IF I HAD A GAY SON

Dear Project, I have been on the internet for days trying to understand something more about gays. I’m not gay, I’m a married man and I’m over fifty, I have two sons, a boy of 19 and a girl of 16. Frankly I don’t think that neither my son nor daughter has anything to do with homosexuality. My son will soon get out of school, and exactly for this reason one of his classmates has been coming to our house for a few months. At the beginning, for me and my wife, he was just a school friend of Luke, then slowly this guy began to feel good at my home and we too with him. He often stays for lunch at our home, he is a very polite guy and we like him.

Well, over time the relationship that has been created has become more important and in the end, one afternoon, he told us he was gay. I can assure you, Project, that I have nothing against gays but at the moment I was afraid, don’t blame me for this because I didn’t understand anything about these things. I thought that my son should know that his friend was gay and with some embarrassment I tried to prepare the speech, when we arrived at the moment I realized that he already knew everything, he looked at me puzzled and told me: “Ok! where is the problem?” I just replied that I thought he didn’t know it, and then ideas of all kinds about my son and his relationship with that guy began to pass through my head.

My son has a girlfriend and it always seemed to me that he was in love with her, things with the girl were fine, at least as far as you could tell from outside, and moreover my son started a few weeks ago to leave his friend at our home to go with his girlfriend. In practice my wife and I (not my son, who in fact doesn’t seem very involved) we ended up considering that guy a bit like a third child.

The feeling that has been created is very particular, Andrew (I will call him so, but it’s not his name) stays much more time at our home than at his and above all he spends much more time with me and my wife than with my son.

The embarrassment of knowing that he was gay didn’t last long but other fears took over, in particular that of keeping him away from his family of which he never talks about but both my wife and I have the impression that he is much better with us than with his parents. In front of Andrew we feel full of complexes, the one who don’t feel full of complexes at all is my son, who jokes with Andrew in a natural way but then when he has to do his things neglects Andrew without worrying about him at all.

I begin to have some fear that Andrew can count a lot (too much) on us and that our role may be a bit too anomalous. You has to know that after his coming out we talked very little especially because we don’t want him to feel under pressure. Basically he comes here at home, and if my son is at home, they study together for a while, at most for two hours, then when my son goes out, Andrew stays at home, goes to the computer (he has his laptop) and hears music or sees a bit of television and stays at dinner with us even if my son is not there. I noticed that my wife was cooking specially for him and I started looking for news about gays on the internet.

I must say that Gay Project has struck me a lot because the guys who write to you seem to me very similar to Andrew. I read a lot of the google site especially because it is more direct and even those who are not in the game begin to understand something. Project, what can I do good for Andrew? I don’t want at all to be intrusive but sometimes it makes me a bit of melancholy to think that my son in the evening goes to meet his girlfriend and Andrew must stay alone at home with us. I have asked myself many times how I would react if I saw him (Andrew) with another guy, but I think that in the end I would react well because I think he needs a guy who loves him and it’s not fair that the road should be harder for him.

Here these are the facts, strange perhaps but strangely true. I would never have thought of such eventualities but they happened. If you want to publish the email, I don’t think it would bother Andrew and even less my son.
With great esteem.
Joseph

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If you like, you can join the discussion on this post on Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-if-i-had-a-gay-son

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RELATIONS BETWEEN PARENTS AND GAY SONS

What’s a family? I don’t ask myself this question to find arguments to argue that a gay couple is a family, because such a thing is obvious, if it’s really a couple who wants to be a family, I ask myself that question only to understand what is the founding value of a family, I ask myself it above all because I see so many boys who don’t have or never had a family or have had families in which conflict or even violence prevailed.

A gay boy already has enough social problems because homophobia is widespread and he can hardly be himself with friends or in study or work environments. A “real” family should constitute a welcoming, affective, reassuring environment in which one can be oneself without fear, an environment that provides not “rules” but “examples” of high-profile human relationships, an environment in which, even if everybody is free, the problems are faced together because there is an important emotional bond among people.

From what I see, many families formally continue to exist even if in fact every emotional relationship, not only between spouses but also between parents and sons, has ceased for some time, these are families composed of people who stay together for necessity, in which there is not dialogue and not even a will to understand the point of view of others, families in which the ostentation of disinterestedness towards the other is perpetual and the underlining that “I don’t care about you and I stay here just because I have to stay here for necessity” is a daily tool of aggression.

I don’t want to make a moralistic abstract speech claiming that the family should be the typical white mill family. No! Separations exist and even divorces and are a very common thing, but people could separate without hatred, without rancor, without the mental reserve of “You will pay dearly for all this!” But I don’t want to enter into relations between spouses, I would rather stop on those between parents and sons. I have seen separated or divorced parents who have done everything to maintain a good relationship with their sons but I have seen also parents who have considered children as bargaining goods or worse as objects on which to haggle in quarrels between parents, I have seen parents who don’t spend time with their children and who, in the name of liberty, abandon them totally to themselves in very delicate moments of their growth or marginalize them by limiting themselves to giving their children the minimum financial support due by law and often not even that, considering children an unwelcome appendix of a failed marriage.

The relationship between parents and sons cannot be improvised and above all it is not objectively credible that a parent can change his relations with his son abruptly. A son knows his parent in depth and knows how the parent deals with him, every sudden change of course sounds at least strange to his son’s ears.

When I talk about relations between parents and sons, people often tell me that I lack any experience in this field and that therefore I can only make rhetorical and necessarily very superficial speeches. In fact I have no children and I find it difficult to understand the position of a parent and, among other things, through Gay Project I usually get in contact with sons and only rarely with parents, so I hear only one bell. All this is true, but seeing guys who don’t trust their parents and are afraid of parents’ possible reactions because they have witnessed domestic violence since childhood, it’s really disarming.

I wonder if so many couples who go to the wedding and bring children into the world realize what they are doing and the responsibilities they assume in front of their sons. In a gay couple, where children are not brought into the world, the sense of responsibility develops only in a couple relationship, but the presence of children changes things completely. The behavior that a couple of parents has today, when their children are very young, will inevitably affect them decades later. The basic attitudes in front of life are essentially assimilated by the family environment and when the family doesn’t exist in fact, the children grow up carrying serious emotional insecurities never resolved and tend to transmit them in turn. I have asked myself several times who can teach parents to be good parents, because in a sense this is learned and transmitted from generation to generation, but when you put children in the world you cannot invoke the excuse of having received in turn an inadequate affective education.

Adult people should be able to understand the consequences of their behaviors and should be able to correct themselves if those behaviors are not adequate. Very often It’s exactly within families that are to be sought the deep reasons for the distress of the sons, who then inevitably go in search of other environments that constitute alternative quasi-families and end up harboring feelings of hatred and resentment towards their parents who, after having brought them into the world, have completely abandoned them to themselves.

Even now there are parents who, faced with the homosexuality of their children, don’t think in the least to ask what is really homosexuality and to seek answers from those who experience it daily on their own skin. The vast majority believe they know enough and rely on prejudices or react improperly and sometimes violently because they have learned that this is a parent’s duty.

