I’m writing to you because I cannot do it anymore, I don’t know where to bang my head. I’m thirty, I’m gay and I’m married for two years, I have a son not yet a year old. I feel literally split in two, on one side there is my wife with my son, on the other my sexuality.
When I was married I was 28 and I was with the same girl for ten years. Everything started almost as a game because all my friends had a girl and I with my friends was fine. Was I gay even then? I think so, my friends were drooling over their girls, I was fine with mine, but already I felt that having a girl at social level, for me was the maximum I could aspire; for my friends to have a girlfriend meant having sex with that girl. For them, doing such things was obvious and obviously very engaging, for me it was kind of a hypothesis that I tried to keep away as much as possible, even though I used to see my girlfriend almost every day with the blessing of my parents who were trying to leave us all the possible freedom, that is, they tended to leave us alone as much as possible, what I was trying to avoid systematically, because when it happened to be alone, a kind of sexual game, that she liked very much, started, but for me it was quite embarrassing.
Playing with a girl, including a certain level of physical contact was after all good and when we kissed the erection arrived. When she was touching me from above my trousers (always from above, with one exception) I felt a strange feeling of the type. “But what am I to do here?” I was wondering why I was not involved as my friends were in similar situations, although I knew it very well. The only time we masturbated each other my feeling was of total passivity, the brain was elsewhere and had already removed everything.
She was obviously inexperienced and then she was a girl and to me it was not good at all and then finding me masturbating a girl provoked me some moment of real rejection. It was a world I did not know at all and that I did not care at all. After that I had to make it clear to my girlfriend that it did not feel right to me to live sexuality that way, in practice I was flaunting false religious sentiments to prevent such experiences from repeating and it worked because she was not really excited by sexuality, at least as far as she could put it into practice with me.
Anyway, she was somehow perplexed at the beginning, that is, she was uncertain, then she realized that if she insisted she would lose me completely and she preferred to avoid systematically the subject, even because she was interested in marriage even then, as if marriage could be imagined without a real sexual interest, at least at the beginning. At that time I was 22 and she 21. We went on for six years between holidays together, without sex, of course, and lunch at my own home one Sunday yes and one no.
Then we had to think about the study and a reason to postpone the important decisions was there, then I graduated and she shortly thereafter.
There is something that I’m ashamed of a bit. I could have looked for work on my own but my father-in-law offered me to work with him and since everything seemed so obvious and the offer was good I accepted almost immediately. My father-in-law created a very collaborative relationship, almost a complicity, but my father-in-law took absolutely for granted that I would marry his daughter in a very short time. I was trapped now and I knew I could not escape so we fixed the date and married.
It all seemed wonderful but between me and my wife there was a fundamental issue never faced, not so much about having sex with her because at the limit, thinking of something else, I could have a sexual intercourse with her, the real problem was that I had a parallel life: no occasional lovers or sexual intercourses, but I was masturbating with gay pornography and I was doing it since I was 15 years old. I never put my wife’s health at risk, I would never have done such a thing and, honestly, it was a hypothesis out of reality.
I knew very well that I did not want to be with a woman, that for me was absolutely unnatural, but in my background there was the idea that “with a bit of will I could set aside the stupid vice of masturbation and so homosexuality would disappear. I started to try everything to get away from homosexual desires, I forced myself not to go to gay sites or rather not to go to porn sites of any kind, because in fact you can see men also in the straight pornography, I tried to drive those which I called “bad thoughts” but there was nothing to do, after a short period of time I was again masturbating with gay videos.
I had, if I can say so, a little bit of tranquility about the last times of my waiting for my son and the first six months after his birth. Frankly I thought I had found peace again. My wife did not attract me sexually but she was busy with the baby now and the problem did not even arise. Grandparents were radiant, we were receiving gifts for the baby and for us, my wife was in the seventh heaven but I slowly began to feel guilty in an ever deeper way: “I have a beautiful family and masturbate thinking about guys, but I am an adult, I am a father, I should think of the happiness of my family but instead of thinking of them I go looking for gay sites and I do it at night, in secret, when they are asleep, I’m just a shabby depraved!”
I considered as irreconcilable things my love for my son and, all in all, also for my wife, who is completely unaware of what I’m going through, and homosexuality, as if they were really incompatible things. I said to myself, “If you do those things you cannot love your son!” And even though I was looking for gay sites all night long, I loved my son tenderly.
