffering and torn conscience. The topic of gay priests should be treated with the utmost respect and I say this as a deeply lay person.
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A GAY GUY SAVED FROM REPARATIVE THERAPIES

Im 31 years old and, after a long struggle with myself, I started to live again, I have been destroying myself for several years and I think I have found happiness just a couple of years ago. I often hear people exalting family as if it were a beautiful thing, that is, as if it were the ideal place for a boy to grow up serenely but for me, and I’m only realizing it now, the family has been a terrible place. From outside my family seems a family like many others, a father who has a good job (very good), a mother who worked but then left the job after my birth to devote herself completely to me (unfortunately she did!). Both my parents are of a good cultural level. 
 
I have no memories of any of my grandparents, but I think that my grandparents have been the ruin of my parents, just as my parents have been my ruin and maybe even worse. Both my father and my mother are only children exactly like me. I have never once seen my father and mother exchange a gesture of tenderness so as I have never seen my father tired or unkempt or my mother not perfectly settled. My mother has always been a freak of order, cleanliness, etc. etc. … The fundamental value that has always dominated my family is social prestige. My parents are wealthy, we can say it, but they are not rich in the true sense of the word, certainly, for them, not feeling up to their world would be a great suffering. I grew up being alone or with people much older than me.
 
The school was an obsession for me since elementary school, I couldn’t be the second in my class, I had to be the first one and this cost me a lot. My mother sometimes asked me questions, questions like those the teacher asks at school, just to see if I was able to answer. My parents were very attached to the church, today I think it was more for reasons of opportunity and politics than for religion itself. In particular since I was seven or eight years old I often saw a priest in my house who could have been about forty years old, I will call him Don Luigi here. Today I say a “prete”, but then I said “sacerdote” [the two words mean “priest” but while “prete” in a common word, “sacerdote” is the official word, used by the Church itself ], because my mother was convinced that, under the word priest, said by me, there could be something quite derogatory. He was an important priest, very respected and then he struck me because he was a bit my father’s ecclesiastical version: short hair like Germans, perfect clergyman, always perfectly ironed, shiny shoes, etc. …
 
I understood only many years later how much this priest has influenced my life since I was very young. It was Don Luigi who, in practice, decided that I had to attend elementary school in an institute of nuns, but I don’t have a bad memory of the school or of the nuns, except for the fact that the environment was almost military and the study was really a torment for me. But that school had two big flaws that I didn’t see at the time, in the first place it was totally out of the world, that is it was all muffled, muted, the children grew up and didn’t realize they lived in a world completely separate from reality and then there was the fact that the children were addressed to religion beginning from 6-7 years old with a substantial brainwashing of which they could not absolutely realize the consequences because they lacked any possibility of comparison with the lives of other boys.
 
At seven years old the sisters prepared us for the first confession, but a seven-year-old boy has very little to confess, so I assimilated all external attitudes; clasped hands, kneeling, reciting penance, etc. etc., What the priest told me in confession at that age was always that I had to obey my father and my mother like I had to obey Jesus, who loves us if we do what he commands us.
 
Toward the end of the fifth grade I made my first communion, but I still didn’t understand anything about what I was doing. The sisters taught us catechism and I studied it like any school subject and I was also proud to know why God had created the world, etc. etc. … The choice of middle school, even this in a religious institution, was warmly sponsored by Don Luigi who said that for me a “serious school” was needed, serious for him was the same as religious, that would prepare me well for what life would have presented to me, implying that the public school was a very bad environment in which I could only have ruined myself. In the seventh and eighth grade the environment was quite similar to that of the nuns, even though there were no nuns but priests. The school sometimes, I would say quite frequently, organized a camping or a stay in the country for three days and I liked it a lot. They called them “retreats” and were used to prepare for the confirmation I received at age 12.
 
My life was completely quiet, confession and communion every Sunday, which for me was a obvious but also very mechanical thing, for the rest I had to study and to try to be the first in the class, at home I had to obey dad and mom, that was all.
 
Then, suddenly, at the beginning of the eighth grade, my world of child safety goes into crisis. One night, for the first time I have a wet dream and I remember perfectly that I had dreamed that I was spying on one of my classmates in the shower, or rather, before he undressed to get a shower, when I imagined that his underwear was down I had my first orgasm. The dream, I still remember, was really exciting and the physical sensation of my first orgasm was very intense and even the impression, vaguely embarrassing, that I felt later, feeling all wet and sticky, was very strong. I didn’t know what had happened because I knew why God had created the world but didn’t know that sexuality existed, or at least I couldn’t connect what had happened to me with that minimum of concepts about sex that I had been able to steal from the external world, in practice only from TV because the internet in my house had never existed except as a working tool for dad.
 
