GAYS AND RELIGION

Religious prescriptions
 
It is a fact that religions propose to the believers the respect of norms, some are norms that belong to moral codes widely shared even by non-believers (for example:  not to kill and not to say false testimony, etc.) and don’t need any justification because they are considered pillars of civil life, others don’t find any objective justification, so much so that precepts such as monogamy that are considered fundamental by some religions are not at all for others. Some of these precepts derive from traditions and may have very remote historical justifications that have been lost over the centuries even if, anyway, the observance of those precepts has remained obligatory.
 
It is precisely the absolute and non-historical dimension of religions that makes them, at least theoretically, unable to adapt to the present historical situation. Many prescriptions regarding food and sex, seen from a secular point of view, are completely formal and apparently unmotivated. The prohibition on eating particular types of meat or fish, which for others constitutes commonly used food, finds no reason other than the fact that so it is prescribed; such precepts are accepted only on the basis of a principle of authority and therefore their violation constitutes formally a fault.
 
We speak of faults in the sense that they are considered as such by those who follow that religion, because for others they are completely indifferent. Some prescriptions such as that of not eating meat on Fridays, which were also exclusively formal, have created nevertheless considerable feelings of guilt in not very distant times.
 
But I would like here to deal mainly with the prohibitions on sexuality, which still today, and presumably still for very long periods, will continue to condition human behavior and create suffering.
 
Religious prescriptions and morality
 
Morality, as the historical religions conceive it, doesn’t look at the moral substance of the facts but stops at presumptions and formal categories, and this happens above all in the sexual field. The preconception turns into precept and presents itself with the force of the authority in the name of which certain behaviors or omissions are required, which in themselves are completely meaningless or even harmful.
 
Nobody tries to explain the meaning of these precepts, because they derive only from the principle of authority. A rational analysis would weaken these precepts by pointing out that they are not necessary, that sometimes they are inappropriate and even harmful. Obedience is already presented to children as the greatest virtue. The good boy does what his parents want, if he behaves like that, he is gratified, if he doesn’t, he lives more or less serious feelings of guilt. The sense of guilt creates a psychological subjection and therefore an addiction that confirms the principle of authority through the need to be forgiven.
 
Chastity
 
Let’s go down to more concrete contents. Chastity, seen as abstention from sex, is considered a virtue and the exercise of sexuality is considered a vice, which is transformed into virtue only when sexuality is exercised in order to procreate in the context of a legitimate marriage. These statements, which are at least theoretically shared by many people, are pure preconceptions. Psychology teaches that sexuality lived in a serene, spontaneous way, without taboos, and therefore in a non-transgressive way, is a fundamental condition of well-being, nevertheless chastity is considered a virtue and the exercise of sexuality, if not for legitimate procreative purposes, is considered a vice. Why does all this happen?
 
Prohibition-transgression-guilt
 
The rational explanation (obviously for those who believe that these are absurdities far away from the reality) lies in the mechanism of prohibition / transgression / guilt / need for forgiveness which strengthens the authority of those who support the ban and administer pardon. If the ban were easy to respect the sense of guilt would be rare and the authority would not come out stronger, but if the prohibition or condemnation concerns sexuality and it is a ban as absolute as basically against nature (for example the ban to masturbate), transgression is inevitable and through the mechanism of forgiveness the strengthening of the authority that imposes the prohibition is very evident.
 
Religion e self-repression
 
It is widely shared that religions lead to the repression of sexuality and the speech would seem realistic. It could be summarized as follows: a guy who would have a free sexuality, if he enters the orbit of a religion, is conditioned and begins to repress his sexuality. Religion would be the cause and the repression of sexuality would be the effect. But why of the many guys who approach the religions only some end up repressing themselves sexually remaining in those religions while others, after having approached those religions, turn away without many problems?
 
The answer is easily found if, instead of saying that the adherence to a religion is the cause of sexual repression, we exchange the terms of the speech and realize that they are instead the guys who are sexually repressed who end up adhering to certain religions because within those religions their sexual self-repression is considered a merit if not a form of holiness.
 
The religion from  “doing” to “not doing”
 
It is amazing that Christianity, which at the evangelical level is the religion of love of neighbor, that is, the religion of “concretely doing” good for others (giving food to the hungry, giving to drink to the thirsty, etc., etc.), is instead widely felt like the religion of “not doing”, of abstinence, of not contaminating oneself.
 
Basically, unfortunately, instead of perceiving with feelings of guilt the not doing the good that could be done, one ends up perceiving with feelings of guilt the doing something what is forbidden for the sole fact that it is forbidden, even if the prohibition has no other motivation beyond the strengthening of the authority of the person managing it.
 
If religion were to be lived within the personal conscience, considered the supreme judge of the morality of actions and not instead formalized through subordination to an external authority, how many prohibitions would continue to exist? Would the level of morality decrease? Frankly, I don’t think so.
 
Why delegate the choices of one’s own conscience to an external authority? Why we are so afraid of being simply men? Why give up the freedom to think?
 
Catholic Church and masturbation
 
A particular reflection deserves the condemnation of masturbation as a serious sin on the part of the Catholic Church [Catechism of the Catholic Church, art. 2396 “Among the sins gravely contrary to chastity are masturbation, fornication, pornography, and homosexual practices.” The formula used by the Catechism is without appeal. The boys who attend the Church, regularly tell the priest in confession of having masturbated, using fixed formulas, for example the classic: “I have sinned against purity”. The priest proceeds (often in a very mechanical way) asking how many times, whether alone or with others, then he repeats the usual formulas of condemnation of masturbation and asks the penitent (or presumed such) a commitment to avoid masturbating. The penitent shows himself repented and is acquitted.
 
In reality it is a false repentance, because in a short time the boy will return to masturbate and even to repeat masturbation as much as possible before the next confession (because now the purity is lost). Then the boy goes back to confession and the cycle repeats. The result is a strong push to hypocrisy on the part of the Church which, of course, knows very well how things are, that repentance is not repentance and that the mechanism only serves to surreptitiously induce feelings of guilt that keeps the boy in a state of subjection .
 
Many priests do not even consider masturbation as a sin, and in this way they get the result of keeping the boys connected to the Church. Others operate real crusades creating in the most sensitive youngsters situations of stress, deep feelings of guilt and conditioning inhibitions towards sexuality.
For many boys, the Church’s position on masturbation is a cause of profound suffering.
 
Catholic Church and homosexuality
 
The above, when it comes to gay boys, takes very different contours. Because the Church condemns not only masturbation but directly and without appeal homosexuality [Catechism of the Catholic Church, art. 2357 “ Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.”
 
A wider collection of condemnations of homosexuality on the part of the Catholic Church can be found in: 
 
Gay guys and confession
 
A gay boy at the time of confession has two problems, one is that of masturbation (shared with the straight boys) and the other is that of homosexuality. The overwhelming majority of gay boys feel their homosexuality as something so natural that they simply and sincerely doesn’t consider it as sin and continue to confess only impure acts without any specification. When, in a casual way, the issue of homosexuality emerges in confession, the answers from the priests, even if all in theory are aimed to condemnation, are actually very various and variously open. Even here, probably the idea that a drastic attitude would definitely detach a gay boy from the Church has a non-negligible part.
 
The real moment of crisis between a gay boy and the Church occurs when the boy comes to discover that the Church demands total chastity from him [art. 2359 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.”]. In other words, a homosexual to remain in the Church must  radically deny what he is because the Church considers homosexuality “serious depravity”, “fatal consequence of a rejection of God”, “lack of normal sexual evolution”, “pathological constitution”, “intrinsically bad behavior from the moral point of view” (see the link cited).
 
Gay guys and Catholic Church: possible options
 
Which options are possible for a gay? He may or may try to repress himself totally to conform to what the Church asks of him, with long-term destructive results, or play on an infinite series of false repentances and relapses as in the case of masturbation, or he may stop trying to reconcile what by definition it is irreconcilable. Often the boys try the first road, they feel it impassable, they reject the hypocrisy of the second and finally they reach the third, with the definitive removal of the Church and with the definitive overcoming of guilt feelings.
 
Reparative therapies
 
I conclude this chapter by addressing a very delicate topic that has repeatedly created doubts and perplexities in gay guys, I refer to the so-called “reparative therapies”. On December 23, 2007, a long article by Davide Varì appeared on “Liberazione”: “The story of a reporter who for months attended a course organized by an ultra-Catholic group” “I told him:” I’m gay “. They replied: “Your disease is a mild disease, we can treat it well …” “” Are you gay? Come to us, we’ll take care of you “” Diary of six months in therapy … “” “The road to my presumed salvation begins with a meeting to define times and ways of my entry into a therapeutic group to recover from homosexuality” ” “The story of a reporter infiltrated for months a course organized by an ultra-Catholic group”. Below is a link to the text of the article, now almost unobtainable but extremely interesting: 
 
In this article, the author doesn’t speak in the abstract of reparative therapies but tells in detail his experience. Pretending to be homosexual, is put in contact by a priest with prof. Tonino Cantelmi, president and founder of the Italian Association of Catholic Psychologists and Psychiatrists and professor of psychology at the Gregorian University, which starts him with a reparative therapy for homosexuality. The article doesn’t stop, however, to describe the practical experience of the journalist in contact with the team of Prof. Cantelmi, but goes in search of the roots of reparative therapies by analyzing the contents of the book “Beyond homosexuality” by Joseph Nicolosi who is commonly considered the father of reparative therapies of homosexuality.
 