Then I started wondering why homosexuality should be destructive of my real family feelings and I came to a conclusion, namely that I would never have wasted my marriage for “a gay adventure”, at that time I used that expression but as long as I was limited to some porn videos, in fact, I would not have destroyed anything, and so, we can say with more awareness, I decided to be able to afford gay pornography even if with limited time and of course in very private form.
Talking with my married friends I learned that they also used pornography, obviously straight, and that, from time to time, they betrayed their wives if they had the opportunity, and so I began to feel less the black sheep.
This is where I am now. I do not think I would ever betray my wife with a man, I do not know, maybe the opportunity has not happened yet and if it will happen I will do in a very different way but honestly I think I would stay in my place, But why should I deprive myself of that little sex that I really feel belongs to me? For the sake of my son? But what do you mean? I do not put anything into crisis and then why should I make a clear speech to my wife about these things? I know that in theory between wife and husband there must be no secrets, but she is happy now, so I just do not see why I should turn her life into crisis because of things she could never understand.
I’m gay but she does not suspect anything like that, so what do I do wrong going on like this? If things will change, I will think about, but now speaking clearly would mean destroying everything for a matter of principle that, in certain cases, can make sense, but in this case it’s completely misleading.
I’m anxious for your answer.
If you like, you can participate in the discussion of this post, on Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/showthread.php?tid=138
I am deeply grateful to the reader of Parma who wanted to transcribe for Gay Project, authorizing the publication, some letters found in an attic of a farm he owned in the province of Parma. It is a touching document, a homosexual love story at the time of the great war and the od Spanish flu of 1918-1919. Text notes, that I added in order to make reading immediately understandable, are in square brackets. Homosexuality comes out of these letters as a value. There is also an absolutely exceptional figure in the panorama of the era, a heterosexual lawyer of Brescia, former captain of the army at war, who regards homosexuality as an absolutely natural thing and helps two gay guys, one of whom had been at the front with him, to realize their dream.
To make the non-Italian reader able to understand the climate in which events took place, I remember that the Kingdom of Italy completed its territorial unification only in 1870, with the annexation of Rome. Before 1866 Venice belonged to the Austro-Hungarian Empire and in 1866 it was annexed to Italy, which since 1861 had organized into a Kingdom around the King of Sardinia Vittorio Emanuele II. The city of Trieste remained an Italian language enclave in the Habsburg Empire until 1918, when was annexed to Italy after the end of World War I.
In October 1917, the Kingdom of Italy suffered the heavy defeat at Caporetto by the Austro-Hungarian army. The Austrians invaded Veneto to the River Piave. The commander in chief of the army, General Luigi Cadorna, was replaced by General Armando Diaz, who managed to stop the Austrians on Piave.
Vittorio Veneto is a city which assumed the name of Vittorio in 1866 in honor of the first King of Italy Vittorio Emanuele II. From Vittorio Veneto started the great Italian counter-offensive that forced the Austro-Hungarian army to surrender.
Quinto is a village in the province of Treviso, not far from the Piave front.
I translated the letters of the protagonists into English. Letters were written in a rather correct Italian, a sign that the protagonists, while being peasants, had a minimum of instruction, which at that time was not common. Venetian dialect expressions are scattered here and there.
“Quinto, Sunday, May 25, 1919.