A parent should acquire the awareness that his period of life apprenticeship is now over and that he must start working for the next generation, putting aside the idea of thinking about himself and putting himself at the center of the scene, leaving space for the growing generation. A parent should agree to have a support function in the context of a cyclic process in which, after adolescence, there is maturity and then, inevitably, decay and death. Parents who try to remain eternally young demonstrate that they have not understood that that stage of life has passed for them and that it is up to them to prepare the next generation not only by putting children in the world, but by making young guys capable of managing their own freedom and to exercise their responsibilities when it will be their turn.

One can be a good parent only if he understands that his function is transitory and that children are not an appendix of parents but are autonomous people and therefore they can make mistakes and indeed have to make mistakes in order to learn by trials and errors the art of live. Parents who want to play a leading role have not understood what their role is. Of course it’s not easy to have the sense of the measure and identify the boundary line between a discreet and useful presence and an intrusive and potentially harmful presence, so it is also up to the sons to understand the mistakes of the parents and help them get back on track. The dialogue between parents and sons has always been difficult but that one between parents and gay sons is likely to become critical when the preclusions and ideological assumptions, from both sides, have the upper hand on the affection and willingness to understand each other.

For a parent, having a gay child is not an easy thing, doubts about how to proceed can be many, also because a parent must try to overcome the preconceptions learned over decades on a subject that is substantially foreign to him. Errors are committed in any case, but sons are able to distinguish true errors from aggression and lack of respect.

I have often thought that parents are basically alone in dealing with the problem of having a gay son, both because for reasons of privacy they avoid talking about it with relatives and known people, and they certainly do well, and because they have no specific knowledge of gay environments and cannot easily turn to really competent and disinterested people.

For several years, Gay Project has kept open a section of the Forum dedicated to parents, which however received on average a single annual intervention from parents, so in substance it was completely neglected. The section dedicated to parents is still standing, at least to collect documentations of relationships between parents and gay sons from the point of view of sons. In this way, parents who read that section can see how the parent-son relationship is experienced on the other side. I therefore invite all those who believe it appropriate, to report their experiences so that the usefulness of the section can increase.

Project

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If you like, you can join the discussion on this post on Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-relations-between-parents-and-gay-sons

I HAVE A GAY SON WHO DOES NOT EVENT TALK TO ME

Hello Project, it made me good to read the story of that separate father waiting for divorce that has rediscovered his son, it’s a good story but unfortunately it will not happen like that to me. I am a 37-year-old mother, my son is only 19 years old and I have the impression that I’m losing him. It’s been a year since he stopped talking to me. I’m alone.

When he was born I was very young, a poor deluded girl ready to give confidence to the first come, I wanted to feel emancipated and you understood what happened. When I got pregnant he disappeared, I wanted to have an abortion and I told it my mother and she convinced me not to do it and told me that she would help me to move on.

Then Luca was born (let’s call him this way but it’s not his real name). I didn’t want to study and I started doing chores where I found. I had my mother behind me that gave me confidence and helped me. Obviously when you have a son at 18 with someone who he is complete disinterested in the fact of having a child, after, nobody wants you, because nobody wants the son of another man, it would not be a nice traditional little family. My mother took me to think about many things and to understand that I had to blame myself and certainly not my son for everything that had happened. I confess I assumed my role as a mother more out of duty than because I felt it was something really mine.

I tried to work to make Luca miss nothing, but of course my chances are quite limited even if I work as much as I can. Luca realized very early that he didn’t have a father. I didn’t tell him lies, but I told him right away how things were, maybe he was too young to understand and it hurt him a little. I know I’ve been impulsive and even stupid, but it happened many years ago. My son is a good boy, certainly much better than his mother and also much less stupid. He studies, he is always busy and tries to do everything he can. My problem, that one that makes me feel bad is another.

Luca, until last year had a girlfriend and it seemed like things were going well, he had brought her home a couple of times, she was a very taciturn girl but she cute up and had beautiful eyes. I was happy and he talked about her often, then at a certain point I noticed that something in my son’s life had changed, he didn’t talked anymore about the girl, when I asked him specifically he told me that it wasn’t my business and so far I could think that maybe they were in crisis for some reason, then it happens that he gets out in the afternoon while I’m going to do the shopping, the market is closed and I go somewhere else and while walking I see in front of me but at a certain distance, my son walking next to a gentleman I didn’t know, one dressed pretty well, who could have been 40-45 years old. I ask myself: who is this man? I begin to follow them from a distance. They go to the public villa and I watched them from afar. They stay there for an hour, then they go to the bus stop and my son takes the bus. I continue to follow that man and then I approach to see him more closely and I print his image into my brain.

I go back home, I ask my son what did he do all afternoon and he replies that this is just his business, I don’t know what to say, if I have tell him that I had followed him but in the end I don’t say anything. I try to change the subject and talk about school . My son has always been good at school, he tells me it’s all right and the speech ends there.

Then comes Christmas period and the time of talks between teachers and parents, I ask my son if he wants to come to the talks with me but he says no, and I go there alone. I know all the teachers, except for the math teacher who is new, I put myself in line, I go in, I look at him and I open my eyes in amazement: it’s him! He doesn’t wear wedding ring, it was the first thing I looked at. He speaks to me very well of Luca but in a clearly professional way. I don’t know if he remembers that for a moment we looked at each other the day I followed my son but he didn’t say anything, after five minutes he confirms that everything is fine and then the talk is over.

What was my son doing in the park with his math teacher? From there my paranoia began, I had to know it. I went to see my son’s cell phone but the memory card had been cleared, what, I think, was not at all random. Then I went to see into his PC, I know it is an unworthy thing to behave like me but I was and still am very agitated. I go to the “favorite sites” and find gay sites and here the world collapsed on me: my son plagiarized by his teacher!

I face him directly when he comes home , first I tell him about gay sites and there he already answers me in a violent way that I never expected, then when I tell him that I had seen him at the villa with his teacher he tells me that I’m crazy and I invent everything and in practice he denies everything but I had seen him very well.

I tell him that I would go to the headmaster to report everything, because people like that man shouldn’t be teaching in a school! He reacts like a viper and threatens me that if I had done such a thing I wouldn’t have seen him anymore. Practically since then I have not talked to my son anymore.

I went to the headmaster, certainly it wasn’t to accuse the teacher because in fact I had no proof but to request the transfer of my son to another Institute but the headmaster told me that since Luca was an adult the request had to come from him and hadn’t to be addressed to her but to the school where he wanted to go, I got angry and lost patience with headmaster and vented with her and told her the whole story but the answer left me stunned, she told me again that my son is an adult and that she had known the math teacher for years and he had never created problems of any kind. I raised my voice with the headmaster who didn’t even answer me, rang the bell and called the janitor to take me out. My son was in the corridor, saw the scene and understood what had happened. That day he didn’t come home and I got a terrible anguish, he didn’t even come back at night, he disconnected the phone and I was very uncomfortable, I think I have never been worse in my life.