World health organization and reparative therapies
 
To avoid sterile polemics and to give a clear and authoritative answer to the supporters of these therapies, I report below, a fundamental document of the World Health Organization [https://www.paho.org/hq/dmdocuments /2012/Conversion-Therapies-EN.pdf] where some points of extreme importance for homosexual persons are synthesized. This document of the highest scientific level is the synthesis of the work of thousands of specialists in all parts of the world. I invite you to observe how the contents of this document accurately reflect what Gay Project has always supported. I believe that there is no need to compare this document with other well-known documents of confessional origin.
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Pan American Health Organization
Regional Office of the
World Health Organization
 
“CURES” FOR AN ILLNESS THAT DOES NOT EXIST 
Purported therapies aimed at changing sexual orientation  
lack medical justification and are ethically unacceptable
 
Introduction
Countless human beings live their lives surrounded by rejection, maltreatment, and violence for being perceived as “different.” Among them, millions are victims of attitudes of mistrust, disdain and hatred because of their sexual orientation. These expressions of homophobia are based on intolerance resulting from blind fanaticism as well as pseudoscientific views that regard non-heterosexual and non-procreative sexual behavior as “deviation” or the result of a “developmental defect.” 
Whatever its origins and manifestations, any form of homophobia has negative effects on the affected people, their families and friends, and society at large. There is an abundance of accounts and testimonies of suffering; feelings of guilt and shame; social exclusion; threats and injuries; and persons who have been brutalized and tortured to the point of causing injuries, permanent scars and even death. As a consequence, homophobia represents a public health problem that needs to be addressed energetically. 
While every expression of homophobia is regrettable, harms caused by health professionals as a result of ignorance, prejudice, or intolerance are absolutely unacceptable and must be avoided by all means. Not only is it fundamentally important that every person who uses health services be treated with dignity and respect; it is also critical to prevent the application of theories and models that view homosexuality as a “deviation” or a choice that can be modified through “will power” or supposed “therapeutic support”. 
In several countries of the Americas, there has been evidence of the continued promotion, through supposed “clinics” or individual “therapists,” of services aimed at “curing” non-heterosexual orientation, an approach known as “reparative” or “conversion therapy.”(1) Worryingly, these services are often provided not just outside the sphere of public attention but in a clandestine manner. From the perspective of professional ethics and human rights protected by regional and universal treaties and conventions such as the American Convention on Human Rights and its Additional Protocol (“Protocol of San Salvador”) (2) , they represent unjustifiable practices that should be denounced and subject to corresponding sanctions. 
 
Homosexuality as a natural and  non-pathological variation
 
Efforts aimed at changing non-heterosexual sexual orientations lack medical justification since homosexuality cannot be considered a pathological condition.(3) There is a professional consensus that homosexuality represents a natural variation of human sexuality without any intrinsically harmful effect on the health of those concerned or those close to them. In none of its individual manifestations does homosexuality constitute a disorder or an illness, and therefore it requires no cure. For this reason homosexuality was removed from the relevant systems of classification of diseases several decades ago.(4) 
 
The ineffectiveness and harmfulness of “conversion therapies”
 
Besides the lack of medical indication, there is no scientific evidence for the effectiveness of sexual reorientation efforts. While some persons manage to limit the expression of their sexual orientation in terms of conduct, the orientation itself generally appears as an integral personal characteristic that cannot be changed. At the same time, testimonies abound about harms to mental and physical health resulting from the repression of a person’s sexual orientation. In 2009, the American Psychological Association conducted a review of 83 cases of people who had been subject to “conversion” interventions.(5) Not only was it impossible to demonstrate changes in subjects’ sexual orientation, in addition the study found that the intention to change sexual orientation was linked to depression, anxiety, insomnia, feelings of guilt and shame, and even suicidal ideation and behaviors. In light of this evidence, suggesting to patients that they suffer from a “defect” and that they ought to change constitutes a violation of the first principle of medical ethics: “first, do no harm.” It affects the right to personal integrity as well as the right to health, especially in its psychological and moral dimensions.
 
Reported violations of personal integrity and other human rights
 
As an aggravating factor, “conversion therapies” have to be considered threats to the right to personal autonomy and to personal integrity. There are several testimonies from adolescents who have been subject to “reparative” interventions against their will, many times at their families’ initiative. In some cases, the victims were interned and deprived of their liberty, sometimes to the extent of being kept in isolation during several months.(6) The testimonies provide accounts of degrading treatment, extreme humiliation, physical violence, aversive conditioning through electric shock or emetic substances, and even sexual harassment and attempts of “reparative rape,” especially in the case of lesbian women. Such interventions violate the dignity and human rights of the affected persons, independently of the fact that their “therapeutic” effect is nil or even counterproductive. In these cases, the right to health has not been protected as demanded by the regional and international obligations established through the Protocol of San Salvador and the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights. 
 
Conclusion
 
Health professionals who offer “reparative therapies” align themselves with social prejudices and reflect a stark ignorance in matters of sexuality and sexual health. Contrary to what many people believe or assume, there is no reason – with the exception of the stigma resulting from those very prejudices – why homosexual persons should be unable to enjoy a full and satisfying life. The task of health professionals is to not cause harm and to offer support to patients to alleviate their complaints and problems, not to make these more severe. A therapist who classifies non-heterosexual patients as “deviant” not only offends them but also contributes to the aggravation of their problems. “Reparative” or “conversion therapies” have no medical indication and represent a severe threat to the health and human rights of the affected persons. They constitute unjustifiable practices that should be denounced and subject to adequate sanctions and penalties.
 
RECOMMENDATIONS
 
To governments: 
– Homophobic ill-treatment on the part of health professionals or other members of health care teams violates human rights obligations established through universal and regional treaties. Such treatment is unacceptable and should not be tolerated.
– “Reparative” or “conversion therapies” and the clinics offering them should be reported and subject to adequate sanctions.
 – Institutions offering such “treatment” at the margin of the health sector should be viewed as infringing the right to health by assuming a role properly pertaining to the health sector and by causing harm to individual and community well-being.(7) 
– Victims of homophobic ill-treatment must be treated in accordance with protocols that support them in the recovery of their dignity and self-esteem. This includes providing them treatment for physical and emotional harm and protecting their human rights, especially the right to life, personal integrity, health, and equality before the law.
 
To academic institutions: 
– Public institutions responsible for training health professionals should include courses on human sexuality and sexual health in their curricula, with a particular focus on respect for diversity and the elimination of attitudes of pathologization, rejection, and hate toward non-heterosexual persons. The participation of the latter in teaching activities contributes to the development of positive role models and to the elimination of common stereotypes about non-heterosexual communities and persons.
– The formation of support groups among faculty and within the student community contributes to reducing isolation and promoting solidarity and relationships of friendship and respect between members of these groups. Better still is the formation of sexual diversity alliances that include heterosexual persons.
– Homophobic harassment or maltreatment on the part of members of the faculty or students is unacceptable and should not be tolerated.
 
To professional associations:
– Professional associations should disseminate documents and resolutions by national and international institutions and agencies that call for the de-psychopathologization of sexual diversity and the prevention of interventions aimed at changing sexual orientation.
– Professional associations should adopt clear and defined positions regarding the protection of human dignity and should define necessary actions for the prevention and control of homophobia as a public health problem that negatively impacts the enjoyment of civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights.
– The application of so-called “reparative” or “conversion therapies” should be considered fraudulent and as violating the basic principles of medical ethics. Individuals or institutions offering these treatments should be subject to adequate sanctions.
 
To the media:
– The representation of non-heterosexual groups, populations, or individuals in the media should be based on personal respect, avoiding stereotypes or humor based on mockery, ill-treatment, or violations of dignity or individual or collective well-being.
– Homophobia, in any of its manifestations and expressed by any person, should be exposed as a public health problem and a threat to human dignity and human rights.
– The use of positive images of non-heterosexual persons or groups, far from promoting homosexuality (in virtue of the fact that sexual orientation cannot be changed), contributes to creating a more humane and diversity-friendly outlook, dispelling unfounded fears and promoting feelings of solidarity.
– Publicity that incites homophobic intolerance should be denounced for contributing to the aggravation of a public health problem and threats to the right to life, particularly as it contributes to chronic emotional suffering, physical violence, and hate crimes.
– Advertising by “therapists,” “care centers,” or any other agent offering services aimed at changing sexual orientation should be considered illegal and should be reported to the relevant authorities.
 