finally, thank goodness, I can write you something good. It seems that this curse is slowly going [This is the Spanish flu, the most terrible pandemic flu that history remembers. In the world about 20 million people died of “Spanish”, at least 375,000 died in Italy, but if the aggravating effects of Spanish flu on other pathologies are considered, the number rises to 650,000. In some countries, in that terrible 180 days between the end of 1918 and the early 1919, some 70% of the population disappeared], I lost all my family, my dad and my mom, my two brothers and my sister, Antony of Aunt Bepa, has rescued because he went to Valdobbiadene before the start of this plague and stayed there. But here in the plain they have buried so many dead that the graveyard was not enough. I was still in the army and when and I was dismissed, my dad just ordered me not to go back to Quinto, that there were fevers and many people died, and sent me to Aunt Bepa and I was there for four months, but there too the fear was great, we didn’t even go to mass on Sunday. Every family with the beasts in the middle of the countryside and to speak, in the voice, just from afar. What happened in Quinto we knew from the parish priest who buried them next to each other. Then, about month ago, no one died anymore and the doctors told us that we could come back. And then Antony remained with Aunt Bepa and I went down to Quinto, but there was no one, I was in the graveyard to see the crosses, crying desperately that there was no one of my relatives, and even the beasts, there was nothing. The parish priest gave me some money that my father and given him for me. Joseph, for us the war was not enough, we had even to face this other disaster; we, born in 95, we had to fight throughout the whole war and, thanks goodness, we pulled our feet out of this curse. But now we are still alive and we still have the strength to go on. Do you remember the 15 (year 1915) when hell this began? We hoped to go to war together, but what could we know about war? They had told us so many stupid things, but we believed in those things and then to the front we had to get out of the trench praying all saints because they fired at us with the machine guns, Joseph, we survived the hell of Isonzo and Caporetto and be blessed Diaz be blessed Diaz because he was the one who saved our homeland, because we were fighting just for despair because Veneto, our land, just that of our own house, we already saw it in the hands of the Austrians. But when Diaz arrived for us it was terrible, you were sent on one side and I on the other, but these assassins who hanged Battisti [Cesare Battisti, Italian irredentist patriot, hanged from the Austrians in Trento on July 12, 1916] we threw them out from our homeland. We were on the Isonzo at the end of the 16  and do you remember when we were told that Cecco Peppe had died? [Dialect name commonly used for Francesco Giuseppe, Austrian emperor, dead on November 18, 1916] we all lifted the flag and thought the war would be over soon but it was not over. How I thought of you in the trench and I could not even write because letters were just for family, and I prayed God from morning to night to save both of us and if one had to be taken it would have been better to take me, because without Joseph I could not live. They have been bad years, Joseph, without you, and then in the evening of November 4 of the past year, they made us all arrayed and the colonel read the victory telegram, I just burst crying like a little child but all were crying, the war was over and we were alive! I was just thinking about you, praying to God that I could see you again. I tried to give me courage and went to the telegraphist and asked him for news of the soldier Joseph B. but he told me that the confusion was such that no one could have heard of a single soldier. I thought that they would dismiss us and let us go immediately and I would come to look for you but I did not know where and then I wrote to the parish priest to know news about you and he told me that you had written to him after the armistice and that you were alive and were at Vittorio and we would be soon back at Quinto but dismissing was delayed week by week and in the whole disaster it was a good thing, just in those days mom died and dad wrote to me that I did not have to go back to Quinto if fevers did not pass, then in five days they all died. When I read the letter from the parish priest I was so desperately crying that the captain saw me and sat next to me and I made him read the letter and he hugged me. Now I have only you and I know from the parish priest that you are still in Vittorio, fortunately the Lord did not take your mother even if he took your dear father. The war took away poor Angiolino, I knew this months ago, and also for you still remains only mom. I cannot wait to hug you, but you will not even recognize me because the war has made me ugly, I was wounded on my left arm but I move it well, I still have a big scar of a splinter and it’s already a great thing that I survived, so the surgeon told me, because it was a bad wound. I cannot wait for the moment that I can re-hug you, if God has done this miracle that we are alive, he has done this as a sign that we must love each other well. I love you, Joseph, like a brother and more than a brother.
“Vittorio, Friday, June 6, 1919
My dear Antony,
I had your letter yesterday and it would come much earlier if you had brought it to me on foot. You know well the happiness I’ve experienced, now we are alive and of those who no longer exist even the count is lots. Antony, how much I want to hug you, but I have to be here with the regiment, they say that they are finally dismissing us. Put a flower on my father’s cross and give a prayer to Angiolino because he does not even have a cross and who knows where he is, my poor brother, he died at 21 years, certainly he can look at us from paradise. What I passed was ugly but it was not really terrible, but what I saw was really terrible. I served a much earlier much earlier s a nurse and saw guys dying, they came with a wound that seemed a little thing, we did as much as possible but you can imagine the conditions, the wound was infected and the guy died, almost half of the wounded soldiers died in a couple of days. If I remember those things I lose the desire to live, I cannot forget such things. We went to war without understanding anything and we saw hell, the real hell. Antony, now I would cheer you up and kiss you because I do not want to think about the dead that I will not forget forever but I want to think of my Antony. The medical captain told me that as a civilian I could work in a hospital in Treviso because if you has been in the army in health services the place is up to you, but I want to go back to Quinto and I want to be embraced with you the rest of life, you have a beautiful big farm, mine is just nearby and this is the sign that we too must be one. What will people say we do not know, but we should not be afraid of anyone and then to you only Aunt Bepa has remained in Voldobbiadene and to me it was only my mother who is almost sixty years old. My mom can stay with us, the other relatives are far away and they are all old, or we can sell everything away, yours and mine, and go to another place even though my mom always says she wants to die here. We are only two and in addition we have my mother but we are young and we like to work, and then you at your home and I at mine with my mom but all day we’ll work together, there is a little money for a few beasts and I think that we could live well. But there is one thing that makes me feel bad, the parish priest has written to me that there is Gina’s daughter, who is twenty years old and who would like so much to know me, and wrote me just so “if it is not she will be another, but be sure we’ll find you a wife.” And this thing worries me, it is something that should not happen, and here in the country there are few men, and in particular few young men, or there aren’t at all, and there are a lot of women. I do not like this story, if I want a woman, I choose her and if I don’t I’ll remain single without marrying, it is not a duty to have a wife and I’m not going to get married.