The next day I went to school, my son was there and I calmed down a bit. I waited for the teacher instead but I didn’t see him, I thought the headmaster had called him and maybe he had taken a few days off. Then I see him coming up towards the gate, I stop him, he greets me warmly, gives me his hand and smiles at me. It was evident that he didn’t know anything about the whole scene with the headmaster, I don’t know what to do, I tell him that for some days I have problems with my son and that it is as if the dialogue between us was broken, he invites me to follow him inside, while we go up we meet the headmaster who behaves as if nothing had happened and greets us cordially.

The teacher had a free hour and we talk, slowly I begin to realize that the he esteems my son very much and that he talks with me so very direct, he worries about Luca’s future. I realize that I have only built a huge house of cards in which the only thing certain were my fears. I ask the teacher to help me to recover the relationship with my son, he assures me that he will, then he calls Luca to speak in three. Luca comes down with a face that would have bitten me if he could have to, then he realizes that with his teacher I have spoken only about school and he reassured.

The teacher tells my son that I asked him for help to recover the relationship with my son and Luca replies: “Teacher, I know you have a lot of good will, but these are matters that I have to regulate in private with my mother!” The teacher nods as if to say that Luca is right, sends Luca back to class and greets me. I come home calmly.

The school problem was over but the gay problem that kept me constantly agitated remained. Since then, 10 months have passed but nothing has been resolved. Luca is at home in the sense that he sleeps there and not always and sometimes he just eats there. With me he hardly ever speaks. What should I do, Project? I know that I did a lot of nonsense, but what can I do to recover a relationship with my son? Now I resigned myself to the idea that he’s gay, but at least I would like him not to consider me an enemy any more, even if I’m really afraid he can get into trouble.

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If you like, you can join the discussion on this post on Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-i-have-a-gay-son-who-does-not-event-talk-to-me

FATHER POLICEMAN AND GAY SON

Hello Project,

I am 56 years old, I’ve been separated from my wife for over twenty years, I have a 26 year old son, whom I’ll call Andrew here, but it’s not his name. As long as my son was 19-20 years old I had only a very conditioned relationship with him because of his mother’s presence. In practice all his choices were directed by his mother, I felt in him a hostility towards me and I could not find a credible reason for it. My son was formal with me, he kept me at a distance, he always answered me evasively and, in practice, I think he didn’t even like spending time with me even if I did everything not to condition him.

With my wife, in the first months after the separation, the relationship was more difficult, then, over time, things changed, there was Andrew between us, and neither I nor my wife tried to build us a new life. As long as Andrew was 15- 16, it often happened that my wife and I talked about him, especially because it was not good at school and we didn’t know what to do, then my wife gradually closed in a complete silence on Andrew, she gave me some news but only with the dropper and knowing something from Andrew was practically impossible because a priori he saw me as an enemy.

Things between us have changed only last summer for a reason related to my work and this fact has changed my life objectively. I work in the police, it is not the easiest and most rewarding job but it is what I had always wanted. Well, a few months ago, a very delicate investigation had brought me into contact with a group of gay guys, not people from strange circles but only gay boys. Two of these boys were suspected of a rather heavy crime and ran major criminal risks. It seemed that all the clues focused on these two guys but I had talked to them and they didn’t really have anything to make me think they could commit a crime like that, which had the typical mark of professionals.

I make the story short, to leave things vague and don’t put anyone’s privacy at risk. In practice I didn’t close the case because too much things seemed strange to me and I went deeper into the matter and an the end it turned out that those two boys had nothing to do with the crime but had been put in the middle by three real criminals. For those guys it ended well, because they hadn’t done anything bad, but it is clear that for them it was probably the worst adventure of their lives, they were adults but still very young and their parents had been involved, had come to know that the two boys were gay and had reacted in the worst way.

After the investigations were over, the real culprits were sent to court and the position of the two boys was closed because they were clearly unrelated to the facts. The two boys felt respected by me and, when things were over, they came to see me first in my office and then at home, I talked with them several times and we also went to dinner together. Well, on that occasion I understood more closely what are gays, not that before I had particular prejudices but objectively I didn’t know too much.

Well, these facts, dating back to a few months before, had reached the ear of my son who sometime after the end of the criminal misadventure of the two boys, had known them and had begun to frequent them.

Note, Project, although it seems paradoxical, that I didn’t know that my son was attending them but they knew that Andrew was my son and they didn’t tell me anything, it was my son who one day called me at office and invited me at dinner, something decidedly unusual, that had never happened, we arranged to meet at my usual pizzeria and he showed up with the two boys and sat down with them at my table.

On the first moment I was a bit perplexed and didn’t know what to say, even if getting to the conclusion was actually very easy. Andrew told me: “Dad, well, there’s no need to say anything, no need even to mention the hardest thing … isn’t it?” I replied:” Well, obviously no need . . . “.

Then Andrea told me that he had understood who I really was through those two guys, because my wife had always dissuaded him from the idea of speaking openly with me, telling him that I would never understand or accept him.

It is a year that I recovered the relationship with my son and it is a beautiful thing, we often hear each other and sometimes he comes to my house with his friends, I say my house, but in essence it is his house because he stays almost always by me.

Now I know several of his friends and they are guys like him, sometimes we all sit together in the living room and talk to each other, they are guys who fall in love with boys, I think that being gay is just that, but they fall in love really and then, even if they are boys around 25 years old (some already work) I see that they are happy to come to see me because it’s a bit like they are finding that welcoming family they’ve never had. Seeing these guys up close I just don’t understand why so many people are angry with them, they are very good guys and should be understood and respected.

Now I break a spear in favor of my wife, she didn’t try to turn away Andrew from me to keep him all for herself, but, before, she really thought I would have taken it very badly . . . this is the sign of how little communication there can be between a husband and a wife. Now my relationship with my wife has improved precisely because she understood that I wouldn’t in any way make life difficult for Andrew.

To think that my son trusts me, that he considers me a proper person with whom he can speak on equal terms, fills me with joy because I feel again that I have a role in his life. With me he doesn’t act a comedy but says what he really thinks. By now he is no longer a boy but he is an adult man and he is a man who is proper, reliable, who has dignity and would never lower himself to petty things.

Many times we even talked about sex and we talked about it in a very direct way. In those situations I tried to be as honest as possible with him, without acting the part of the father. I don’t think that for a father there is anything more beautiful than feeling appreciated by his son and that is what for some months now begins to happen to me.

Project, I sent you this email because my son made me discover Gay Project and he told me about it very well. I tried to read as much as possible and I can only confirm what my son told me. Go ahead in doing what you are doing and don’t give up for any reason because you are doing something that has a profound meaning, even if often not visible, you are sowing good wheat that will bear its fruit. Obviously I would like to see this email published and I think that reading it on your blog would also please my son! Good evening, Project, from today you have a friend more.

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If you like, you can join the discussion on this post on Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-father-policeman-and-gay-son

THAT THIN RUBBER WALL

Hello to all, people of the forum, and sorry for the long absence from the discussions, now that I have more free time I promise to participate more diligently. Here are some of my last year reflections; I would like to know what you think about it, or if you have had similar moments with your parents.