To civil society organizations:
– Civil society organizations can develop mechanisms of civil vigilance to detect violations of the human rights of non-heterosexual persons and report them to the relevant authorities. They can also help to identify and report persons and institutions involved in the administration of so-called “reparative” or “conversion therapies.”
– Existing or emerging self-help groups of relatives or friends of non-heterosexual persons can facilitate the connection to health and social services with the goal of protecting the physical and emotional integrity of illtreated individuals, in addition to reporting abuse and violence.
– Fostering respectful daily interactions between persons of different sexual orientations is enriching for everyone and promotes harmonic, constructive, salutary, and peaceful ways of living together.
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1  Human Rights Committee (2008). Concluding Observations on Ecuador (CCPR/C/ECU/CO/5), paragraph 12. <http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrc/docs/co/CCPR.C.ECU.CO.5.doc>  Human Rights Council (2011). Discriminatory Laws and Practices and Acts of Violence Against Individuals Based on Their Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (A/HRC/19/41), paragraph 56. <http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/HRCouncil/RegularSession/Session19/AHRC-19-41_en.pdf > Human Rights Council (2011). Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Right of Everyone to the Enjoyment of the Highest Attainable Standard of Physical and Mental Health (A/HRC/14/20), paragraph 23. <http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/14session/A.HRC.14.20.pdf>  United Nations General Assembly (2001). Note by the Secretary-General on the Question of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (A/56/156), paragraph 24. <http://www.un.org/documents/ga/docs/56/a56156.pdf&gt;
2  The human rights that can be affected by these practices include, among others, the right to life, to personal integrity, to privacy, to equality before the law, to personal liberty, to health, and to benefit from scientific progress.
3  American Psychiatric Association (2000). Therapies Focused on Attempts to Change Sexual Orientation (Reparative or Conversion Therapies): Position Statement. <http://www.psych.org/Departments/EDU/Library/APAOfficialDocumentsandRelated/PositionStatements/200001.aspx&gt; Anton, B. S. (2010). “Proceedings of the American Psychological Association for the Legislative Year 2009: Minutes of the Annual Meeting of the Council of Representatives and Minutes of the Meetings of the Board of Directors”. American Psychologist, 65, 385–475. <http://www.apa.org/about/governance/council/policy/sexual-orientation.pdf&gt; Just the Facts Coalition (2008). Just the Facts about Sexual Orientation and Youth: A Primer for Principals, Educators, and School Personnel. Washington, DC. <http://www.apa.org/pi/lgbc/publications/justthefacts.html&gt;
4  World Health Organization (1994). International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (10th Revision). Geneva, Switzerland. American Psychiatric Association (2000). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th ed., text revision). Washington, DC.
5  APA Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation (2009). Report of the Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation. Washington, DC. http://www.apa.org/pi/lgbt/resources/the…sponse.pdf
6  Taller de Comunicación Mujer (2008). Pacto Internacional de Derechos Civiles y Políticos: Informe Sombra. <http://www.tcmujer.org/pdfs/Informe%20Sombra%202009%20LBT.pdf&gt; Centro de Derechos Económicos y Sociales (2005). Tribunal por los Derechos Económicos, Sociales y Culturales de las Mujeres. <http://www.tcmujer.org/pdfs/TRIBUNAL%20DESC%20ECUADOR%20MUJERES.pdf&gt;
7  See General Comment No. 14 by the Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights with regards to the obligation to respect, protect and comply with human rights obligations on the part of States parties to the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights.
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GAY SEXUAL EDUCATION

Acquisition of basic concepts: male, female, couple and family
 
This chapter is dedicated to sex education, with particular regard to the sexual education of gay boys. All education, and therefore also sexual education, aims to convey systems of values and to distinguish between right and wrong, moral and immoral, normal and not normal, basically, the sexual education can be taken as a guide  to distinguish what is to be accepted from what is to be rejected. Here I will use the categories of normal and non-normal.
 
Before sexual education in the strict sense, there is a phase of acquisition of concepts that will be taken as fundamental postulates, as obvious and indisputable structures of society, and in this sense will be considered normal. This phase begins very early; the contents transmitted include the difference between boy and girl, the behaviors assumed as typical of the boy and of the girl, the idea of the family, like father, mother and children, and also the idea of couple. And it is precisely through the acquisition of the concept of heterosexual couple as a normal thing that the discrimination of homosexuality begins.
 
The couples that appear in the comics of Walt Disney are always heterosexual: Donald Duck and Daisy, Mickey Mouse and Minnie, Horace and Clarabelle, etc. etc. and couples are presented by insisting on different attitudes of the male and female. Daisy is flirtatious and vain, Donald Duck is confusing and clumsy. Minnie is attentive to beauty and self-care, Mickey Mouse is concerned with investigating and solving police cases, but inevitably Donald Duck is in love with Daisy and Mickey Mouse with Minnie. The child, well before being able to understand what falling in love means, assumes that it is normal and obvious that a couple is formed of a boy and a girl. These messages, subliminal and pounding at the same time, constitute a substantial educational push not to heterosexuality in itself but to consider heterosexuality normal before knowing what it is about.
 
School books and heterosexual culture
 
The transmission of messages that underline the normality of heterosexuality continues to adulthood through many ways. Whoever has a school book in his hands that speaks of literature will notice that the point of view of the book, while having all the appearance of objectivity, is in all cases the typical hetero point of view. It is enough to say that the stories of love that we are talking about are, except for very rare exceptions, heterosexual stories and in the very rare cases in which stories with homosexual background are mentioned, which in the ancient world were not very rare and therefore cannot be omitted at 100%, the way to deal with the topic is substantially different from that used to describe heterosexual stories. Examples of couples of famous lovers, such as Paolo and Francesca, Abelard and Eloisa, Lancelot and Guinevere, and down to Renzo and Lucia and up to the contemporaries, are always made up of heterosexual couples. 
 
Sexual education through films and television
 
Even on television there are basically only stories of heterosexual love or passion. The appearance of television series centered on homosexuality, like the famous Queer as folk, is something that is spoken about a lot, almost an event, because it is absolutely exceptional, and we must keep in mind that in these series, homosexuality is presented as a social phenomenon perfectly structured in itself and substantially separate from the ordinary hetero world, the normality of gay reality is not at all emphasized, just the stereotype is stressed, that is gay reality is presented not in its complexity and its ordinariness but through a particular gay reality very ritualized, that one represented by the mass media, which is objectively only a little section of gay reality but risks to be mistaken for the real gay world.
 
Basically, given the general invisibility of the most relevant part of the gay world, i.e. of undeclared gays, the images of homosexuality that can be found in the cinema, on television or in comics (where they start timidly to appear), are only those of the gay visible world, with its collective rituals and its stereotypes, they are images that are very far from the real life of the vast majority of gays and, moreover, for show needs they are presented with particular tones and with a particular underlining.
 
Gays almost never appear on TV as ordinary people who one can meet in everyday life. Except for very few exceptions,  the idea of gay presence in society as a normal component of society itself still has no place in cinema and literature. The images used by advertising are often full of sexual allusions, even very explicit and they are almost always allusions to heterosexual sexuality. The very rare images that allude to gay couples or to contents referring to homosexuality are often the cause of scandal and are remembered above all for their exceptional nature and for the controversies they have provoked.
 
Sexual education and sport
 
Also sport helps to underline the idea of heterosexuality as normality and therefore of homosexuality as deviance. Discussions on the presence or absence of gay players in the national team or in other teams are very indicative of this trend. Coaches and players are quick to point out that there are no gays in their teams, which is like saying that there are no pathological cases and that everything is normal.
 
Religion and sexual education
 
The attitudes of total closure of the Catholic Church with respect to homosexuality are well known. The Church doesn’t limit itself to reaffirming the centrality of the heterosexual couple but states a prejudicial sentence and without appeal against  homosexuality. The official documents of the Church, beyond impromptu interviews with apparently conciliatory tones, are and remain among the manifestations of the more radical intolerance towards homosexuality.
 
It could be objected that the television series, the comics, the attitudes of the Church or those of the sports world are not true forms of sexual education, it remains the fact that all or almost all the messages to which the boys, who are growing, are exposed, are messages endowed with a communicative power far superior to that of any form of classical sexual education, and contain repeated and concordant underlining of the normality of heterosexuality and therefore of the non-normality of homosexuality.
 
Parents and sexual education
 
The condemnation of homosexuality is implicit but it is and is understood as very clear. It should be added that, in all this, the attitudes and expectations of the family have enormous weight. Parents hardly worry about the possibility that the boy can be gay and behave with him by taking absolutely for granted that they are dealing with a heterosexual boy and therefore they always believe they are legitimized to project their expectations into the boy and to direct him in the direction that, in good faith, they judge the most appropriate for the boy himself.
 
Sexual education: taboo and scandal
 
Sexuality, all sexuality, is still affected by a category of religious origin, that is, the idea of taboo, of the forbidden, and therefore of the transgressive. Of sexuality one can also speak but always in general terms, by categories, never explicitly and with reference to oneself. Sexuality, in other words, is not considered a normal topic of conversation, it is something that should be omitted, at least for good education. The idea of the taboo implies that of the scandal, the idea that one can create a scandal is very significant, because scandal means publicity and also money, so newspapers, magazines and gossip blogs put the sexuality of a person on the streets when that sexuality turns out to be not normal, especially when it comes to conjugal betrayals or homosexuality.
 