If I sell everything away and go far away from Quinto, what will you do? I thought about going near Parma and buy some land there, then we could work hard with beasts and we know how to do it. Please answer me as soon as you receive this teller because I’m too eager to wait. I love you as a brother and more than a brother. I give you my wishes for your name-day that is in eight days! I think I can be at Quinto at the end of June, now it seems certain.
“Fifth, Friday, June 13, 1919.
Thanks for the wishes I can only receive from you because now you are my whole family. I thought about the things you wrote and, from some things that he says and that make me understand his thoughts, it seems to me that the parish priest aims to find a wife for me too, so we really have to go because we would not be able to live here. I cannot wait for the time and the moment I can re-hug you. As soon as you come here we have to get advise by a captain I met at the front, who is lawyer in Brescia, I wrote to him and he told me he will help us for all the legal problems of the contract, he is a good person and I trust him, he said he does not want to be paid because when you saw war and death close, when you are dismissed, things are no longer as before. We will not say anything to the parish priest as you come to Quinto, first of all we have to write to the captain, we go to Brescia and give him all the documents and he will care about, and then I think there is already a wealthy man who wants to buy the land, because he already has a great piece of land on your border and mine, he is a rich man and we cannot deal directly with him, he has already made me hear the voice from the parish priest. However, we have to sell the land, we do not have to throw it away. Joseph, then, God be blessed, we’ll meet in to two weeks at most, what a beautiful thing, I can hug you, I want to keep you close to me! Blessed God we are still alive!
“Brescia, Tuesday 4 November 1919.
today is a great day for us. And do you know what price we sell? We had said no less than 30 thousand lire mine and no less than 20 thousand yours, but the captain did everything very well and we got exactly one and a half, 45 thousand lire mine and 30 thousand yours. But now I tell you all about it. The captain wrote to Mr. F. telling him that he was aware of his intention to buy our land, but with a paper printed as a lawyer, and told him that had been commissioned by us to handle the sale. Mr. F. answered him asking him for the price but he did not tell him and invited him to Brescia at his studio to meet me too. That’s why he got me telegraphed to go running. Then he explained to me all I had to say, gave me a beautiful dress and the most beautiful shoes I have ever seen, sent me to the barber, and they also cared for my hands and nails, I looked like a great lord. Then we went into the living room with carpets on the ground and paintings on the walls and the waitress brought us the coffee when Mr. F. arrived. We presented ourselves, the captain said that we were friends even before the war and that our families had been attending each other for generations, in practice he did everything himself, then after a while we got to the point, we sat at the table and the captain said that our proposal was a hundred thousand lire for both lands together, they had to be sold together because I would go with my partner to open a farm in Parma. Mr. F. widened his arms and said that at that price he just did not feel like buying it, and here came the master shot of the captain, the maid came and told him that lawyer T. was on the phone for the sale of land of Quinto and he raised the phone and replied that as the other possible buyer would not buy the deal could have been concluded in a couple of days. When he put down the phone, Mr. F. felt caught in a counterattack