Let’s start from this assumption: I did my coming out with my mother in June last year. I thought everything would be pretty smooth with her: she’s an open person and has lots of homosexual friends and acquaintances. Before doing this great step I consulted with a cousin of mine, who has long known of my homosexuality, to ask him how he thought my mother could take it. He claimed that there would be no problems whatsoever; the same was told to me by a friend of my mother, a person whom I have always trusted a lot and to whom I had asked for advice in order to prepare my plan.

I still remember the scene: my mother had come to see me that day in the city where I was studying. I thought of telling her everything as soon as she arrived. For months I could not stand the silence, having to bypass certain questions, even on a simple “how are you?” or “what do you do?” In a word, I couldn’t stand anymore that I couldn’t be myself in front of her. The thing had become more acute after the previous month, May 2014, when I had begun the relationship with my current boyfriend. “So,” I told myself that morning, “as soon as she gets here, I’ll tell her.” Obviously I didn’t succeed. I waited, while we were in my house, to find the right moment. Since at such moments we are always kissed by the blindfolded goddess, what I never wanted to happen happened: by accidentally rummaging in a drawer, she found an old pornographic DVD (gay) of which I didn’t even remember the existence (I thought that I hadn’t it anymore). I took it from her hands, made a thousand improvised excuses and threw the DVD away within two seconds.

The moment I was patiently preparing the ground for my coming out, this was naturally a mess. The height of misfortune was reached when, by chance, a backpack fell from the top of my closet, opening itself and letting go out a box of condoms carefully hidden by me there. As they say: so lucky! All this, as well as unexpected, also seemed tragicomic to me. On either occasion my mother didn’t make a wrinkle; nevertheless my delicate and meticulously constructed plan to introduce the discourse had gone, to put it mildly, to hell. I remember that we went out, seemingly I was the the same guy as in the morning, but inside I cursed myself, for having forgotten the DVD there and for the unfortunate coincidence of the backpack.

We went to eat out in a restaurant. And there I told her everything, between one dish and another; I didn’t use the word gay or homosexual, I didn’t have time to speak clearly. I mentioned something I wanted to tell her and after a few tentative attempts she said to me: “Are you with a boyfriend?” And I replied: “Yes”, with the sensation of throwing myself headlong into a black chasm, where I hoped to find a soft surface that would have mitigated the fall, but it was not like that.

I still remember her gaze at that moment: it was as if a wasp had stung her; in her eyes I read for a moment her pain, an unexpected pain, never imagined. After about a second she came back to her usual way of doing, but there was a touch of coldness in the voice. I realized that my predictions were wrong, that I had thrown myself down and had banged my head violently. “I would have never imagined …”, she told me. “I know how sensitive you are, but I never would have imagined.” Then she resumed with an institutional, very cold tone. “it will take me a while to metabolize. It is not easy for us. No nephews (I am an only child n.d.r.). You did well to tell me. On the other hand we have a very close relationship. Many people never say these things, for a lifetime. Don’t tell dad, he would never understand. Perhaps, with the good that he wants you, one day maybe yes… or maybe not … it’s better to avoid, I think. The soup is tasty, isn’t it? We have to go back here, they make a nice home cooking.” I swear to you that at that moment I wanted to die. It had not gone well. I had hardly seen my mother, usually so warm with everyone, taking on such a cold attitude. At the exit she told me: “Well, hug me”. But it was not a hug, or at least, not one of those I had always received, this one was certainly the coldest. Then nothing more. I was very upset.

Then in the evening I forced myself to stop thinking about it. It was my last night in the city where I had studied and lived for four years and a furious storm raged, I had seen similar rains only during the monsoons. I had greeted my mother as if nothing had happened. In the following days we talked on the phone; she seemed much quieter, even cheerful. She simply told me she wanted to talk a little better with me about the thing. Several times I threw the hook, while she and I were alone at home, when I was home for the summer. We didn’t discuss a second time about it: every time I was about to start talking about it she stopped me saying that it was not the moment and nobody said anything more.

As you can imagine, the thing left me very melancholy. You must know that in the past I had a long relationship with a girl, which ended precisely when I decided to face reality and follow the true feelings that were in me. At that time my mother was always there to ask me how my girlfriend was, when I went to visit her etc. she kept also giving me money, without my request, so I could go and see her, since we were both away from home and during the holidays we lived in different regions.

Given this past, I would have expected a quite similar attitude, at least I would have expected she would ask me how I can meet with my current boy, since we are more than a thousand miles away, I expected that she would offer me help at least sometimes. For a year nothing. I am proud and, I have to admit, I have a tendency lately to shut myself up more than in other periods of my life, I have never asked for anything. Result: economic efforts to save money and buy airline tickets, and so far no problem, there is much worse in life and this is certainly not the problem for which I write here; rather, I was grieved that I continued to take planes for a whole year, once every two months, without saying anything to her. Indeed, I lied every time. I was pretending to be in France (where I currently live) and actually I was in Italy.

In such cases you have to behave like you were a spy: you must be careful never to turn off the phone because, in the event of an unexpected call, the interlocutor should not hear the answering machine of an Italian operator rather than one French; you must be careful never to use a credit card in Italy, because movements are traceable; you must call the landlady to avoid problems to rise in the days when you are away because she could call your parent’s home in Italy; you must invent days never lived and, what is still worse, and has always been unacceptable for me , you have to lie on the phone every night, inventing imaginary stages in radio astronomy that allow only a few minutes of phone calls a day due to radio screens in proximity to the tools (yes, I also invented this). Is not it horrible to have to lie like that, moreover to your mother? And all this because I was afraid of the rubber wall that I found in front of me, not hostile but not friendly, not contrary but not favorable. And I lived and I still live with terror that my father can discover the thing (in which case the catastrophe is assured).

Last April I had resigned myself to the painful idea that in my mother’s eyes I was no longer the same; I felt less loved and, behind all the good speeches, I saw the sad truth that “the majority of parents would not want to have a gay son.” No, they would want a gay son “but” they would prefer avoid such a opportunity. Then if it happens, they show to accept it, or at least maybe they try, but … And into this “but” the figure of my mother is drowned until recently. Then, in April, precisely during one of her visits to the foreign city where I currently live, she asked me for detailed information about my boyfriend, G., offering me the support that long ago would have been the norm.

I reassured myself, and in these months my hopes have increased. Of course, not everything goes well, in the sense that the subject is rather a taboo. I don’t know if my mother will ever get to love me just because I’m homosexual, going from “it is so and I’m not pleased, but I love you the same” to “I love you just because you are homosexual and you’re happy to be, because you’ve had the courage to take the reins of your life and you have a wonderful love story with G.” Perhaps I’m claiming for too much, indeed, almost certainly, but I wonder: is it so difficult for some parents to leave aside, even in lucky cases like mine, the irrational fear dictated by years of backward education on the subject, consolidated with age? I don’t know, have you had similar experiences? Or your coming out finished unexpectedly? A great greeting to all. I promise from now on to write more on the forum!