In short, it was the first time I felt embarrassed for sexuality. I didn’t know what to do: talk with dad or with mom? And then tell them everything? Even that I dreamed of spying on a friend of mine and of seeing him naked? Or would I have to go immediately to confess because dreaming of such a thing is surely not a good thing? And then what was all that sticky substance that I had found on myself. I decided to avoid my mother, because I thought she would not understand, I went to talk to my father who immediately understood what had happened, but I didn’t tell him that I had dreamed of seeing a naked boy. He told me that now I was growing up and that what had happened was the awakening of my sexuality and that it was not a dangerous thing but in order to have a serious advice on how I would have to deal with these things I had to talk to the priest.
 
I understood only many years after the absurdity of a similar speech, at that time the answer seemed to me clear and comprehensive. I went to confession in the afternoon with a priest I didn’t know because I was very ashamed, I found an old man who told me that those things are useful when you get married and have children and that until then you have to maintain purity, that is you have to preserve absolutely a gift so great that can make you a collaborator of God in spreading the gift of life. Then I told him, almost as if it were a banality, what I had dreamed of and he stopped and told me: “This is a serious sin because men are made for women and women for men”, and added that I had to pray much for Jesus to make me return to the right path, etc. etc., then he gave me the absolution. For me it was a tremendous shock. What had I done wrong? I really could not understand it.
 
However, I decided not to say anything to my father about what had happened in confession and to commit myself to the maximum so as not to think any more about those things that I had been said were a serious sin. Since then, maybe I was still 12 years old or I had just turned 13, my life became a continuous struggle against myself. I discovered masturbation after a few days, but with serious feelings of guilt and with even greater guilt feelings, I continued in my gay sexual fantasies. I went to confession every Sunday with a different priest telling him just that I had masturbated because for me the sin was that. From the priests I heard things of all the colors, always on the negative, clearly, but with many different degrees of negativity.
 
After the intermediate school, my fate was marked, and for the intervention of Don Luigi I ended up for the third time in a religious school, always of priests, like the middle school, even if of another order, there is no need to say that I was sent to the classic high school, the thing was obvious a priori. A mixed class with a predominance of girls, however, the guys were a dozen, not very few. Of course I had attended also elementary and intermediate school in mixed classes of boys and girls together, at the time such a thing seemed quite secondary to me, but entering the ninth grade I saw things in another way, that is I had begun to look at the boys, clearly with the maximum circumspection and with a thousand scruples of conscience, but I had begun to look at them. I knew I should not have looked at them but I couldn’t not help looking at them.
 
At school there was very little to do, surveillance was very strict and at most you could have seen smiles between a boy and a girl and also this with a lot of sense of limit. In practice, I experienced anguish all the years of gymnasium-Lyceum, not for school, where I was definitely not the first, with great disappointment of my mother, but for sex. Attempts to repress me have been really absurd because when I entered the Gymnasium I received as a gift my first computer and my first internet access with the warning on the part of my parents that “this must be switched on only for school and when we are at home”. But as the facts didn’t follow the words, I almost immediately started to go on the internet to look for gay photos and videos (which at that time were still few and very short). With internet the frequency of masturbation has increased exponentially, once a day and even more.
 
To this my very private sexual life corresponded the confessions in which I had begun to tell the priest that I had gay fantasies and in confession I was told by the priest and starting from the first time that in order to definitively solve this problem and to have a normal life one could resort to a psychologist, because there are very good psychologists who can help the boys to “get back on track”, I was then 16 years. That’s how I made the most absurd decision of my life, as if it were a heroic choice of which I had to feel proud: I would have gone to a psychologist to get out of this story of masturbation and homosexuality, but how? My parents should have known it. I thought to tell my parents that I didn’t sleep at night, that I felt very agitated and that I wanted to talk to a psychologist, in response I was told that Don Luigi was precisely a psychologist and that I could talk with him. Against such a proposal my refusal has been categorical. My mother tried to insist, I ended up convinced not to talk to Don Luigi but to contact a “serious psychologist” indicated by him. I knew that there was professional secrecy and I tended to trust.
 
After a few days I went to the first appointment with the psychologist, he must have been between 35 and 40 years, everything was very ritual, bed, notebook, low light, etc. etc., I was a little frightened, I told him of my problem: “compulsive masturbation and homosexuality, etc. etc.”. He tells me that a lot can be done but that my commitment must be total.
 