and demanded what price lawyer T. was willing to pay but the captain replied that negotiating with lawyer T. was something between us and lawyer T., it was up to Mr. F. make his proposal and the vendor would evaluate the best conditions. Then Mr. F. said 70 thousand in all. I would have told him ok right away but the captain took time and told him he would let him know. Mr. F. would stay in Brescia one more day to get the answer. Then Mr. F. left, and the captain explained to me that lawyer T. was a friend of his and they agreed that he would call him at that time, but lawyer T. had nothing to do with the land, in short, was a combined thing. In the afternoon the captain called Mr. F. at the hotel and told him that he might agree for 75 thousand and Mr. F. eventually accepted and we met again in the evening and the lawyer made him sign a card, not the contract itself, but a commitment to buy, and there was also a deposit of 15 thousand lire and Mr. F. made a check to the captain of 15 thousand lire. The final act will be signed in November, meanwhile the captain has tried to see for a great piece of land in Parma, a bit on the hillside and it seems we have found it and that it’s a very good pasture. We have to go see it in two days. Then you have to know that another thing happened, I told the captain about the two of us, you have understood me well, and he told me we’re proper people, and if he can do something for us, he’ll certainly do it. I asked him how we could repay but he said that what he did, did as a friend, otherwise he would not have been a friend. He is married and has two girls about ten-eleven years old and said that the fact that the Spanish flu did not take away any of his family makes him feel in debt to those who were less fortunate. Joseph, good Lord willing, at the end of November or at most at the beginning of the year, we will really be together. And with 75 thousand lire we can set up a beautiful farm and we can start a new life that belongs only to us. I think of you every moment! Joseph I think no one feels better than I feel at this time. I love you so much.
Today is exactly one year since the day of the victory, Live Italy!
(1) Quinto, Domenica 25 di Maggio 1919.
finalmente, ringraziando il Signore, ti posso scrivere qualche cosa buona. Pare che piano piano questa maledizione se ne sta andando [Si tratta della febbre influenzale spagnola, la più terribile pandemia influenzale che la storia ricordi. Nel mondo morirono di spagnola circa 20 milioni di persone, in Italia ne morirono almeno 375.000, ma se si conteggiano anche gli effetti aggravanti della influenza spagnola su altre patologie, il numero sale fino a 650.000. In alcuni paesi sparì, in quei terribili 180 giorni, tra la fine del 1918 e i primi mesi del 1919, circa il 70% della popolazione], ho perso in pratica tutta la mia famiglia, mio babbo e mia mamma, i miei due fratelli e mia sorella, Antonio di zia Bepa s’è salvato perché era andato a Valdobbiadene prima dell’inizio di questa piaga ed è rimasto lì. Ma qua in pianura han portato via tanti morti che non bastava il camposanto. Io ero ancora alle armi e quando m’han congedato babbo mi ha proprio ordinato di non tornare a Quinto, che c’eran le febbri e moriva tanta gente a mi han mandato anche me dalla Bepa e son stato là quattro mesi, ma anche là la paura era grande, non s’andava neanche alla messa la domenica. Ogni famiglia colle bestie in mezzo alla campagna e per parlare, alla voce, da lontano. Quello che è successo a Quinto lo sapevamo dal parroco che li sotterrava uno appresso che l’altro. Poi un mesetto fa ha cominciato a non morire più nessuno e i dottori ci han detto che si poteva tornare. E allora Antonio è rimasto con la zia Bepa e io sono sceso a Quinto, ma non c’era più nessuno, son stato al camposanto a vedere le croci e mi sono messo a pianger