Building one’s own concept of sexuality
 
Naturally, the boys, with the maturity, gradually build their own idea of sexuality and, if they are gay, specifically of homosexuality, which progressively detaches itself from the concepts learned in a subliminal way in childhood and early adolescence. In other words, with the passing of the years boys open their eyes and realize that the reality of sexuality, in general, is very different from ideal models, that the model of marriage as a natural love union of a man and a woman if it’s considered for what it really is, shows all its fragility, so much so that in Italy the majority of marriages don’t hold up over time and that, as regards homosexuality, in particular, reality is totally different from how it is represented.
 
Repressive sexual education
 
The weight of the internet in this path towards awareness is often decisive. It is much easier to talk seriously and without sexual taboos with a 35/40-year-old man than with an 18/20 year-old boy who is still deeply conditioned by behavioral patterns and interpretation patterns of external origin. There are still many young people in their twenties who don’t have a realistic idea of how others experience sexuality. I would add that there are twenty-year-old guys who are literally terrified by the idea that something of their sexuality can be leaked to their parents.
 
In some circles, even today, gay guys suffer real forms of violent repression that unfortunately leads them to make choices that over time will prove devastating for their emotional life and for their personal balance. I happen to talk to guys over 20 who have never before had any chance to talk seriously about their sexuality. Talking with these guys allows us to understand the depth of their discomfort and the need for them to be reassured in order to be able to look at the future with concrete hope.
 
To get out of certain environments and earn a true autonomy it takes a huge effort and guys are often completely abandoned to themselves and discouraged in their every attempt to emancipate themselves and to build a better perspective. Very often families or are totally incapable of realizing the difficulties of their sons or are inclined to consider as a priority the traditional way of life to maintain a reputation at least apparent in front of the people. In some circles, even today, a 20-year-old boy he cannot afford not to have a girlfriend if he doesn’t want to be substantially marginalized. The state of suffering caused by these situations is really heavy. Here not only is there no sexual education to freedom and responsibility but there is a real form of educational violence that doesn’t propose but imposes coercive behavior patterns through very heavy forms of masked blackmailing. This imposition attitude is opposed to that of complete indifference which is instead characteristic of environments that are considered more open and free.
 
Risks of obscurantism and prohibition
 
It should be emphasized that, for the boys, talking seriously about sexuality and clarifying their doubts in this matter is fundamental and the absence of any form of comparison ends up inducing them to seek answers away from the daily dimension, in environments that seem the most suitable to acquire concrete knowledge on the subject of sexuality and in particular of homosexuality. I speak primarily of the pornography, which presents models, apparently gratifying and simple, endowed with a force of persuasion well beyond that of words.
 
Obscurantist or prohibitionist attitudes regarding sexuality have effects that are exactly opposite to those envisaged. If the parents, the school, the Church and the sports environment consider sexuality to be a taboo, the boys will go in search of spaces where they can obtain information in a clear way and can even live their first experiences, through the internet, first of all through pornography and then through erotic chats and dating sites. The huge number of people who use these sites is largely due to the absence of any form of sexual education at the family or school level, as well as, obviously, to the repression of sexual spontaneity.
 
Pornography on the net
 
In the past years pornography on the Internet was presented with criteria of strong aggression and in very stereotypical forms, access to the sites was generally paid and the presence of dialers to charge the user very high telephone charges was a deterrent that helped to keep the vast majority of kids out of those environments. Today things have changed, the free porn sites, which are financed exclusively by theme advertising, are many and recently the blogs created by individual users to collect photos from the web and to republish them, are widely spreading. this is the phenomenon of re-blogging, which has a particular meaning when it comes to erotic sites (these sites are not are about explicit pornography but show content vaguely related to sexuality, such as nude photos or short movies taken by a candid camera, with some sexual implication). The re-blogging has led to the creation of sites that have nothing to do with the old heavy pornography, that was present on the Internet years ago, these sites are managed with good taste, sometimes they have no commercial purposes and it is not surprising that they have a public in progressive increase. Even these blogs with an erotic theme, however, inevitably present behavior patterns.
 
Pornography and today also the re-blogging of erotic content constitute for many gay guys the sexual model of reference, somehow a true sex education. It should be kept in mind that the boys’ approach to pornography starts very early and that the first contact usually takes place between 13 and 14 years, so at an extremely receptive age compared to content related to sexuality.
 
The use of pornography is closely connected with masturbation and is, above all for straight boys, a topic of discussion with peers. For them, talking about these things with their friends is still possible and not risky, for gay boys it is easy to realize from the speeches of other boys that the sexuality of those boys is another and it is easy to deduce the wrong conclusion that there is something wrong with gay sexuality.
 
For a straight boy the messages coming from pornography are filtered through the speeches made with friends and have a less important value than for a gay boy, who on those topics generally doesn’t have the possibility of interpersonal comparison. I would add that the first sexual relationships of heterosexual boys are generally considerably more anticipated than the first sexual relationships of gay boys and present themselves as a sort of license to adulthood, for gay boys instead, masturbation on the basis of pornography replaces sexuality lived with other guys for very long periods and ends up consolidating the models offered by pornography.
 
Sexual education delegated to Church and pornography
 
In social contexts, such as the Italian one, in which moralism dominates and in which sex is the most widespread and rooted educational taboo, there is no serious form of sexual education given through institutional and lay channels, that is, not affected by prejudices of religious origin, which means that the sexual education of boys is almost totally delegated to the Church and to pornography.
 
Although the conditioning weight of the education given by the Church is still significant in many cases, the element that really dominates the sexual education of boys in today’s Italy is certainly pornography via the Internet. Given that in fact a very delicate educational task is up to the pornography, let us ask ourselves if it is really able to perform such a task by showing the true gay sexuality as it is actually experienced, or if pornography shows something substantially different from reality, in particular, let us ask ourselves if and how gay pornography influences the true sexuality of gays, beyond the fact that it represents such a sexuality more or less correctly.
 
Hetero-gay and gay-gay models of male-male relationship
 
Let’s start from the definition of heterosexual male (hetero) as a male person who falls in love both on an emotional and sexual level with women or girls, and of homosexual male (or gay) as a person, always male, who falls in love both on the emotional and sexual level with men or guys.
 
According to the common notion, an emotional or sexual relationship “male homosexual” or, briefly, “homosexual” is a relationship “between two male persons”, but it is clear that, in fact, the situations that can occur are two and are clearly different from each other. If the relationship is created between two gays we will talk about gay-gay relationship, if it on the contrary it is created between a heterosexual and a gay we will talk about a hetero-gay relationship. It should not be surprising that hetero-gay relationships exist, because a heterosexual, who “falls in love” affectionately and sexually only with women or girls, can nevertheless, for various reasons, build also sexual relationships, generally without a true affective component, with gay guys, the phenomenon, indeed, is and overall has been quite common, as we will see in the section on gay sexuality. Historically, hetero-gay and gay-gay relationships were born in very different eras and have been structured according to very different models.
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THE CRY OF PAIN OF A YOUNG GAY

Hello boys … Since I joined the forum I attended it very little, although I stay most nights chatting. Often I just talk in chat and I feel a bit better, because here I met really fantastic people who can accept me despite my quirks (which go well beyond my homosexuality, as those who know me a little know very well). However, tonight letting off steam in the chat didn’t produce any effect because I felt bad as I haven’t felt for a long time.

Tonight the ghosts of the past have come back as violent as a hurricane, ready to drag me away another time … I don’t know if I have already spoken about it on the forum before (in the chat definitely yes), however I live in a mountain village, not far from the city (which anyway is a town of only 60 thousand inhabitants … can one call it city? …) but my village is not well connected to the territory given the reduced number of bus rides and so often it is difficult for me, being a minor, to go to the city. This causes me a very strong feeling of unease.

Here everybody knows everything about everyone … I hate being here, I feel completely out of place, I feel like those caged canaries that would fly and cannot escape. I also feel as a silent tiger, which roars but no one hears the roar. I cry my suffering but it is not understood. I compare to too many things that I’m not, actually … Here, as already mentioned, the Law of Jante, that collection of sociological maxims according to which those who are different from the community are excluded and ridiculed, is widely spread ad dominant.

I’ve never been part of my country, nor even of the neighboring city. I’ve always been a case apart, lost in the Franco-German novels and in Japanese comics, while listening to English and Icelandic music. Jante’s Law is also applied within the homosexual community. Given that there are very few gays here … that is, there are very few gay people, and the mentality is so closed that many don’t even accept themselves as gays. therefore …

I don’t exaggerate if I say that in my area don’t exist more than 20 gays, and in any case I’m the only one in my village. About those 20 in any case now has been made a malevolent word of mouth, I don’t know how or why but everyone knows me but I don’t know them, they know absurd things about me – sometimes true, sometimes not, I wonder how, from what, from whom they came to know such things.