After the first sessions he makes me compile some tests and gives me a book to read about reparative therapies where there are terrible stories of homosexuals finished badly, I bring the book home and hide it because I don’t want my parents to find it, I read the book but it makes me sick, the psychologist tells me that my doctor should prescribe me anxiolytics but I don’t want to take medicines, then he sends me to a religious group that deals with these things and tells me that “operating on two fronts” things are much easier.
 
The group met in the evening, going there for me was an experience of a terrible self-inflicted violence. I resisted only the first two meetings, then I told the psychologist that I couldn’t take it anymore, he tries to insist on getting me back to the religious group saying it’s for my own good. But I had no intention of going back there, so he proposed a more gradual way …
 
In the meantime, I had practically stopped studying for school and I found myself with a debt in Greek that made my mother go on a rampage. I turn seventeen and I feel truly destroyed, a nothingness destined for failure. I spend a whole night crying, I cannot do it any more, I’m tired even of my live, I’m truly at the limit.
 
Talking to a classmate of mine, I come to know that she goes to a psychologist and that she is well with him. I tell my mother that I want to change the psychologist, she sees me right on the edge and does not object. I wait for the day of the first date.
 
The environment is Spartan, just reduced to the minimum, the psychologist is old, about sixty, white hair, sweater. We shake hands and he tells me to sit down in an armchair, he sits in a chair in front of me, I tell him my problem: “compulsive masturbation and homosexuality”, he asks me: “masturbation how often?” I tell him “Even once a day” that seemed to me very much, he smiles, opens his arms and says, “And with this? This is the norm!” I insist: “But with homosexual fantasies …” And he answers me:” So what? If one is gay it’s obvious that he thinks about guys and not about girls, these are normal things!” I told him: “I do not know what to do anymore, I can’t  go on, I’m just at the limit … “. Then he let me tell a little about my life and he told me: “We must simplify things, you don’t have to do the things that others tell you but what you want, you don’t have to live badly, because otherwise later you’ll have a thousand regrets, you’re a very young boy, a gay boy, so what? What’s the problem? The absurdity, for a gay guy, is to force himself to desire to be no longer gay or worse to commit to not being gay anymore! You must begin to become autonomous, to do what you think is right, the problem lies in the fact that you are worried for things that don’t concern you, for things that others want from you, but you must do only what you want. You will have problems because your family will not easily accept your freedom of doing what you want, but your autonomy you have to earn it day after day.”
 
When I got home I felt free, the feeling was very strange but I knew that the things that this psychologist had told me were basically those I didn’t have the courage to say to myself. It was not easy to build a real autonomy because actually my parents did everything to put me in trouble, and here the psychologist was really useful. Now I have a boyfriend for two years and I love him deeply, he also helped me a lot, he had an enormous patience with me. Now we live together! One day we were walking on the road and I told him: “Take me by the hand!” He looked at me questioningly as asking why, and I added: “There is Don Luigi!” And then he hugged me and kissed me in the street, that’s why I love him!
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CHURCH, FREEDOM AND SECULAR MORALITY

Secular morality is not a set of precepts and prohibitions, it is not a moral code destined to replace another moral code but it is a method that aims to guarantee coexistence, freedom and equality of individuals in social relationships, starting from the idea that freedom is the fundamental social value on which a society of free men must be founded and that the limitations of freedom are justifiable only in terms of the protection of the freedom of others. 
 
The secular morality has nothing to do with particular morals, it is not justified on the basis of any authority but derives from the free acceptance of its founding principle, i.e. the idea that freedom is the fundamental and unconditional right of everyone. In a secular view, on a social level, there are no true morals, according to nature or according to reason and there are no moral authorities, these concepts are typical of particular morals.
 
A secular morality is by its own nature relativistic in the sense that, if it is left to the individual the maximum freedom of conscience and full responsibility for his moral action, provided that one remains in the context of respect for the freedom of others, the choice of the individual is only his, cannot be normative for anyone and is not subject to the judgment of anyone. Relativism is a non-dogmatic and non-prejudicial view of morality, it is not a principle for which any moral code can be equally valid, it is rather a way of dealing with moral content and behavior with an eye to the only social aspect relevant, that is, to the dimension of freedom. Not every moral code or behavior can be admitted in a free society, that is in a secular society, but only the moral codes and behaviors that fully respect the freedom of others can be  accepted.
 
No preaching of discrimination, violence, homophobia or racial hatred, no a priori condemnation of facts or deriving from facts that are not objectively detrimental to the freedom of others, no privilege in any manner justified is compatible with a secular morality because these things are not respectful of freedom of others. No power to limit the freedom of other people, even within the same family, can morally be recognized to anyone for reasons other than those that the law recognizes on the basis of a collective objective interest. No mutilation (circumcision, infibulation) can be practiced for any reason on a minor. No imposition (to marry / not to marry, choice of spouse, choice of having children, choice to severely restrict pregnancies) can be imposed on anyone for any reason. These are just some examples of moral content absolutely incompatible with the freedom of all, which is the only value that a secular state must guarantee.
 