disperato che non c’era più nessuno, e anche le bestie, non c’era più nulla. Il parroco m’ha dato un po’ di soldi che eran di mio babbo e lui glieli aveva dati per me. Giuseppe, a noi non ci bastava la guerra, anche quest’altra sciagura ci voleva, noi del 95 la guerra ce la siam fatta tutta e grazie di Dio che ne avemo tirato fora i piedi e poi quest’altra maledizione. Ma adesso siamo ancora vivi e la forza ce l’abbiamo ancora. Ti ricordi il 15 quando è cominciato l’inferno, che speravamo di andare alla guerra insieme, ma che si sapeva noi della guerra, c’avevan contato tante balle, ma noi ci credevamo e poi al fronte a uscire dalla trincea a pregare tutti i santi che ci sparavano a mitraglia, Giuseppe noi siamo sopravvissuti all’inferno dell’Isonzo e a Caporetto e benedetto sia Diaz che la Patria l’ha salvata lui, che noi ormai combattevamo proprio per la disperazione perché ormai in Veneto, la terra nostra, proprio quella di casa nostra, la vedevamo già in mano agli Austriaci. Però quando è arrivato Diaz per noi è stata tremenda, tu da una parte e io dall’altra ma a questi assassini che hanno impiccato Battisti [Cesare Battisti, patriota irredentista italiano, impiccato degli Austriaci a Trento il 12 luglio 1916] li abbiamo cacciati fuori dalla nostra Patria. Noi stavamo sull’Isonzo alla fine del 16 e te lo ricordi quando ci dissero che era morto Cecco Peppe [Francesco Giuseppe, imperatore d’Austria, morto il 18 novembre 1916 ] abbiamo tutti alzato la bandiera e pensavano che la guerra sarebbe finita ma non è mica finita. Quanto ho pensato a te nella trincea e non ti potevo neanche scrivere che le lettere erano solo per la famiglia, e pregavo Dio dalla mattina alla sera di farci salvi tutti e due e se uno se ne doveva prendere che si prendesse me, che io senza Giuseppe non ci potevo vivere. Sono stati anni brutti, Giuseppe, senza di te, e poi alla sera del 4 Novembre dell’anno passato, che ci hanno fatti mettere tutti schierati e il colonnello ha letto il telegramma della vittoria, son proprio scoppiato a piangere come una creatura ma piangevano proprio tutti, era finita la guerra e eravamo vivi! Io pensavo solo a te, pregavo Dio che ti potevo rivedere. Mi son fatto coraggio e sono andato al telegrafista e l’ho pregato di chiedere del soldato Giuseppe B. ma mi ha detto che la confusione era tale che nessuno avrebbe potuto avere notizie di un singolo soldato. Pensavo che ci congedassero subito e ti sarei venuto a cercare ma non sapevo dove e allora ho scritto al parroco per sapere tue notizie e mi ha detto che tu gli avevi scritto dopo l’armistizio e che eri vivo e stavi a Vittorio e ci saremmo rivisti a Quinto tra poco ma il congedo ritardava di settimana in settimana e nel disastro è stata una cosa buona, proprio in quei giorni è morta mamma e papà mi ha scritto che non dovevo tornare a Quinto se non fossero passate le febbri, poi in cinque giorni sono morti tutti. Quando ho letto la lettera del parroco mi son messo a piangere disperato che m’ha visto il capitano e s’è seduto vicino a me e gli ho fatto leggere la lettera e m’ha abbracciato forte. Adesso ho solo te e so dal parroco che sei ancora a Vittorio, per fortuna la tua mamma non se l’è presa il Signore come il tuo caro babbo. Angiolino poveretto se l’è preso la guerra, ho saputo anche questo, e pure a te ti resta solo la mamma. Non vedo l’ora di riabbracciarti ma non mi riconosci che la guerra m’ha fatto brutto, sono stato ferito al braccio sinistro ma lo muovo bene però m’è rimasta un grossa cicatrice di una scheggia e già è molto che sono sopravvissuto, così m’ha detto il chirurgo, che era una ferita brutta. Non vedo l’ora e il momento che ti posso riabbracciare che se Dio c’ha fatto questo miracolo che c’ha fatto campare questo è segno che noi ci dobbiamo volere bene. Ti voglio bene, Giuseppe, come un fratello e più che un fratello.