I cannot live here anymore … relationships with the gay community don’t exist at all because of the negative reputation that someone has created about me (such things really happen only in “terronia” [= “land of terroni”. The Italians of the south use to call with contempt those of the north with the nickname “polentoni”, that is, eaters of polenta, those of the north use similarly call those of the south “terroni” i.e. workers of the land, peasants.] … this regardless of sexual orientation, if you are a little bit different you are anyway excluded and considered crazy), as for the relationships with heterosexuals … with the guys I cannot tie,

I’m afraid of being judged, ah no ops… they judge me because I’m not visibly like them … not that I’m very effeminated but I certainly don’t have the interests: pussy, motors and football the straight guys talk about here. I point out, I don’t have this opinion of all straight guys. Outside of my area, when I was lucky enough to live in France, but also in the north of Italy, I saw heterosexual guys very open (I point out it because I don’t want to look like heterophobe). Regarding the straight girls, eh, it’s a minimum positive point. With them I can tie, as long as they are not bitches or little geese [stupid persons] … as a result, I only have a close female friend (which everyone calls alternately “Satan” or “Zoccola” [bitch] and this clearly demonstrate how the south of Italy is open …) and three other female friends with whom I’m not as close but I feel at ease and I love them. Then I have a lesbian friend, but lately I attend her less. In short, all women.

I don’t even know what I’m writing and why I’m writing. Maybe to make sure that one day I’ll remember these things. I had started with the intention of describing in detail the word-of-mouth aggression perpetrated against me, but I realize only now that I cannot do it, for the simple fact that I don’t have the faintest idea about. And I have to say that I have been already the victim of another word of mouth, when in eighth grade someone called almost all the parents of my classmates to tell them that I was gay. I would like to know who did so just to say “I’m sorry for how much you are a piece of shit …”

So, I’m angry with everyone tonight. I’m angry with Calabria that doesn’t offer me opportunities, with the Calabrians who have a very narrow mind, with my mother who instead of helping me pushes deeper the knife into the wound with the acid jokes, stressing the fact that I don’t know how to defend myself, but above all I’m angry with myself because I’m not able to send everything and everyone to hell and move on by myself. I’m proud of myself only because in all this I have never seriously thought about suicide, because I firmly believe that there is a better life outside of this hell. But I see this situation depressing, to put it mildly … not committing suicide here is a demonstration that I give myself every day that elsewhere I could really be worth something …

Here people don’t have a minimum respect, I have been called “bog”, “crazy”, “Satanist”, “poof” and many other cute nicknames since I was THREE years old, they already hated me in kindergarten. Do I have a face of cocks? Maybe, but is it my fault? With people who don’t stop at the first impression I can bind so much to give them my soul … but often it seems that people next to me don’t realize it, they think I’m crazy and then I behave accordingly :/ What to say? How to conclude? I don’t know. I’m disheartened. I’m depressed. I say lies every 3×2 [usually], just because I say lies I delude myself to get away from this unsatisfactory reality. I’ve been doing it since I was 9 years old.

Sometimes I’m terrified that even if I’m going to attend university elsewhere, everything will be equally disgusting, that the world is really disgusting like Calabria (although I have tangible evidences that it is not). But my father with his fucking motto “the whole world is village” would make me want to swallow 50 pills of Valium and finish the games forever … I don’t do it because I want and I can resist … because I know I’m worth something … but believe me sometimes, for a few nanoseconds, suicide seems to me the only way out. I resist. I keep fighting and resisting. But for how long? How much do I still have to suffer before finding happiness? Does happiness exist for me?

What then my happiness is? … A goodnight text message would be enough for me or something like “my love … for me you are all” from a boy and this post would never have been written. I would need a “I would like you next to me now” if not a guy waiting for me in the room nearby ready to … kiss me, hug me, tell me that no matter how I suffered and I will suffer but he will always be there for me. Because this is my greatest cause of suffering: the fear of never finding a boyfriend. I don’t have particular passions, yes I like French, Icelandic, history and psychology. But I would never be able to make my work a reason for living, I’m rather “two hearts and a hut”, so far I’ve only had almost exclusively online relationships (live, I’ve only have had stupid, without feeling and also few relationships) yet in those online relationships I gave my all, often I canceled myself to receive a little word of affection, sometimes things went better, sometimes worse (they have always lasted little, anyway).

If I think back to those few messages that I now remember BY HEART from those guys, it’s enough for me to be less worse. I think of what they wrote to me and I repeat “Yes, Rox, you are strong … you can overcome everything!” But then I think that even if, yes, I can do it, I wonder WHAT IS THE POINT OF DOING IT… I feel lonely, terribly lonely, I don’t know people to talk to about such things. I’m here to talk to you. I talk about it on other forums – even about other subjects – on which I’m writing. And I don’t even want to end writing this post, because ending it would mean going to bed crying and listening to depressed music. I want to write here everything that passes through my mind. At the beginning I had titled this discussion “gay and in an isolated mountain area” but right now I have changed to “my cry of pain”. I cannot take it anymore. Life goes on and I look at it from behind the glass of my window. Time runs and I spend time waiting for it to continue to pass as fast as possible. I leave you with the song that most I listen to when I feel so much down … Everything passes, of the Huga Flame.

Everything goes, it’s true, but when will all this pass even for me? Reading about 13, 14 year old boys who already have a boyfriend … it makes me so angry and sad, also because they are all from Turin, Milan, Bologna, at most Rome … I’m here … I don’t know what to write. I won poetry and philosophy contests, I think I’m a sweet, shy and sensitive guy … but maybe this is not enough today to be liked, but I’m not going to change because of the others … because I love to be exactly like I’m, and this is the most important thing. I have beautiful eyes (according to others … otherwise I would not let me say) and anyway the rest of my face and my body although I’m not really a model doesn’t even disgust, yet this is what I provoke in many people, DISGUST. I suck them. And although I try to ignore it, and in fact it is waning compared to a few years ago when I didn’t reason on the basis of ME but based on the OTHERS, anyway all this hurts me.

I feel alone, fuckily, damned alone. And I would just like someone who now, right now as I’m writing, would lock my hands and bring them around himself and to my slightest protest would give me a kiss so long as to cancel everything that is around me, around him, around us. I don’t know what I expect as answers. The answers you’ll give me will probably not change my situation, but I wait for them impatiently anyway, as a child waits for Santa. MAKE IT STOP, LET THIS END … I feel a lot, too much, like in this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XP4clbHc4Xg

Oh, I add, since in the end I stayed at the computer even if it’s 5.09 a.m. and I hear the birds chirp (but what does it matter to me, if the birds are chirping?), now more than resigned I’m pissed off. I always alternate those two states of mind … a little I’m pissed off a bit I’m resigned. What a sadness! Right now I was thinking about the fact that so far, although I have had some (very few) relationships (mostly online) it’s been me the one who did EVERYTHING. The others stayed passively with me (not in the sexual sense, but in the sense that they didn’t consider it too much important if they were with me or not), except for a boy. I feel so different, different from anyone. It doesn’t matter if gay or straight, If male or female, I feel different, almost on another planet. And this sensation it’s not very cool, it’s really distressing … sorry for the strange expression. Feeling so different … feeling that I can never really like someone … makes me want to disappear …

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REFLECTIONS OF A GAY OVER 30

Have you ever felt tired of everything? of having the impression that you will never have any real contact with the world outside of you? of realizing that you no longer have even dreams, not even desires because the youth is gone and now you are over 30 for a while and that on the horizon there is only so much desert?

I feel the enormous difference between what my body would like and my real possibilities. I’m alone and I am aware that I will remain alone. I spent my life studying, then working and I think it will continue like this until I’m old, in practice I have not experienced any serious history, or maybe one, but then that is over, it was a flash of light in my life and I had deluded myself, or rather I had done everything to delude myself, but I knew that it couldn’t last, now I miss it but I know it is only a memory, the memory of a short period that is now over.

I always have on skype the contact of that guy, but he never enters, it is very rare that he is online, when it happens I send him a hello and he replies with a smiley face, but maybe it happens once in a month. I do a job that I don’t like and that keeps me constantly anxious, at least I’d like to have friends but I have to dedicate the time left to me to my family who have big problems both economic and of people to be assisted.

For me there are only the intervals that I pass at the PC, much time ago I used to chat, I had a blog, I wrote, now there is nothing more of all this, the blog is still there but I no more write, I don’t a chat for a very long time, I’m not talking about erotic chats but chats just to chat. I use the PC to read above all, to read scientific articles. No social network by choice, I don’t want people to stick my nose into my business. I didn’t even want to have sex, it happened before, now everything is pretty much anesthetized.

Sometimes I go to bed very tired and I don’t sleep anyway, I begin to think how it would be nice to live a love story, have a guy who loves me, who really cares about me, maybe I would be able to give that guy my soul, but I say maybe because I’m not so convinced, I think I would disappoint him in the end, I would not be able to really love him, but I pause to fantasize about how nice it would be to hug my boyfriend and see him smile, to understand that he’s there for me, that he cares about me, that I’m important to him.

Then I think I would have a thousand doubts, that I would begin to make comparisons between that guy and my dreams and I would end up destroying everything. I am alone! This is a fact, I don’t know why but I never had friends, a bit because having straight friends, for one that is not declared, it means playing a role, I have not even found one that I could really trust.

Up to 24/25 years I had a few friends, with one we often met, but then I realized I was only the second choice for him, when he couldn’t go out with the girl or other friends then he called me. In the end I didn’t hear him anymore and I didn’t even try to call him.

Where I work, there are some nice guys, but I see them too much distant, they have their dreams and they have the chance to make them come true, but I don’t envy them, I simply say that they belong to another species and live in another continent different from mine.