In a secular view of society, for all the conditions affecting the private sphere of individuals, must be guaranteed maximum freedom: adhere to a religion or abandon it freely without any prejudice, to join a political party and leave it freely without any prejudice, follow one’s own sexual orientation, marry or not get married, have or not have children, etc. ..
 
Some issues deserve clarification. Can Law allow restrictions of freedom such those characteristics of members of one or another religious confession (perpetual vows)? The answer is obviously yes, with the condition that from that religious confession you can go out freely, without any formality and without any prejudice. The temporary sacrifice of the freedom of the individual, consciously and freely wanted, doesn’t violate the freedom of that individual if the sacrifice can end in every moment, without formality and without damage, it is rather an exercise of individual freedom. On the other hand, it is not morally acceptable to allow a definitive and irreversible choice, such as that of pronouncing perpetual vows, definitively renouncing some of one’s own rights, without the possibility of going back when the need of it is felt. The renunciations to freedom cannot be admitted if irrevocable.
 
Does this mean that it is not possible to pronounce perpetual vows renouncing definitively some of one’s own rights? No. This only means that the law cannot continue to attach legal value to acts performed as a result of the vows if they are revoked. If a person pronounces the vows and as a result of the vows his assets pass to others, the revocation of the vows must determine, by law, the return of the assets in the sphere of the originary owner. This means that the property transferred following the pronounce of the vows must remain inalienable as long as the person who pronounced the vows is alive and that until then only the right of usufruct is transferred temporarily. If not so if the renounce of vows would become an act of potentially highly restriction of individual freedom in the future, which is morally unacceptable, that is, it would be a trap from which it is impossible to escape except by serious harm.
 
The legislation of a secular state cannot enter into questions relating to the private moral sphere of the individual except to ensure that the behaviors resulting from individual convictions are in any case compatible with the freedom of others. The legislation of a secular state must completely ignore individual morals and must be limited to guaranteeing the freedom of all. The rules must be essential, must not have moralizing purposes but must be a general guarantee of freedom. Precisely because the law cannot enter into moral issues, no conscientious objection can be admitted, because the restrictions on the freedom of individuals imposed by the law are aimed exclusively at protecting the freedom of all and therefore conscientious objection would be in fact, a limitation of the freedom of others, which is the fundamental value against which, in a secular society, no objection can be admitted.
 
Whoever does not accept this principle can come out of the secular society, from which he doesn’t feel represented, and adhere to systems that subordinate freedom to other values. In a secular state the external signs of a religious, political or any other belonging are not allowed in public places, obviously they are always legitimate in private places or open to the public. A secular state doesn’t sign agreements with any religious confession for any reason and doesn’t enter at any level in matters related to religion or individual morality, it must instead actively protect the freedom to adhere to all confessions and to withdraw without any conditions and without any damage.
 
The principle of state secularism manifests itself in a peculiar way in avoiding any overlap between the concept of crime, which is a legal concept, and the concept of sin, which is a moral concept. Crimes are repressed and punished by a secular society because they violate the sphere of freedom of others by depriving others of their rights. The punishment of a crime is not a consequence of any moral prescription but is motivated by profound social reasons related to freedom and equality. The typical example of crime is the murder.
 
Sins are violations of a particular moral code to which a value of sacred origin is attached to the individual or religious level. The typical example of sin is the violation of the commandment “Don’t desire the woman of others” that condemns even the desire, that is, something that in itself is not in any way detrimental to the freedom of others and therefore not only is not a crime but belongs to the freedom of the individual and is completely indifferent to the community.
 
No one is allowed to forgive a crime, not even to the victim of the same crime, because a crime is an aggressive behavior towards the basic principles of social life, so one cannot be forgiven or absolved by one’s own crimes by any reason. One can instead be forgiven or absolved by sins in the name of the authority that has set the particular moral principle that has been violated. Obviously these are realities that have nothing in common. The category of crime is valid for all the members of a secular society, that of sin is valid exclusively for persons who adhere to a particular religious confession and to its particular morality.
 