(2) Vittorio, Venerdì 6 di Giugno 1919
Carissimo Antonio mio,
la lettera tua l’ho avuta ieri che facevi prima a venire tu a piedi a portarmela. La felicità che ho provato la sai bene, adesso noi siamo vivi e di quelli che non ci stanno più se n’è perso il conto. Antonio, quanto ti vorrei abbracciare ma io devo stare qua col reggimento ma dicono che tra poco ci congedano definitivamente. Metticelo tu un fiore sulla croce di mio babbo e dilla una preghiera per Angiolino che lui non c’ha manco la croce e chissà dove sta, povero fratello mio, lui è morto a 21 anno, possa guardarci dal paradiso. Quello che ho passato io è stato brutto ma non è stato proprio terribile, quello che ho visto invece è stato proprio terribile. Io facevo l’infermiere e ne ho visto di ragazzi morire, arrivavano con una ferita che sembrava poca cosa, noi facevamo il possibile ma puoi immaginare le condizioni igieniche, la ferita si infettava e i ragazzi morivano, quasi le metà dei feriti moriva in un paio di giorni. Se mi ricordo di quelle cose mi passa pure la voglia di vivere, non me le potrò più scordare. Noi siamo andati alla guerra senza capire niente e abbiamo visto l’inferno, proprio l’inferno. Antonio adesso t’abbraccerei e ti bacerei perché non voglio pensare ai morti che non me li scorderò più ma voglio pensare a Antonio mio. Il capitano medico mi ha detto che da civile potrei lavorare in ospedale a Treviso perché se hai fatto la guerra in sanità il posto ti spetta, ma io voglio tornare a Quinto e voglio stare abbracciato con te il resto della vita, tu hai un podere bello grosso, quello mio sta attaccato e quello è il segno che pure noi dobbiamo essere una cosa sola. Che dirà la gente noi non lo sappiamo, ma noi non dobbiamo avere paura di nessuno e poi a te è rimasta solo la zia Bepa a Voldobbiadene e a me è rimasta solo mia mamma che è vecchia e ha quasi sessant’anni. Mia mamma può stare con noi, poi gli altri parenti sono lontani e sono tutti vecchi, oppure si può vender via tutto, il tuo e il mio, e andare in un altro posto anche se mia mamma dice sempre che lei vuol morire qui. Noi siamo solo due e in più dobbiamo pensare a mia mamma ma siamo giovani e la voglia di lavorare non ci manca e poi tu a casa tua e io a casa mia con mia mamma ma tutta la giornata si lavora insieme, un po’di soldi per compare un po’ di bestie ci sono e io penso che si potrebbe vivere bene. Ma c’è una cosa che mi fa stare male, il parroco m’ha scritto che c’è la figlia della Gina, che ha vent’anni e che ci terrebbe tanto a conoscermi, e m’ha scritto proprio così “che se non è lei è un’altra, stai sereno che ti accasiamo.” E questa cosa mi fa stare male, non ci voleva proprio e qui in paese di uomini specie giovani ce n’è rimasti poco e niente e di donne ce n’è tante. Non mi piace mica questa storia, se la voglio io una donna, me la scelgo io e se non la voglio sto senza, non è mica un dovere e io non ne ho nessuna intenzione. Se io vendo via tutto e me ne vado da Quinto tu che fai? Avevo pensato di andare dalle parti di Parma e comprare un po’ di terra lì, poi ci si potrebbe dare da fare che noi con gli animali ci sappiamo fare. Ti prego di rispondermi appena ricevi questa mia perché sto troppo in ansia ad aspettare. Ti voglio bene pure io come un fratello e più di un fratello. Ti faccio tanti tanti auguri per il santo tuo che è oggi a otto! Penso di poter stare a Quinto alla fine di Giugno, ormai sembra una cosa certa.
(3) Quinto, Venerdì 13 di Giugno 1919.
grazie degli auguri che ormai posso ricevere solo da te che sei la mia famiglia. Ho pensato alle cose che hai scritto e, da certe cose che dice e che lascia intendere, mi pare che il parroco abbia pensato ad ammogliare anche me, quindi ce ne dobbiamo proprio andare perché qua non riusciremmo a vivere. Non vedo l’ora e il momento che ti posso riabbracciare. Appena tu vieni qua ci facciamo consigliare da un capitano che ho conosciuto al fronte e che fa l’avvocato a Brescia, gli ho scritto e mi ha detto che ci aiuta lui per tutte le cose degli atti, è una brava persona e me ne fido, ha detto che non vuole essere pagato perché quando hai visto la guerre a la morte da vicino quando torni civile non è più come prima. Noi al parroco non diciamo niente, quanto tu vieni a Quinto, la prima cosa scriviamo al capitano, andiamo a Brescia e gli portiamo tutte le carte e ha detto che ci pensa lui e poi io penso che ci sia già uno che la terra se la vuole comprare, perché ce ne ha già un pezzo grande al confine tuo e mio, è uno ricco che non ci possiamo trattare noi, lui già m’ha fatto arrivare la voce dal parroco. Comunque la terra la dobbiamo vendere, non la dobbiamo buttare via. Giuseppe, allora, benedetto Iddio, ci vediamo da qui a due settimane al massimo, che cosa bella che ti posso abbracciare, ti voglio tenere stretto a me! Benedetto Iddio che siamo ancora vivi!