Sometimes, when I start thinking, I feel confused, I doubt everything, I don’t believe in anything, I let time flow in my hands because what happens, objectively, doesn’t depend on me. I look at things from the outside and, for example at work, I act like a machine without emotions, like a robot programmed to do certain things without asking any questions, like a robot that I turn on at the beginning of the working time and I turn off at the end.

I’m alone in my family but partly, because they don’t know I’m gay. With my parents there is a deep sharing of the troubles we have to face, sometimes I think that with them I could also say I’m gay, but it would be like adding another reason for anguish to those who already exist and who are many and heavy, so I keep everything for myself. I cannot add another cross on the backs of my father and my mother just because I want to have someone who knows about me, it doesn’t make any sense. I love my parents and they love me and I do not want to anguish them in any way because they have already too many problems.

I’m gay . . . mh. . . but I think that this is now over in the background, what I would like more than anything else is to rest, just sleep for many hours all in a row, I wish I could avoid to think of many things that occupy my brain, I would like a break free from worries, a few days to get away from the daily life and maybe go a day by the sea, even alone, towns on the sea are beautiful this season, the sea is so beautiful, as the oil, in the early morning with the sun rising on the horizon and slowly warming you up. How I would like to share these things and I would like to share them with that guy with whom I may have lived my only love story, how happy I would be if such a thing could happen, but life is a terrible mechanism and we are carried by forces greater than us, each one towards his destiny, forces that in some periods bring us closer and then move us away permanently.

Being gay what has it to do with all this? There is the shadow of a desire and then there is a great melancholy. Yet I’m not depressed, I know that I have many things to do, not to crown my dreams but to help my family survive and it’s precisely this that gives me the urge to move forward. When you’re a guy you learn to dream as a gay, when you grow up you have to understand that it’s just a dream. I hug you. Believe me, I’m not sad.

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OK I’M GAY BUT I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO

Hello Project, I wanted to thank you for last night, you have infinite patience and above all you have the ability to make me feel less agitated. One like me, who at 25, after so many back and forth, comes to the conclusion that being with a girl is not for him, he feels quite destabilized: what to do with the girl? What to do with parents? And then, gay, ok, but this at the moment only means that I have fantasies about guys, but then how should I move? I don’t know anything about it and you can understand that I’m so scared that sometimes I get the very strong temptation to say: well, I’m gay, but it’s just a fantasy and it will never change, there will never be anything concrete, then I might as well go on acting the role of straight guy, I did it for so many years! 
 
In the end being gay is too complicated, I’m not used to all the things I read in the forum, prudence, acting, let’s say that until now I did but unconsciously, basically up to a few months ago, I had a half idea of being really straight, but now I should just act consciously and then what do I do?
 
Admitted and not granted that I find a guy, I take him home and I say to my parents: “He is my boyfriend!”? I believe they would call psychiatric service because they do not expect it at all such a thing. And then, even assuming that I can solve calmly with the girl (obviously inventing false motivations, what gives me tremendous annoyance, because she has always been very transparent to me), what does it mean to find a boyfriend? Finding a girl I know what it means, or better, I know what it means being found by a girl, and the complications are not too many, but looking for a guy must be something different.
 
What do I say to a guy? “How beautiful you are! I would like to eat you with kisses!” But how do you woo a guy? I just cannot imagine it. In short, all these things we talked about last night at the time reassured me, when we said goodbye I felt euphoric, then this morning I said to myself: I spoke with Project, it’s true, but for me, in concrete, what has changed ? Just nothing! I talk to Project but in the end It’s I who have to deal with my problems and here’s the problem, because I’m really afraid of not even knowing where one has to start from. The guys who felt gay from the beginning, have slowly learned these things, but me? I read the forum to try to understand what it actually means to be gay and the result is that it seems a lot harder than I thought before. I’m still scared, I think we’ll hear each other soon.
 
You did a very important thing, you took away from my mind a bit of crazy ideas that seemed to me absolutely obvious, you know, a greenhorn doesn’t even know the a b c, for example about the coming out, I filled my brain with this idea, even if I couldn’t really understand how to do something like that, but I liked the idea and I felt less than others because I unconsciously knew it was not for me. Now at least I feel less inept and more gay, so to speak, normal, after what you told me. Then the problems of prevention! Damn, Project, I was just about to throw in the towel. With my girlfriend practically at most a bit of petting, so zero risk, but with a guy I hoped to do a bit of sex. Well at certain times last night I said to myself: Project exaggerates! Maybe he does so for good, but for him this story of prevention is just a fixed idea. But then to think that maybe for a little sex one can really get into big trouble shows things in another way and I had never thought about it!
 
Anyway, let’s say I think I would not have put myself at risk, but now I’m sure I’ll be even more careful.
 
Another point, I need to understand how other boys live their homosexuality (what a horrible word!) Because I’ve never fallen in love with a guy and I think that my basic doubts are all coming from there. Sexual fantasies yes and many, but in love with a guy never! And how is it that if I’m really gay and I’ve never fallen in love with a guy? It seems to me that I could have a relationship of pampering with a girl but with a guy, I don’t know how it could be. Maybe it’s all about roles, maybe it’s something that is much simpler than I think, but at the moment I don’t really see myself cuddling another guy.
 
I often thought that I could do all my fantasies, I mean sexual fantasies, about a guy, but if I really knew him then I would be unable to live in reality that sexuality, maybe that guy would be a friend, even the best friend, as it happened sometimes, but you know how it is when you are friends the relationship becomes almost familiar and sexuality has nothing to do with such things, at least I think so, I have never fallen in love with my friends, indeed I have never fallen in love with anyone.
 
And then there is a guy sweet like a girl? Maybe if such a guy existed I could also fall in love with him, but I see certain guys that make just fall my arms, no sweetness at all, just superficiality and pure stupid brutality. In short, well, a gay doesn’t fall in love with all the guys but with only one, but the thing has just a statistical meaning, there are those who have had 10 guys and those (like me) who have not had and will not have not even one.
 
And if I stay alone (what is very likely because in terms of courage I’m a rabbit), gay and lonely! What a nice mixture! Wouldn’t it be better (fake) straight guy and alone! I could always say that I didn’t find the right woman, which is at least one thing that can be said. I am afraid, Project, to have put me on a path that will only bring me trouble. If I find a guy who loves me, ok, then it makes sense, but it’s something that seems very unlikely. The last doubt that came to me last night: are there many guys in my condition? And generally how does it end? Thanks for the patience, Project, I’ll contact you Friday night.
 
Italian Hamlet
p. s. If you think this email may make sense even for other people, post it in your blog.
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GAY GUYS WHO UNDERSTAND AND REASON WITHOUT PANIC

Panic and rationality

When a boy, who comes to the awareness of being gay, lives in homophobic environments or has been accustomed to seeing homosexuality as a disease, as a perversion or as a sin , that boy will be led to consider homosexuality as a catastrophe looming over him, able to crush him and negatively affect his whole life. In such situations it is not uncommon for the discomfort to be so deep as to cause him to think even of suicide as the only way out.

For a boy who recognizes himself as gay and lives in a homophobic environment, it is essential to keep in mind that the assessments must be given in cold blood, without being panicked and based on a realistic knowledge of what could derive from the decision. One can also be terrified by the idea of being attacked by the ghosts but objectively the ghosts don’t exist.

Objective data

First of all, a gay boy must try to know the reality of the gay world, I mean the real gay world and not that of jokes or urban legends, because it is from the confusion between urban legends and objective reality that comes most of the fears about homosexuality. There is therefore a need to always keep in mind some basic elements about homosexuality on which I will now focus.

First of all we try to understand how many homosexuals are limiting ourselves to Italy. Given that the homosexuals publicly declared are an estimated fraction of about 4% of the total, making a data collection that also involves the large mass of not openly gay guys, it’s virtually impossible. Completely anonymous tests have been made (and therefore potentially truthful, on even large samples of the population) on the basis of two distinct criteria, one consists in considering homosexuals those who have or have had homosexual relationships and the other consists in considering homosexual those who consider themselves to be such, regardless of whether they have or have had a gay couple sexuality.

The two surveys, conducted with the two different criteria, give results according to which those who feel homosexual, between 25 and 26 years, are about twice those who have or have had a homosexual relationship. According to Gay Project statistics, at the average age of 25.81, 45.02% of those who consider themselves gay have never had sexual relations either hetero or gay. From the same survey we come to know that in the same sample masturbation takes place with gay fantasies in over 99% of cases. This fact confirms that the fantasies that accompany masturbation are the fundamental index of sexual orientation.

The most reliable estimates of the percentage of those who consider themselves gay are around 8% of the general population. It is objectively a minority but certainly not a small minority. The findings give similar results both between men and women. Homosexuality is therefore a reality that involves men and women more or less in the same percentage.

Saying that homosexuals are about 8% of the general population is not immediately significant, so it is worthwhile to present the same data through examples immediately understandable: in a class of 25 students, on average, there are two homosexual guys, in one school with a thousand students there are, on average, 80 homosexual students, in Italy (about 61 million inhabitants) there are about 4,800,000 homosexuals, counting both men and women, roughly the population of the whole Veneto, this number also includes children who statistically will recognize themselves as homosexuals during their lifetime. It is understood that, being however a minority, gays are still very many.