The reflections so far made on the idea of freedom as the foundation of civil life and on the distinction between crime and sin are masterly summarized by Gaetano Salvemini [Letter from America 1947-1949 (epistolary with Ernesto Rossi)]: “Everyone in Italy seems to have forgot that freedom is not my freedom, but the freedom of those who don’t think like me. A clerical person will never understand this point, neither in Italy, nor in any other country in the world. The clerical will never come to understand the distinction between sin and crime, between what someone believes to be sinful and what the secular law has the duty to condemn as a crime. The clerical punishes the sin as if it were a crime and forgives the crime as if it were a sin. The clerical has never left the atmosphere of the 10 commandments, in which stealing and killing (crimes) are put on the same level as the desire of the woman of others (sin).”
 
An extremely delicate issue is religious freedom, on which the attention of Pope Benedict XVI focused in particular in the Discourse to the Diplomatic Corps on Monday, 10 January 2011: “are not there many situations in which, unfortunately, the right to religious freedom is harmed or denied? This human right, which in reality is the first of the rights, because, historically, it has been affirmed first, and, on the other hand, has as its object the constitutive dimension of man, that is, its relationship with the Creator, is perhaps not too often questioned or violated? It seems to me that society, its leaders and public opinion are more aware today, even if not always exactly, of this serious wound inflicted against the dignity and freedom of the “homo religiosus” [religious man], on which I wanted, many times to attract everyone’s attention “. “Christians are original and authentic citizens, loyal to their homeland and faithful to all their national duties. It is natural that they can enjoy all the rights of citizenship, freedom of conscience and worship, freedom in the field of teaching and education and in the use of the media”. “Moving our gaze from the East to the West, we are faced with other types of threats against the full exercise of religious freedom. I think, in the first place, of countries in which great importance is accorded to pluralism and tolerance, but where religion is subject to growing marginalization. People tend to consider religion, every religion, as an unimportant factor, alien to modern society or even destabilizing, and they try with various means to prevent any influence of it in social life.
 
Thus people arrive to demand that Christians act in the exercise of their profession without reference to their religious and moral convictions, and even in contradiction with them, as, for example, where laws are in force that limit the right to conscientious objection of health workers or of certain legal operators “. “Continuing my reflection, I cannot pass over in silence another threat to the religious freedom of families in some European countries, where it is imposed the participation in courses of sexual or civil education that transmit conceptions of the person and life presumed neutral, but which in reality reflect an anthropology contrary to faith and right reason “.
 
If we analyze the concept of religious freedom as it emerges from the words of Benedict XVI, we can note that the right to religious freedom is considered “the first of rights” but, as clarified by Salvemini, it is neither Freedom without adjectives nor religious freedom, laically understood, in other words, the equal freedom of all religions, but rather the freedom to be Catholics, it should be emphasized that the freedom of conscience and of worship, freedom in the field of teaching, education and use of the means of communication  are claimed for the Catholics. In reality, these are very delicate freedoms because the recognition of total freedom of conscience involves in practice recognizing the right of the Catholics not to obey the law when their conscience, in this case the particular moral code of their religious confession, is in contrast with the law, that means to guarantee the primacy of a particular confessional morality on the law.
 
I remember that Benedict XVI himself urged Catholics to commit themselves to preventing access to teaching to homosexuals and to feel engaged in fighting against the approval of the legal recognition of homosexual unions. If particularistic morals of the individual religious confessions were entitled decision on matters that affect all the population, freedom would be quietly subjected to principles incompatible with the exercise of the freedom of all. But the Pope demands full freedom of action also on the level of teaching, education and the media, areas in which the state cannot and should not delegate anything to anyone.
 
Confessional education can under no circumstances replace a lay and pluralist education. Educating means first of all providing non-prejudicial views of reality, it means putting people in contact with reality so that they can learn and judge for themselves by overcoming prejudices. Precisely because education has an enormous value in the formation of the person, it must take place in a pluralist context, and in this sense lay, in which the fundamental rule is the confrontation with reality beyond the ideologies and the prejudices of value.
 
It is significant that the Pope considers the obligation of participation in courses in sexual or civil education to be an attack on religious freedom, mind you, not of people but of families, because it is through sexual confessional education that religions perpetuate their power, preventing in fact children’s access to secular or otherwise different views of sexuality. A completely similar reasoning applies to the mass media. It is up to the state the primary task of the fight against ignorance and subcultures, against the superficiality and the absence of critical spirit. In this context religious confessions have freedom of expression but in no case can an education uniformly permeated of values of a confessional type can be allowed, such an education would constitute a real brainwashing and an attack on individual liberty in the name of religious freedom. Kids who are growing must be able to compare different messages and different interpretations of reality to form their own point of view. It should be emphasized that freedom of religion cannot become the freedom to create structures of power that are alternative to those with institutional aims and ways of proceeding that are not respectful of the freedom of others and that to the freedom of religion corresponds a secular freedom of criticism of religious confessions that cannot enjoy special protections or immunities, such as, in a truly secular society, no particular group can enjoy such benefits.
 