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If you like, you can join the discussion on this post on Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-that-thin-rubber-wall

GAY BOYS AND PARENTS

1) Family conflicts related to homosexuality

Speaking with gay guys of all ages, it’s easy to realize that many of them think that often the homosexuality of sons is perceived, within the family, both by sons themselves and parents, as something disruptive and dangerous, capable of undermining even the most profound emotional relationships.

This fear, widespread at all ages, generates both for parents and boys attitudes of closure and defense. The boys, but also the adult men of 40 years, who live in their family of origin or who are still in close contact with the family of origin, not only generally avoid in any way any behavior that can push parents to consider them homosexual but, what is worse, they sometimes end up renouncing their sexuality altogether, even in the most sublimated forms: they don’t invite friends home, don’t go out at night, make a seemingly irreproachable life but totally unnatural and forced.

The fact that a boy should systematically renounce his sexuality to avoid family problems causes feelings of deep frustration and resentment towards parents who are seen as conditioning and castrating. There are gay boys who arrive at 40 years old not only without ever having had sexual contact with a boyfriend, but without ever having even experienced a serious falling in love. Such a thing cannot remain without significant psychological consequences. Gay boys living in this way feel defrauded of their own life and their deep identity by their more or less unconscious parents.

Such things create forms of family coexistence that hide profound recriminations and are merely formal. For gay guys, even at 25, 28 or 30 years, the problem of the relationship with the family is generally not yet solved. This means that these guys, who are now fully adults, are still suffering, often in a heavy way, from the crisis of family relationships due to their being gay. The parents of these guys, who are even 60 years old or older, are unable to give them any support and often misunderstandings accumulate and consolidate, and come to produce a total separation between the sons and the family that is terrible both for sons and parents and leaves a sense of deep failure of emotional life.

But at 25, if it is true that one can go into crisis, it’s also true that there are also resources to manage the situation, but at a very young age it is not at all said that it is so. I often notice, even in gay guys twenty-five years old, the deep desire to escape from home, not in order to get who knows what, but simply to find a privacy that for a guy 25 years old is absolutely necessary, especially if he is a gay guy.

That a gay boy can have good relations with the family it’s not very common and often, after the coming out in front of the family, the ostentatious acceptance of the homosexuality of the son by his parents is only just a semblance and the son feels that ”anyway” something has changed . In such a situation, the son is instinctively brought to consider his parents hypocritical.

Often the sons perceive that in the family the sex is intended like a taboo or something forbidden, this fact discourages from the beginning any form of dialogue of the guys with their parents and more generally with the adults on this topic, that is confined for class of age only to the peer group.

The idea that sex and sexual affectivity can be topics of which one can speak in a serious and open way, without taboos and without scandalism, is unfortunately very far from being a common heritage. Often even talking about masturbation is a taboo. In such a climate, a gay guy experiences in fact in a state of total isolation. Being gay becomes not a taboo like any other but the taboo par excellence.

2) Religious conditioning

The attitudes of the Church, which sees a serious sin even in masturbation and that condemns homosexuality a priori, contribute to the idea that being gay is something very negative that one must be ashamed of, a kind of disgrace, a stain, an outrage especially towards one’s parents.

Parents reticent about sex, hyper-moralistic parents, parents who speak of sex only in a derogatory tone, spread the idea that sexuality is a negative thing rooted in their son’s minds, and this is even more true for homosexuality.

3) Dialogue between parents and sons

In order to allow a form of mutual respect and genuine emotional contact between parents and sons, parents must put aside all the predetermined roles and must get involved without hiding behind attitudes of convenience that actually prevent to the sons to get to know their parents.

Generally, for a gay guy, perceiving that his parents assume a role in front of him, even apparently positive, but nonetheless they are not themselves and are not sincere, is equivalent to feeling rejected. And that perception is objectively correct. In a serious dialogue, and especially about sex or even homosexuality, there cannot be a priori presuppositions. If the answers to be given to the son already exist before any comparison, dialogue is only apparent.

Whenever a parent tries to talk to his gay son by trying to convince him of something, that is assuming what he will say to his son, regardless of the dialogue with his son, the parent is offending the dignity of the son and is creating a false dialogue. With sons, and in particular with gay sons, it is essential to be 100% honest. In most cases the sons do not talk with their parents about their homosexuality and, I add, in most cases they are right not to talk about it. What I am saying comes from the fact that sons often fear parents’ reactions and when fear takes over the relationship, the relationship is heavily degraded.

The guys I met through Gay Project and with whom I often chat, want to hear from me the confirmation that being gay means having a dignity, a morality, a high human dimension, no less than that of any other condition of life. Often the less informed or less seriously informed parents about the gay world, have an absolutely prejudicial vision of it, they identify it with the most screamed and most spectacular stereotypes that are seen on television … but no! Gays, the real ones, have nothing to do with these things, I know so many of all ages and they are very serious people, who work, who try to believe in what they do and often live in conditions of non-freedom because in the world in which they live being gay is not accepted.

There are people hiding (the vast majority!), I call them ”the invisible people”, and they hide because they are afraid, not because they have something to hide. I have seen gays falling in deep forms of love, with or without sex, this doesn’t matter, with those who gave them a serious emotional response. I have seen young boys literally destroyed by their parents’ misunderstanding and a thousand times repentant of having got out in family. The coming out with parents, in general, arouses anxiety and big hesitations because very often the relationships between parents and sons are formalized and are reduced to relationships between roles rather than between people.

4) Parents and role of support

What should a parent do when he realizes that his son is gay (no matter whether his son told him or not)? The answer may seem trivial but a parent who realizes that his son is gay, if he loves his son, must help him to be gay. A guy told me: ”after all I had a lion’s courage to talk about it with my parents … but they took it well only in a sense and say that I have to cure myself”. Such an attitude for a gay boy is equivalent to abandonment and non-acceptance.

Accepting does not mean trying to change the situation and not even hoping it will change, if there is an attempt to change things or the hope that things will change it means that there is no acceptance. Being gay is not a choice but a basic quality of a person about whom there is nothing to decide but everything to accept. Refusing the fact that one’s son is gay means rejecting him from every point of view. Loving sons means loving them as they are!

5) Parents and sex education of gay boys

The parents of gay boys, usually, even in good faith, believe they have nothing more to say about the emotional and sexual education of their sons. Nothing is more wrong. A gay boy must learn from parents to be seriously gay, to consider sexuality as a fundamental thing and to live it in an affective dimension characterized by honesty and respect for oneself and others. But beyond the moral principles, parents can have a great importance also in guiding the boys towards responsible sexual behavior in order to put aside any risky behavior. The parent’s insistence on this point is generally considered by teenagers as a form of positive interest and, in essence, as something gratifying.

A twenty-three-year-old gay boy, who had a very good relationship with his family, told me about an episode that I report below trough a passage of his e-mail.