Compared with the overall percentage estimated at about 4% of publicly declared gays on the total of the entire gay population, it is observed that the sample examined by Gay Project, of average age 25.81 years, has a percentage of publicly declared gays equal to 13.74 %. Although the sample is not statistically significant, the indicated value is certainly higher than that of the general gay population, the fact remains that the younger generations have a greater propensity to declare themselves publicly. In all age groups, the percentage of gays that are not publicly declared remains, however, very higher than that of the declared ones. According to common experience, even if there are, on average, 80 gay boys out of a thousand students, it is practically impossible to detect even just one because homophobia exists and avoiding a coming out in public is considered as the only possible defense.

Summarizing what has been said up to now we can conclude that gays, even if not recognizable, because environmental homophobia pushes them not to declare themselves, are everywhere around us and these guys, even if they are not publicly declared, are still looking for a dialogue and contact with other gay boys, because the first problem of gay boys is to feel alone.

Gays and myth of the charming prince

Before proceeding, it is good to dwell a bit on another kind of preconceptions, or rather, of fables related to the realization of the self. Gay boys, like all boys, grow up with myths induced by the cultural climate around them, one of these is the myth of the charming prince. It is a myth that was created for the girls, to induce them not to lose hope but to hope for the arrival, sooner or later, of the classic charming prince capable of transforming Cinderella into a queen. In reality this myth pushes us not to act, waiting for someone to radically change our condition. A myth of this kind, with the necessary differences, can be easily transposed into a gay key, and among gays causes similar damages to those it causes in the hetero field, prompting guys to dreaming, instead of reasoning, and to expecting miraculous solutions coming from outside for their problems and their difficulties, instead of getting seriously busy engaging in the first person.

Autonomy and economic independence

For a gay boy, rather than for a straight boy, it is essential to gain his own autonomy because, in general, a gay boy cannot rely too much on the support that could come from his family or from the social context. Autonomy is not a myth analogous to that of the charming prince, but it is a concrete and essential reality. True autonomy exists only when there is a real economic independence, which is certainly not easy to achieve. Autonomy intended as independence and therefore as substantial freedom of choice, must be the basic objective of a gay boy.

Those who cannot take too much account of the help of others can react either with passivity and fatalism, letting themselves go to accept any imposition and any adaptation, or instead can look ahead with constructive attitude, planning their future step by step and orienting it before everything to the conquest of a full personal autonomy, that is, essentially, of the economic autonomy. There are only two concrete tools for achieving true autonomy: study and work.

Studying, for a gay boy, has at least two functions, the first is also common to straight boys and consists of broadening their general culture and dominating the ordinary tools of critical analysis and communication and the other, specifically gay, consists in the discovery of the weight of homosexuality in culture, from Plato to Garcia Lorca, from Michelangelo to Pasolini, from Marsilio Ficino to Luchino Visconti. To realize the weight and the sense that the homosexual culture has had and has in history, despite the repressions and the discriminations, means to find again one’s own roots and to recognize himself in a tradition of high culture and great dignity.

Obviously the study also has an instrumental function and allows access to more qualified and paid jobs that can guarantee greater independence. It should never be forgotten that the search for couple life can in no case replace the construction of the self through substantial independence, that is, through economic independence. A guy has to stay in a couple because he feels at ease with his partner. When living in couple is instrumental to other aims, the couple relationship is based on very fragile bases. We are comfortable in a couple relationship when we are there by choose and not by necessity.

Equilibrium between affectivity and practical life

It often happens that gay boys come to realize through study and then through their professional activity, all this is highly positive but in some cases hides the a priori renunciation of affective life. Being gay and trying to achieve first of all one’s own independence does not mean having to give up emotional life, but that emotional life cannot and must not be identified with the totality of life, because well-being, which also has a very strong emotional component, it can in fact be impossible when its minimum requirements are lacking, which in an adult life are inevitably of an economic nature. Just as it makes no sense to focus exclusively on the pursuit of economic autonomy by putting affectivity aside, so it makes no sense to be overwhelmed by affectivity neglecting the material assumptions of individual well-being.

That a young boy can be overwhelmed by affectivity and sexuality is still understandable, even if often inappropriate, but an adult must keep his feet on the ground and must give the study and work an adequate space to allow the effective achievement and possibly in normal times, if not shortened, of the independence. A form of discouragement often arises here, the study appears very difficult, very long, you don’t feel adequately prepared and the temptation to throw in the towel makes its way easily. It is at this point that the will must take over. The results derive essentially from work and personal commitment and, from whatever level you start, it is always possible to go ahead and improve your condition. It’s not the so-called genes who go on, but the people who want to commit themselves and who work hard to overcome difficulties.

Discouragement and commitment

Too often we are led to underestimate ourselves to avoid a serious commitment and in this way we tend to confuse the “I cannot” with the “I don’t want”. Here is the farmer’s metaphor: if in a field there is a farmer who works and in the near field there is one that doesn’t do anything, it is true that the one who works may also lose the harvest due to adverse weather conditions, but the fact remains that almost always the working farmer will have his crop for the winter and the other will be reduced to starvation.

Building, in any case, takes time and effort, which is why shorthand propagandists and sellers of easy solutions are almost always smoke vendors who point to roads that lead nowhere. What is served on a silver plate often hides pitfalls. I refer to dating sites and erotic chats. If it is true that it is possible to find friends and even a partner in these sites, it remains nevertheless the fact that the purpose of these sites is different and that most people don’t visit them to find friendship or love but to look for disengaged sex.

Gay loneliness and gay friendships

The basic problem of a gay boy, the problem of loneliness, has two distinct solutions: the first is to find a boy, the second is to find gay friends. It must be stressed immediately that none of these two things, alone, can lead to individual well-being. While it seems obvious that having gay friends without having a boyfriend should be considered unsatisfactory, it doesn’t seem that having a boyfriend without having gay friends is in itself preclusive of individual well-being, because it is assumed that the boyfriend is simultaneously the lover, the beloved, the friend, the confidant, etc. etc..

Experience shows that, paradoxically, gay friendships contribute to individual well-being even more than having a boyfriend because friendships stabilize the emotional live while love affairs, especially at the beginning, destabilize or can destabilize it very strongly. The emotional dimension must necessarily find support on the two tracks of the bond of couple and friendship and while without a bond of couple you can certainly be well for long periods (and at the limit even for life), without friends you are definitely alone.

Friendship exorcises loneliness and at the same time takes away the fear of homosexuality because it allows a personal and not superficial knowledge of other gay boys, stimulates the comparison and shows us how our friends are setting up or have set up the problems that we are going to face. In friendship, analogously to what happens in love, the difference between the true friend and the one who is not is not evidenced by the apparent initial consistency of the relationship but by its articulation over time and by its ability to resist the moments of crisis and to the misunderstandings that inevitably occur in any relationship.

Gay and possible happiness

When one considers the fact of being gay as a calamity, one doesn’t realize a basic truth whose denial is the basis of every form of fear of being gay, that is, one doesn’t realize that for a gay man today it is really possible to be happy, it is possible to have serious gay friends and it is not difficult either; it is a little more difficult to find a partner with whom to build a relationship that will last, but this is also difficult for hetero people for whom it is not at all obvious that marriage represents the incarnation of the myth of the ideal family.

Even gays must guard against the false myths in the name of which people and real situations are often devalued. Love and friendship are not fables but exercises of reality, that is true gyms in which day after day one learns to love through trials and errors. To truly love means to love a real person and not a theoretical model, but truly love is possible and it is a reality that changes life from within because it involves the profound experience of being in two.

Correcting one’s mistakes

I will dedicate the last part of this chapter to a fundamental question that has often involved gay boys over the years, I intend to refer to the ability to recognize and correct one’s mistakes. Gays, like all the people of this world, are subject to various kinds of temptations. There are young people who can make affective choices subordinate to issues of social role, opportunism or economic utility, others can undermine established relationships for years for an overnight adventure, others may end up adapting to social demands to the point of sacrificing their own sexuality. All these behaviors must be understood “in situation”, that is, from the specific point of view of those who put them into practice and in relation to all previous experience. These are often wrong choices, induced in large part by external factors, which can also cause very heavy consequences.

Let’s start from a premise: one can be wrong, the weaknesses are many. The attraction for money, for the social role or for sex exists and is strong. It should be emphasized that the quality of a person is not found in his never failing, what would not be human, but in the ability to correct their mistakes and make choices. Often, however, to the objectively and subjectively wrong choices, for which one feels also a feeling of moral discomfort, is added the idea that now one cannot go back and that a single failure is enough to undermine a person in a definitive way.

Let us ask ourselves: why is a “word” program better than the classic pen and paper to write a letter? The answer is only one: because using the computer one can easily correct errors and improve the text progressively. Programmers are well aware that mistakes are inevitably made when writing a program of some complexity, and the search and correction of these errors is a fundamental phase of the work that leads to the creation and optimization of a program. This also happens in individual life: mistakes are inevitably made, but it is essential that when, to remain in the computer metaphor, the program doesn’t run, one avoids the temptation to reset everything and destroy what has been built up to that point instead of commit oneself to correct mistakes and adjust the shot.