The Constitution of the French Republic, which came into force in 1958, begins as follows: Article 1 – France is an indivisible, secular, democratic and social republic. It ensures equality before the law to all citizens without distinction of origin, race or religion. It respects all beliefs. Its organization is decentralized.”  As can be seen, the secular nature of the state is explicitly stated in art. 1 of the Constitution. In the Italian Constitution, laicity is never named, and article 7 constitutionalizes the Concordat with the Holy See: Article 7 – “The State and the Catholic Church are, each in its own order, independent and sovereign. Their relations are regulated by the Lateran Pacts. The modifications of the Pacts accepted by the two parties don’t require a constitutional revision procedure.”
 
The Constitutional Court has been working to recognize in an interpretative way a principle of laicity of the state in whose name the state ends up limiting its own de facto sovereignty even in realities that are objectively very far from secularism. For a careful examination of the issue refer to the essay “The principle of secularism in the Italian and European constitution” 
[http://rivista.ssef.it/site.php?Page=20050502135352251&edition=2010-02-01].
 
I conclude with a quote. So Ernesto Rossi writes about himself: “I belong to the very small group of those who still believe it is the duty of every civilized man to take the defense of the secular State against the interference of the Church in Parliament, in school, in the public administration, and believe that in our country, this is more important than any other goal – political, legal or economic – since its attainment would be the indispensable premise for any serious structural reform.” [E. Rossi, from “Il sillabo e dopo”]
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HOW A GAY GUY CONFRONTS RELIGION

The blog is nice and definitely not standard, so I think I will continue to read it, I think it misses something, a topic that I think has affected the lives of many gay guys, me at the first place. I know that I’m about to throw a stone into the pond and I could raise a high wave, but I don’t think we should have any taboos. What are the relationships between gays and religion? Mh, pay attention, I don’t want to talk about gay priests and the like, a problem that deserves serious investigation even by the gay world, which instead withdraws in good order, I want to talk about the relationship between the majority of gay boys and religion, the thing from my point of view is fundamental but the taboo is so big that people avoid getting involved in similar issues. I don’t know about you, but I have lived it with a real anxiety. 
 
When I was a young boy I didn’t realize it, then between 13 and 14 years old, I discovered two new things together: one is religion and the other is that I was gay. I say immediately that religion seemed to me a beautiful thing for some of its contents, such as universal brotherhood, the idea of winning death, the idea of giving a deep meaning to life, and there is no denying that these things have a charm very strong, but from other points of view religion seemed very formal, legalistic, someway the opposite of what it should have been.
 
On the other hand the discovery of sexuality and of being gay, which was not at all a trauma for me, had other attractions, if we want less metaphysical and decidedly more concrete, especially for a growing boy. The other boys were also a sexual attraction for me and I could not hide it to myself. At that time I went to the parish church which, all in all, had their own dignity. There was a priest, regular meetings were held to talk about morals and even about sex. The priest was prudent, for example he had as a rule not to confess the boys, a very smart thing to avoid creating embarrassment. For more where I went the girls were very few, they were not excluded but almost excluded themselves. For a guy like me, going to a place like that meant going to a place that was good for my parents and at the same time being able to be in direct contact with many other guys, it was good, we played table football, we chatted, we talked to the priest, yes, yes, we talked to the priest and here I was beginning to feel out of place. We all saw each other in a room and then we began to chat and ask questions, even about sex and not too general, but the thing sounded strange to me, we were all boys and we spoke only about girls, in practice the priest was enough able to talk about straight sex and morals, but he never spoke about gays (sex or not sex), total taboo. Basically the taboo subject was not sex but homosexuality. I didn’t like all this.
 
And then there was another topic that was my real obsession of a few years ago: masturbation. [Note for project. If you want this part you can cut it, but I would like to insert it.] I say obsession because I did everything to avoid it, but since mother nature is stronger than us, I inevitably happened to masturbate another time and I had to go to confession and so on, practically indefinitely.
 
The story of masturbation actually represented in a very clear way the continuous oscillation of my interests between religion and sex, be careful, “gay” sex, detail that I omitted systematically. Sometimes I have self-imposed forms of scary self-discipline to try to resist, for a while I succeeded, to the limit, with titanic efforts, even for a month, but then it was impossible to go on that way.
 