“At one point I had a fight with my boyfriend or maybe I was just a little tired of him and even though I kept seeing him I started to go to clubs and look for guys to have fun without him knowing it and my father did something for which I will never stop thanking him. One evening he waited for me until I returned home, practically until morning, and he told me clearly that between loving a guy and going to behave stupidly to have fun there was a huge difference but if I wanted to get along with him I had to do things seriously, he told me: you have to respect your boyfriend, because he’s a guy like you and you’re cheating him now, and if you behave with less respect to a guy that you say you love you, are lacking in dignity. And he ended up like this: a gay guy must be a proper guy! I think I will not forget this anymore!”

With this example I mean that a parent can and must have a role towards a gay boy and that role consists in transmitting to the boy the sense of dignity and respect for others, which are fundamental values for all.

6) Medicalization of homosexuality

Parents, who almost always act in good faith towards gay sons, in the vast majority of cases, not only don’t have the faintest idea of what homosexuality really is but are totally unaware of their ignorance in the matter and therefore don’t seek information, don’t try to understand but only to take cover, assuming attitudes that can also violently condition sons, such attitudes are manifested in two main ways: the medicalization of homosexuality and the violation of privacy. The medicalization of the homosexuality of the son is aimed at solving the problem with a psychological or even psychiatric treatment. A serious psychiatrist will never accept to take care of a boy just because he is gay. A serious psychologist can also take care of a gay boy but to help him to be gay, certainly not to try to change his sexuality.

A gay boy, forced or kindly forced to go to a psychologist when he doesn’t want to, will perceive such a thing as a heavy violence against his person, because this way his parents don’t show acceptance but rejection of the his deep identity, and attempt to transform it. I add a very important observation: the medicalization of the homosexuality of the son by the parents is, in fact, a total discharge of responsibility as well as an explicit renunciation to try to build a dialogue with the son on the affective level.

7) Privacy of gay sons and parental intrusions

As to the violations of the son’s privacy on the part of the parents in order to understand if the boy is gay, let us remember the most common ones: reading the private diary or correspondence of the son, entering his computer to check the contents, attempting to control his friendships and especially to demand from him the confession of his homosexuality as if it were a moral obligation of the boy towards his parents. It is clear that parents are not easily aware of the seriousness of the violation of the son’s privacy and often believe that their intrusive behavior is not only justified by good intentions but is dutiful and even represents a meritorious way of exercising the parental function.

For a parent it can be very difficult to understand that the son is an independent person, different from the parent, and that no presumed good intent can justify violating the son’s privacy. For a young boy, and even more for an adult, there is nothing more private than his sexual sphere. An invasion in this area by parents is rightly experienced by the son as an intolerable violence. If a boy wants to come out in front of his parents, this is and remains in any case an absolutely free and personal choice of his, not an obligation, because boys who don’t do it avoid the coming out because they are afraid of the reactions from their parents.

I often speak with 25/30 year old guys who explicitly say that they will never come out in the family. If one of these boys felt somehow forced by his parents to talk about his homosexuality he would live it not as a simple lack of respect but as a very serious aggression to his dignity and his person.

8) Affective education of gays and family homophobia

The bad relationship of a gay boy with his parents, and worse the disapproval of them, radically prevents every form of dialogue. The model of affective life assimilated through the family life, that is through the observation of the behavior of the parents remains deeply imprinted in the mind of gay boys.

Gay guys who have had family relationships characterized by respect and affection between their parents certainly have much less relational problems in their emotional life. Unfortunately, the reasoning is also valid for the negative.

I spend my days, and very often my nights, talking to gay guys and many of them don’t have clear relationships with their parents, this doesn’t only mean that they are closeted gays in family but that between parents and sons there is no real dialogue and that parents don’t have and often have never had emotional contact with the sons: some boys are literally afraid of their parents and their judgment and others prefer not to put at risk even the fragile family peace by addressing dangerous discourses without any useful prospect.

These boys have often felt a homophobic atmosphere in their family, have heard scornful judgments about gays and realized that parents are too much conditioned by prejudices to be able to really understand what it means to be gay. In some cases, parents’ comments on television broadcasts or journalistic news concerning gays have permanently removed their sons from the intention of speaking openly with their parents, in other cases the a priori moral condemnation of homosexuality, on the basis of the attitude of the Church, provoked similar reactions. In these situations, a boy clearly perceives that for his parents, what people say or what the Church says matters more than the son and that there is no effort on the part of parents to understand what it really means to be gay. Often even attitudes that may seem to be of acceptance, in reality, can hurt boys very heavily, when they understand that there is a discrepancy between the parents’ words and their actual behavior, when they perceive the hypocrisy of the parents and their playing a role without getting really involved.

A single word out of place (I love you ”also” like that) can show anyway a profound non-acceptance, but often even the tone of the voice is sufficient or the fact that the topic is frozen in a definitive way. The boys would like to talk seriously with their parents, they would like to understand the difficulties of their parents and help them solve their problems. The real difficulties emerge when mutual trust is lacking, when parents and children don’t esteem each other as persons. In such situations, the fact that the son is gay is not the real problem but brings out the misunderstandings and underlying diseases of the parent-child relationship.

9) Parental victimhood

Often a parent’s interest in homosexuality, after the coming out of the son, is manifested through the search on the internet of sites deemed useful, but almost always the parent avoids serious sites dedicated to gay guys and instead seeks sites where a parent may have contacts with other parents of gay guys, this means that often the parent doesn’t try to understand the point of view of gay boys but is looking for someone willing to support him or allow him to feel victim. It is much easier to be welcomed by the thoughtful arms of a site ”for parents” of gay sons than by those much more tough of a gay site dedicated to gay guys. The parent who prefers dialogue with other parents rather than with his son is not honestly trying to solve the problem of the son but only his own! These things are the clear sign of an immaturity on the part of the parent. The lack of dialogue between parents and children is not eliminated by making parents talk to each other, but by pushing them to talk with the boys and get involved in the first person, without hypocrisy and without a prejudicial role-taking.

10) Parental attitudes about masturbation

When a boy is 14/15 years old, and sometimes even before, begins to have a sexual life, discovers masturbation and, in the 21st century, he invariably begins to use online pornography. Simultaneously at the beginning of sexual activity, this boy feels two different needs, first of all the need for privacy, that is to have his own reserved spaces and times when he is sure not to be disturbed, just to devote himself to the exploration of sexuality, then the need to find serious information about sexuality, that can provide answers without putting him in embarrassing situations. For a boy who has just begun to masturbate, an absolutely natural and necessary activity for the development of his sexuality, there is nothing more humiliating than being caught red-handed by his parents while masturbating or worse that his parents let him know that they know that he does it.

When a boy grows up, a parent must understand that it is absolutely inevitable that the boy has a ”very private” sexual life in which ”nobody” has the right to enter ”for any reason”. The first rule for a parent is to avoid the intrusion into the sexual life of the son and know how to stand aside by maintaining a role of ”possible” (and only possible) reference point for the son. A parent shouldn’t ask the son questions about his sexuality, he should never embarrass him. And here, because we talk about boys and not girls, a fundamental role belongs to fathers rather than mothers. A mother doesn’t fully know the development of male sexuality because she has not experienced it in the first person and, for a boy, talking about his own sexuality with a person of the opposite sex, especially if it is his mother, can be very embarrassing because the speech must be explicit.