Reversible habits and choices

Some points must always be kept in mind: first of all the choices, all the choices, even the wrong ones, are reversible and are reversible at any time; secondly: the reversibility of choices is much easier if the correction is rapid because, with the passage of time habits are consolidated and one gets used to the very comfortable idea of irreversibility and therefore of moral irresponsibility. I stop on a metaphor: one doesn’t become obese for having eaten one more pastry, but when the habit of transgression of the rules of the diet is rooted, it becomes particularly difficult to return to the observance of the correct eating rules.

The metaphor also helps from another point of view: eating one more cake can be pleasant and the temptation is great but continuing without rules to eat pastries not only doesn’t lead to individual satisfaction but leads to being sick and to be convinced of being naturally intended to obesity, which in the vast majority of cases is not true. The choices, all the choices, must be made with an eye to the future, trying to foresee responsibly the long-term consequences of what is being done. This discourse is primarily valid for the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, but it also applies to couple fidelity and to the tendency to follow social rules at the expense of one’s deep affectivity.

Usefulness of moral discomfort

The situation of moral hardship felt by the one who makes wrong choices shouldn’t be buried and judged a residual form of useless moralism, but must be seen as an alarm bell and as a signal to reflect on to go back before making even bigger mistakes.

The moral discomfort that one feels in front of wrong choices, which in any case are made in life, is precisely the basis of the self-regulating mechanism that allows us to correct errors. Expressions such as: “I cannot do anything about it”, “it’s my nature”, “it’s stronger than me” are the typical expressions that accompany acquiescence to moral surrender, that is, abdication to individual ability to choose. A classic example is related to disengagement in the study that is framed in the light of an inevitability “by nature”, but the same can be said for the tendency to transgression in the couple life or for the passive adaptation to social rules that are not shared.

The word “destiny” should be deleted from the dictionary because it is a convenient excuse for any form of disengagement and of perseverance in situations that are considered wrong. The moral lies in not abdicating one’s ability to make choices and therefore in the ability to go back and change one’s condition through individual commitment.

I would like to point out that, among gays, it is not uncommon to find forms of moral relaxation which, I emphasize, don’t consist of specific wrong behaviors in themselves, but precisely in abdication to one’s capacity for choice and commitment in the name of the presumed unavoidability of a destiny or of a “wrong” individual nature. Morality lies in the ability to react and not to lose one’s ability to choose. Below are two emails illustrating the situation, I have been authorized to publish them from those who sent them to me.

1/4/2012 Dear Project,
I am 27 years old, [- omissis-] Let’s come to the reason that pushed me to write you: I spent a year with a girl because I couldn’t stand the subtle pressure of my parents and also because if I had not done so, my friends sooner or later would have come to understand how things really were.

She is a very good girl and with her I don’t feel too much uncomfortable, at the limit, I think there is also some sexual involvement, but when I see some guys and I imagine how it would be to stay with them, my blood starts to boil, it’s absolutely another dimension, but with those guys I will never be able to stay and then I might as well try to stay with this girl, who is even in love with me.

I’m glad when she looks for me and I’m glad to see her, but it’s not really what I want and I’m sure of that. In practice, when I find myself embracing her, I come to think of how beautiful it would be if in his place there was one of those guys who really attract me. I have the distinct feeling of cheating this girl, the courage to speak clearly with her I don’t have it because I fear that I would end up to disgrace myself in front of the whole country, maybe it would not happen, but just thinking such a thing it gives me the push to keep going on like this but I don’t hide that sometimes I feel uncomfortable because I know I’m just using her.

When we meet, which happens in practice every day, I see her happy to see me and I feel uncomfortable, but what can I do? In practice, I have no chance of choice and so I must go on like that. In the end I think it could also work, or at least I hope so. And then I cannot make radical decisions, it’s just against my nature, I don’t have the strength to make definitive choices, and that’s why I let others do it for me. I cannot do anything, it is stronger than me. I was not born a lion, I’m a sheep and I must follow the flock, I would never be able to go alone against everything and everyone.

11/4/2012 Dear Project,
(- omissis -) I managed to take the first step and I had thought I would never have succeeded. It was very difficult but I managed to talk to my now ex-girlfriend. The reaction has been initially freezing, she did not expect it at all, basically she hadn’t understood anything, and there I felt really bad, then she called me in the early afternoon and asked me to meet because she wanted to give me back the gifts I had made her. I didn’t like it, but I couldn’t do anything about, so I put together the presents she had given me and we met in the afternoon, but she told me that she wanted to keep the ring engraved on the inside with my name. So I gave a spontaneous smile and she started crying, she told me that she loved me but she had understood that my life would have been different and that she would not forget me. We shook hands for a few seconds.

I tried to explain things from my point of view but she said that there was no need and we said goodbye with a hug that I didn’t expect. Actually, I think that I will not forget at all this girl. The next day I expected her to call me but she didn’t and I was uncomfortable, the following Saturday we met with friends and it was a nice thing, with me she was sincere and affectionately, with friends she was as if nothing had changed, except for a somewhat more detached attitude, but probably only the two of us noticed it.

In short, I feel much better, more free and above all the fact that she has understood how things were, makes me feel good. The relationship that somehow exists still now is authentic and I think it will not be lost. This was probably the hardest step but there are still many left. I will look for work away from here. I know it’s not easy to find it but I have to commit myself to the maximum. If I’ll remain here I’ll never find the chance to be myself. I began to send curricula throughout Italy and even abroad, now I hope that some concrete proposal will come to me but, if it happens, the separation from my family and my friends would certainly be very hard. I want to try to take back my destiny, to make my choices and to build my life as I think I would like it. We hope well, Project! [- omissis -].

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GAY GUYS BETWEEN REJECTION AND DIALOGUE

Hi guys, my name is M., I’m a boy 16 and a half years old, I’ve always been very closed, with my parents I have practically no dialog, from last July 11th 2008, a day I will never forget, I practically hate them because my father caught me doing a wank in front of my computer while I was watching a gay site and he did something I will never forgive him for, before I had the chance to rearrange myself, he slapped me in the face and he left, and then he went to report everything to my mother, shouting like an obsessive man so as to be heard from all the neighbors. The windows were wide open because it was afternoon and it was hot but he was screaming: “My son is a fagot!” I hated him as I have never hated anyone and I was really upset, I thought I’d leave home, smash the windows of his car, spit in his face, because he is an asshole and he enjoys humiliating me!

My parents have always considered me piece of shit and now they think I’m an unrecoverable one who will not do anything in life but to get it in the backside and my father tells me such things in the face, according to them I will never do a normal life but it’s not true at school I’m quite good, not very good, but I can handle it even if I do the bare minimum and then I don’t care about school. I have very few friends, if I can even call them friends, because I prefer when I don’t see them.

I’m gay, it’s one of the few things I’m sure of, I do and always did all my fantasies and even all my wanks thinking only of boys, but I have a fucking fear of sex, I would never go to a community, I don’t know but I think that certain things would make me really sick. I have a fucking fear that someone can rape me, that can force me to do things I don’t want. For my age I’m quite developed and I shouldn’t be afraid of suffering things that I don’t want because I’m strong and I can defend myself, but I still have this fear.

Till July 11th, I thought I was gay but I thought it was a relative thing, not that it was a passing thing, but that it was not important for me, that I only needed it to wank, but from July 11th on I said to myself: “Fuck, I’m gay, it’s not just any thing, I’m gay!” And I told myself I had to overcome my fears, I was afraid of going to the community, even though I would do it in spite of my father.

Then I discovered the blog of Project, and then, from there, the forum. Reading gave me a feeling of a bit of fear but also a bit of strong curiosity. I didn’t have the courage to register on the forum, so I wrote to Project and I sent him my contact, through the blog. After I did it I felt very strange, I didn’t know what to think, I thought he would have answered me immediately, I have been waiting until two in the morning but he didn’t answer. I was nervous and disappointed, I said to myself: “This Project is an asshole like everyone else!”. Then I collapsed and I fell asleep.

Saturday morning I opened the computer at nine o’clock and Project had added me and was online. I didn’t know what to do, I felt in total embarrassment, then I called him. The first few minutes I didn’t know what to say, I was wrong to write, I just said stupid things and I wanted to close everything, I thought: “What am I doing here?” Then the thing changed and it was a strange thing, I told him the story of the slap that still burned me and not only on a psychological level, then I started talking about sex, masturbation, fantasies that pass through my head. That is, we talked about it freely, like normal things. I never experienced something like that.

Then I asked him so many things about sex that I didn’t know and he started to explain everything to me but just trying to make me understand things but without haste. And then, for a wank my father gave me a slap and started screaming, it’s okay that it was a gay wank but he reacted like that, with Project we talked a lot but just in another way. Then we also chatted in the following days. I like it so much when Project gives me the sermons on the meaning of life and tells me that I’m not at all a disgusting person, despite what my parents think and then it is not a preaching, he believes it and a little bit I believe it too. Anyway, that’s all I wanted to say. Damn, it’s short! But I send it the same.

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