Then, over the years, I asked myself the meaning of all this and honestly I didn’t find any serious reason for this, and then certain things of the religion seemed to me like a superstructure invented just to keep people under check more easily. For a few years I have still fluctuated so to say between heaven and hell, then I said to myself: but I have a conscience, the eternal Father gave it to me and not to use it would be a blasphemy, since then I began to reason in a different way, before acting I wondered if I was really honest to the end, but if the answer of my conscience was yes I didn’t pay any more attention to anyone and in terms of gay feelings the answer was almost always yes.
 
I would like to explain myself better. When I fell in love with a guy and I had to understand how to behave towards him, I followed two criteria, the first was that of spontaneity, I wondered: if I hadn’t thought too much and had behaved just instinctively, what would I have done? And then I wondered if that instinctive choice could be wrong for that guy, that is, I wondered if I had some hidden purposes towards him, sometimes I thought I had unconfessed purposes and therefore I felt urged to a choice that was very hard for me and I did what I thought “honestly” was the best for that guy and not for me, but most of the times the instinctive choices seemed to me even the most radically moral: in practice always tell the truth unless there it was the risk of hurting the other, but never for my own sake. This is not a stupid logic and it is not even a difficult moral to apply because if you love a guy you really want his good. So you understand how I think.
 
As for religion after certain positions taken by the Church I honestly think that being gay without hypocrisies is irreconcilable with what the Church says. I have read the official documents on “homosexual persons” and also those to forbid homosexuality in the seminaries, I read these things with great regret because they will only create more suffering, for example to the homosexual priests who surely are there and who are so further crushed. I wonder, and even here I ask honestly: but do they understand what they are doing? I heard a priest saying that those who make gay propaganda (which is absurd because being gay is not an ideological question and the propaganda in these things doesn’t make sense) has a “cauterized” conscience, which in the language of ecclesiastical moralists means that he has the conscience so burned that he can’t even realize his mistake. There is no need to say that “in all honesty” the thing seems grotesque. I could excuse these people if I thought they really don’t know what they are doing, but unfortunately I think they know it very well.
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A GAY IN LOVE

Hello Project,
I’m 22 years old, I think I have always felt gay, even if in practice it’s only three months now that I have definitively put aside the idea of being heterosexual. In this, your forum has played an important role in helping me overcoming fears, because my refusal came from the negative idea I had of homosexuality. In fact, gay project is a unique thing on the web and reading it every day I realized that I feel very close to the guys who write there and there is another thing, that I see that being gay in the end doesn’t mean being condemned to loneliness, that is to say it doesn’t necessarily mean to remain without friends, I speak of gay friends, nor without a love. My life, if I put aside the sex, it would not be so bad, in June I’ll take the first degree in a scientific discipline and then I’ll have to do the masterly degree but it seems a quite quiet road, maybe, afterwards, finding work will be much more complicated but, for a few years more, I just have to go on my way that is already defined.

I have two parents who love me and I think they are smart people. I never thought about coming out with them because until a few months ago I was not even totally convinced that I was gay and I didn’t like the word at all, then I got used to it and now it feels like a common word or even a nice word, at the limit, also a good thing because, I cannot hide it, I like guys, I don’t look at girls, it doesn’t come naturally, while a nice guy, especially a sweet guy, with a beautiful smile, sends me into ecstasy. As for sex my interests have always been directed towards guys even if until now in practice there has been no chance because I don’t even know how to behave, shortly, if about a guy you don’t even know if he’s gay or not, you have to be very careful about how you behave. Now, frankly, I don’t think I will speak about my sexuality with my parents and not out of fear or anything but because I think that such things are only my own things and that I must find my way alone.

Reading the forum I discovered that there are a lot of guys like me, I’m gay, of course, but I’m above all myself, I don’t identify with my being gay, or at least I don’t think that life can be reduced to a single common denominator . I’m a believer, but this is another story that creates many problems because I don’t like to keep a foot in both camps, but then, maybe, about religion we will speak in private (if you want to give me your msn). At the moment I still cannot think of sex in a totally positive way, that is, without feeling upset and without feelings of guilt, it’s a bit, I think, the consequence of my religious education and I don’t hide that reading what you write I thought that about this I’m still far behind and that I try to sublimate a lot, to take things a lot on an emotional level, eliminating as far as possible the most direct sexual implications.

Will I ever be able to stay with a boyfriend sexually? I really don’t know and I have to say that it is probably this that curbs myself, I feel bound, inhibited, still very conditioned. With my parents, even as a child, I have never had an opportunity to talk about sex, I have never seen them in an attitude of tenderness, they are very rational and at least apparently detached from these things, even with me no effusions, i.e. our family behavior has always been a bit cold. And then there are many other problems, that is I don’t know if I’m up to it and how to behave with a guy, I cannot even imagine such things but at the moment I avoid to find myself concretely in front of the problem.