A father, if he thinks it makes sense to mention masturbation by talking to his son, should not start from the son’s sexuality but from his own, mentioning the topic as something obvious, which doesn’t constitute a taboo, and accompanying the mention of the topic (which must remain only a mention if the son doesn’t continue the speech) with a joke of lightening or with a winking smile.

Below is a fragment of a dialogue between a 45-year-old father and his 15- year-old son.

The father and the son have just seen together a television service on the approaches to sexuality on the part of the very young people.

Father: Anyways, they are so amazed that at 14/15 years the boys know what sex is, when I was a boy, maybe we didn’t really have relationships as guys do nowadays but, in short, oh … (looks at his son, smiling) … what have you to laugh for? … Yes… I did what everyone does when the sexual urges awaken! … I’m not a Martian!
The son smiles. End of the speech.

This fragment is a non-invasive approach that plays down and doesn’t create embarrassment but almost a form of complicity. I emphasize that in the father’s sentence there is no reference to sexual orientation (he doesn’t talk about girls, which would create alarm and embarrassment for a gay son).

11) Mother’s approach to gay son’s sexuality

The mother’s approach to a son’s sexuality is much more problematic, especially if he is a gay son. If a boy ”explicitly” wants to talk to his mother about sexuality without involving his father, the mother’s task is not to investigate and understand but to listen carefully and not anxiously, to give the son a certainty, avoiding to involve him in her anxieties . When a mother doesn’t know what to say to her son or is embarrassed she can reassure him in a very simple way: when the discourse on sexuality is over, the mother doesn’t have to resume it, which would be a sign of destabilizing anxiety, like an underlining that there is a ”problem” to be solved, but must continue her relationship with the son as if nothing had happened, in order to give sexuality a dimension of naturalness and normality. I emphasize that naturalness and normality should always accompany any discourse concerning sexuality.

12) Parents and sexual anxiety of the son

A particularly delicate situation occurs when an adolescent boy experiences the approach to sexuality in an objectively problematic way. These are typically situations in which parents enter into anxiety states connected with their son’s discomfort. A parent who sees his son’s discomfort must ask himself whether it is more important for a parent to alleviate his son’s distress or ”know” how things are in order to ”help” his child. I state that, despite appearances, these are often irreconcilable situations. To help a son overcome discomfort, one has to put aside the will to know the real life of the son. If my son wants to talk to me about his sexuality he does it spontaneously, if he doesn’t I don’t have to force him in any way, I can stay close to him through normal family care: accompany him to his friends without asking too many questions, leave the dinner ready for him when he comes back late, welcome him with a smile.

13) ”Helping” a gay son

A parent cannot claim to help a son if this one doesn’t want to involve his parents because a boy is entitled to his privacy. There is much more value in a loving and constant presence that doesn’t deal with sexual themes than in a harassing presence that aims to ”know” and ”understand” how things are, a behavior this latter that can lead to a sudden and abrupt blackout of communication with the son, followed by a reactive behavior on the part of the boy leading to his radical and irreversible detachment from the family.

If a parent has doubts about the sexual orientation of the son he must avoid harassing him and must instead reassure him without involving him in an embarrassing way in direct speeches but through indirect hints of respect towards gays, hints that should not be too insistent, because otherwise they would sound fake.

A boy understands perfectly if parents have a true respect for gays or pretend, so for parents the key thing to not affectively destabilize their gay son is to arrive at a true respect for homosexuality. The parent should first question himself and his own preconceptions and only after he should think how to talk with the son about sexual matters.

14) Relationships of gay boys with the psychologist

Given for granted that it is always good to take care of sons in the first person, without delegating fundamental tasks to anyone, it sometimes happens that a parent, seeing the situation of discomfort of the boy, addresses him to a psychologist who could provide support. Here a very delicate point must be clarified: the relationship between a psychologist and his patient must be absolutely ”confidential” i.e. ”reserved”, a serious professional, even in a relationship with a teenage patient, has the professional obligation of secrecy.

Unfortunately this obligation is not always respected and the psychologist ”in the interest of the patient” or rather in the alleged interest of the patient but objectively yielding to direct or indirect pressures of the parents, arrives to communicate to the parents the homosexuality of their son ”without his knowledge”, violently breaking a relationship of trust that could be important for the boy, such a thing has devastating consequences for the boy who feels betrayed in a dimension that should be completely confidential. In this way the psychologist, carefully chosen by the parent, becomes in substance a spy of the parent, and this behavior indicates not respect for the boy but the will of the parent himself to ”know at any cost” , even violating the privacy of the son.

The parents don’t have to choose the psychologist and they don’t have to go to his study before the interviews with the son and not even after, the relationship with the psychologist is not an appendix of the parent-child relationship, but a completely different and separate relationship in which parents must not enter, worse than ever if the psychologist is a family friend. It is a good rule to have the name of the psychologist from the general practitioner and never ask the psychologist ”any” information about the son nor ask the son any judgment on the psychologist.

It happens to me several times to talk with guys who, sent by the psychologist from their parents, don’t trust the psychologist. In these cases the psychologist’s approach is not only emptied from the inside but is counterproductive. In full respect of the dimension of privacy of the son, we must keep in mind that if a parent has doubts about the sexuality of the boy, he must keep those doubts for himself, already talking about it with the spouse can be a negative fact, but talking about it with the separated spouse is anyway to be absolutely avoided , especially if he is a person who does not have a good relationship with the boy.

15) Undue interferences in the lives of gay sons

A parent must not interfere in the son’s relationship with his classmates and friends, when the boy makes a party at home and invites his classmates, the parents, if not directly called into question by their son, must maintain a marginal position, low profile, they must avoid to get into confidence with friends and classmates of the son and for no reason should try to obtain information about the son from his friends or his companions. Putting a son in a state of embarrassment with his schoolmates or friends creates a breaking in the parent-child relationship that is difficult to repair. Terrible and hateful, even if not very rare, are the situations in which a boy who has trusted in his parents in an absolute way realizes that his other relatives ”know about his sexuality” and that the source of the news are precisely his parents, unable to maintain confidentiality.

16) False acceptance

I have often seen parents terrified by the fact that the son had made his coming out but not at all worried about creating or maintaining a substantial dialogue with their son, in these cases, the most typical reaction of false acceptance consists in saying that ”It is only a transitory phase that will pass and then everything will return to normality”, but there are also other typical non-acceptance reactions, such as the classic: ”Go to the psychologist and see what can be done”, or the most common: ”But are you really sure?”, Or even the unpleasant expression: ”But you’re not gay, you only say this to provoke me!” this latter statement highlights strong long-standing contrasts between parents and son. In these situations it is obvious that parents should solve their problems about the rejection of homosexuality before thinking of being able to ”help” their son. The verb ”to help”, used in relation to gay boys only emphasizes the problematic dimension of being gay, a problematic dimension that exists only to the extent to which being gay is seen as a problem. The difficulty of the problem of being gay is proportional to the ignorance of the issue and to levels of anxiety of the parents who want at all costs to ”help” the son to solve a ”problem” that doesn’t really exist and also want to ”save” him from an indefinite series of dangers of which parents nevertheless don’t have the faintest concrete idea.

17) Education for prevention

If there is one thing a parent has the sacrosanct duty to do, it is to make the son understand that his own health must be safeguarded also in sexual activity because it is an absolutely fundamental value. Prevention should not be approached in a generic way with a vague ”be careful” but in a competent way. Talking with the parent must help (this time it’s the right verb!) the son to obtain reliable and accurate information. If a parent doesn’t feel sufficiently informed, he can update himself specifically on the Ministry of Health website or on the Gay Project website which has republished the most important ministerial information on AIDS.

18) Gay boys and family violence

A growing boy, and in particular a gay boy, shouldn’t be involved for any reason in aggressive situations, especially if it comes to aggressive situations related to his being gay. Sometimes I still talk with worried mothers who don’t want their husbands to know about their son’s homosexuality because they would react violently. A scene, and worse than ever, a slap given to a gay boy by the parent because the boy is gay, involves the comprehensible break-up of the relationship between father and son.

We are still amazed at how, even today, there are violent reactions of parents to the idea of the homosexuality of their sons and also of parents with high levels of education but who are obviously completely ignorant of sexuality and are not even able to restrain themselves from violence and to face a reasoning as civilized people. The essence of this speech can be condensed into two principles that parents of a gay boys should never forget:

1) A parent, before addressing the issue of homosexuality with his son, should ask himself what his personal attitude is. He must ask himself seriously if he knows what homosexuality really is or he only presumes to know everything, and if he realizes that he in the first person, has no clear ideas, he must try to clarify them first. He must look first to clarify whether his attitude is really of acceptance or if behind seemingly conciliatory words are hiding homophobic conceptions (homosexuality as a pathology to treat, as a defect to be overcome, as a sin to be avoided).

2) A parent, even after reaching a full awareness of what homosexuality is, must respect ”without exception” the privacy of the son, remaining present and available but never in invasive terms and understanding that the sexuality of the son belongs to the son and not to the parent and that the will to protect the son is likely to make him incapable to react autonomously or to bring him to a position of open break with the family.

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If you like, you can join the discussion on this post on Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-gay-boys-and-parents

OPENLY GAYS AND THEIR RELATIVES

Hello Project,

I read so many times in the forum stories of guys coming out and thinking that coming out can be the door to happiness, well, I too thought this way years ago, when I was totally in the closet, but now I would absolutely avoid advising a boy to come out in front of his family and this for a very different reason than one could imagine. If the family does not accept you, ok, the problems are huge, but if they accept you problems can be huge all the same, because a gay boy completely out and accepted in the family ends up experiencing a family conditioning completely overlapping those to which a hetero boys are subjected, that is: everyone knows, everyone comments, everyone gives advice and tries to combine relationships in their own way and in practice the privacy and the feeling of being couple, just like two and only two people, goes to hell, because social invasion becomes increasingly heavy and unpleasant.

A year ago I met a guy, Mirco, when I was on holiday in Puglia. At the time I was totally in the closet, while he was totally out. We spent 15 days of vacation together, a little sex (protected), then, for me everything was finished, I didn’t feel in love with that guy, but he insisted and asked me to go and see him at home in Salerno, he insisted a lot and in the end I accepted but probably I didn’t realize exactly what would have happened, I thought I would be presented as a friend and that everything would end there, but he was out with his family and when you present yourself at home of a gay boy totally out and he says you’re a friend, his family automatically identifies you as the lover, or as the lover of the moment, and that’s exactly what happened to me.

I don’t deny that the first day I was really uncomfortable, I couldn’t bear the attentions of his relatives. In particular his mother and his aunts subjected me to a real police questioning and meddled with subjects that I had never shared with anyone, but all this is nothing in front of the behavior: they put us in the same room and not with two separate beds but with a double bed and his aunts began to make absurd speeches: that if I loved their nephew I should not be ashamed and so on, but I was not in love with their nephew and I did everything to make it clear and evident, but for them I was the boy of their nephew. After the 15 days I came back to my home in Milan, where nobody knew anything about me and I breathed a sigh of relief.

Then I received a postcard from Mirco that created me a lot of embarrassment, he sent me a postcard with the image of two guys kissing (at least it was not us!) But a postcard like that seemed to me quite inappropriate, especially because Mirco knew I was yet closeted. But there’s more: the postcard was signed “also” by Mirco but had not been written by him but by his aunt Carolina, and said: “Happiness exists!” Obviously I didn’t respond to the postcard for the fear that another similar postcard could came, instead I received an email from Mirco telling me that it would be in Milan for the post graduate university training and that he would take a mini-flat near the university. I don’t hide the fact that I panicked and tried to think how I could get rid of Mirco, because I expected that sooner or later he would create problems with my family.

I wrote to him that once back in the city I had reviewed my ex and we were back together, of course it was all invented but I hoped that it could serve to turn him away from the idea of coming to Milan, but he replied trying to make me have scruples of conscience, remembering the days and even more the nights spent together in Puglia. I replied in a way that seemed to me very cold and evasive and three days later his aunt Carolina called me on the phone even if I hadn’t absolutely given her my phone number, and she told me that Mirco spent the day thinking about me and crying, what seemed to me completely unlikely. I suspect that the idea of attending post graduate courses in Milan was not of Mirco but of aunt Carolina, who is very meddling; if she were my aunt . . . I save you what I would do! Nothing sexual of course!

The academic year restarts and Mirco arrives in Milan, calls me every day and I do everything to avoid him, unplug the phone for hours … however, sometimes I cannot avoid meeting him, but I do not have to spend more than a few minutes with him, because Mirco comments loudly about the guys he sees on the street and behaves as none of my friends would have ever done. I avoid with the utmost care to enter with him in a bar or in a restaurant because nothing is a problem for him and nothing holds him back, but he doesn’t realize he is disturbing the privacy of others. Three days ago aunt Carolina calls me and tells me that Mirco feels much better “now that he is in Milan” I hope that he has found a guy, but aunt Carolina tells me: “The merit is all yours! Because you knew how to take him with such sweetness!”

And here my arms fall to the ground! What did I do? The situation was getting really heavy, I told aunt Carolina that I was already with a guy and that Mirco knew it very well and she added that yes he knew but anyway he didn’t believe it.

I decide to face Mirco explicitly and I do it. He looks at me and tells me: “But I had understood very well from the first day I arrived in Milan, I know that there is no tripe for cats with you [expression commonly used in Rome to say that there are no possibilities] and then I found another guy … Quiet, everything is ok. You know, aunt Carolina is a spinster and she must always combine weddings … staying here in Milan I realized that I probably created a lot of problems because nobody knows about you, I’m sorry, I thought you wanted to get rid of this thing, maybe to find gay friends, but maybe this is out of place for you. Quiet, I’ll stay away, I understand the lesson.”

I thanked him and then he said to me: “Aunt Carolina … you will not get rid of her so easily, but don’t take her seriously if she tells you that I’m crying all day, because she said the same thing to all the guys I brought home … she is like that!”

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