I have been neither able to live masturbation without problems and religion has a lot to do with this, I have already said that I don’t like to keep one foot in both camps but I don’t want to throw away all my previous life because I feel it as a value but I don’t want to talk about such things now. In practice I’m a bit in struggle with myself: have I to be 100% gay? I’m not talking about strange things but just having a guy and living a real couple life, or perhaps my being gay must be just a matter of fantasy? Because, if, at the end, I don’t feel like at all of really throwing myself into a relationship that I don’t feel really mine, what can I do? And if it goes wrong? If I then find a guy who looks a nice guy but then everything is different? If I didn’t want to stay with him feeling myself pressed by him, then wouldn’t it be better to be alone? Apart from the fact that I’m terrified of the diseases and even if you do the tests, as you say, in the end you would never be sure that he doesn’t behave at risk with others, and anyway it is not even a thing of risky behavior I would not bear to be betrayed and instead I think that something similar sometimes really happens.

At the university there is a beautiful guy, I have no doubt that he is straight because when he comes close to some girl he behaves tenderly, smiles, makes a lot of cuddling (also beautiful to see) but for this reason I’m quite angry, when he talks to me (because we speak a minimum), he takes on another tone, a loose tone, yes, but deliberately distracted, and he does it also with other guys. He’s not the guy of my dreams, even if he’s beautiful and also sexy, but sexy in a natural way, the guy of my dreams is another that I had met in the parish but now it he’s very far away, occasionally we meet outside, unfortunately he left his studies, I think more for economic reasons than anything else.

When we talk, I always try to insist on the fact that he should try to go back to university, where he also was fine and in a very difficult faculty. I would feel happy if this guy would resume his studies, with a single year he could finish the triennial course, he is very tempted and I think the family would do anything to let him go on. Unfortunately it doesn’t attend my faculty, otherwise I could have been useful in another way but he attends one of those very hard, he has a very strong attitude for studying and is also very smart.

Now he is working but he told me that he has not completely left the study and that he is still preparing a very important exam that he would like to take if he ever resumes his studies. This sentence made me immensely pleased because it means that he has in mind to actually restart attending university.

We live in a country 40 km from the city where there is the university and I told him that I would accompany him, both on the outward and on the return journey, and that we could have lunch together at the cafeteria. I had the impression that this speech pleased him. We meet on average once a week but when it happens, we are talking more than an hour and I think it pleases him, of course I’m pleased, there is an exchange of smiles that I like very much, apparently the speech is disengaged because we speak only of university and prospects for the future, yet it is very well. I don’t know how much he feels involved, but I feel him as the guy of my dreams, I feel like we’re already building something together and it could even be true! What does sex have to do with all this? Well, for me sex has to do with it, I cannot deny it, being close to him makes me feel a very strong sexual involvement. When we meet, I always fear that he has other things to do but it doesn’t happen and we usually talk for a while in a very serious way. I want to say that he tells me what he thinks even if we are talking only about things of study and of the future, I believe that a serious relationship has been created. He’s gay? I don’t know, I cannot even say whether I would rather he was gay or not, now I feel good this way, he’s a special friend, and it really is, I’m not imagining everything by myself.

Time will make me understand where we are going. Can you fall in love with someone you only see for an hour a week without even know if he’s gay? It happens to me and then so I can sublimate this thing just as I like it, I don’t feel forced to make decisions or do things that I don’t feel ready to do yet, or rather I hope that slowly with this guy things change both for him and for me and that we can get to discover slowly and together that we love each other and that what we want is just to be close one another. I must say, however, that all this reasoning so many times puts me in crisis because there is no objective basis, there are only some impressions that could be completely misleading. Am I sublimating too much? That is, I’m running away from reality and I’m trying to take refuge in the world of fairy tales that are beautiful but have nothing real?

Frankly I don’t know, now my mood is this, I feel in love, it is the first time that the life of another guy interests me in a deep sense, I feel like to love him. I know that you say that serious stories always begin reciprocally, but could not his reactions hide a reality very similar to mine? He never talks about girls, he is happy to talk to me, he feels encouraged and above all he smiles at me like no one else has ever done. Project, if you want to have a chat with me my msn is [omissis], I feel a bit stalled, I’m happy but I would like so much an explicit answer even if I’m the first not to speak clearly, I even thought of coming out with him, to tell him everything even if I felt totally uncertain. Thank you for your patience in reading this whole novel up to here. I’m waiting for your response. A hug.

Laurence

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