(4) Brescia, Martedì 4 Novembre 1919.
oggi è una giornata grande per noi. E sai a quanto la vendiamo? Noi avevamo detto non meno di 30 mila lire la mia e non meno di 20 mila lire la tua, ma il capitano ha fatto tutto lui e ci facciamo esattamente una volta e mezzo, 45 mila lire la mia e 30 mila lire la tua. Ma adesso ti racconto tutto quanto. Il capitano ha scritto al sig. F. dicendogli che era sto informato della sua intenzione di comprare i nostri terreni, ma colla carta stampata da avvocato, e gli diceva che aveva avuto mandato a trattare per nostro conto. Il sig. F. gli ha risposto chiedendogli il prezzo ma lui non glielo ha detto e lo ha invitato a Brescia al suo studio per incontrare anche me. Ecco perché m’ha telegrafato di andare di corsa. Poi mi ha spiegato tutto quello che dovevo dire, m’ha dato da mettere un vestito suo bellissimo e delle scarpe che non ne ho mai viste così, m’ha mandato dal barbiere, e mi hanno sistemato pure le mani, sembravo un figurino. Poi ci siamo messi nel salotto, coi tappeti per terra e i quadri e la cameriera ci ha portato il caffè, quando è arrivato il signor F. ci siamo presentati, il capitano ha detto che eravamo amici anche prima della guerra e che le nostre famiglie si conoscono da generazioni, ha fatto proprio tutto lui, poi dopo un po’ di convenevoli siamo arrivati al punto, ci siamo seduti al tavolo e il capitano ha detto che la nostra proposta era di cento mila lire per tutti e due i terreni insieme, che dovevano essere venduti per forza insieme perché io sarei andato con il mio socio ad aprire un’azienda agricola a Parma. Il sig. F. ha allargato le braccia e ha detto che a quel prezzo non se la sentiva proprio, e qua è venuto il colpo da maestro del capitano è entrata la domestica e gli ha detto che c’era al telefono l’avvocato T. per la vendita dei terreni di Quinto e lui ha alzato il telefono e ha risposto che siccome l’altro possibile acquirente non se la sentiva di procedere all’acquisto la cosa si sarebbe potuta concludere. Quando ha messo giù il telefono, il sig. F. si è sentito preso in contropiede e ha chiesto che prezzo era disposto a pagare l’avvocato T. ma il capitano ha risposto che la trattativa con l’avvocato T. è cosa tra noi e l’avvocato T, che lui facesse invece la sua proposta e poi si sarebbero valutate le condizioni migliori. Allora F. ha detto 70 in tutto. Io gli avrei detto subito sì ma il capitano ha preso tempo e gli ha detto che gli avrebbe fatto sapere. F. sarebbe rimasto a Brescia un giorno in più per avere la risposta. Poi F. è andato via e il capitano mi ha spiegato che l’avvocato T. è un suo amico e che erano d’accordo che lo avrebbe chiamato a quell’ora, ma l’avvocato T. con i terreni non ‘entrava per niente, insomma era una cosa combinata. Nel pomeriggio il capitano ha chiamato F. in albergo e gli ha detto che si sarebbe potuto concludere per 75 e F. alla fine ha accettato e ci siamo rivisti tutti e tre in serata e l’avvocato gli ha fatto firmare una carta che però non era il contratto, ma un impegno ad acquistare, e c’era anche una caparra di 15 mila lire e F. ha fatto un assegno all’avvocato di 15 mila lire. L’atto definitivo si farà entro Novembre, intanto il capitano ha cercato di vedere per un pezzo di terra grande a Parma, un po’ in collina e pare che lo abbiamo trovato e che deve essere pascolo ottimo. Dobbiamo andare a vederlo tra due giorni. Poi lo sai che è successa pure un’altra cosa, ho detto di noi due al capitano, hai capito bene, e m’ha detto che siamo persone come si deve e che se può fare qualcosa per noi lo farà certamente. Gli ho chiesto come potevamo sdebitarci ma ha detto che quello che aveva fatto lui un amico lo deve fare se no non è un amico. Lui è sposato e ha due bambine grandine e ha detto che il fatto che la Spagnola non si sia portata via nessuno della sua famiglia lo fa sentire in debito verso chi è stato meno fortunato. Giuseppe, se Dio vuole, alla fine di Novembre o al massimo all’inizio dell’anno venturo noi possiamo stare veramente insieme. E con 75 mila lire possiamo mettere in piedi una bella fattoria e possiamo cominciare una vita veramente nostra. Ti penso ogni momento! Giuseppe io penso che nessuno si senta meglio di come mi sento io in questo momento. Ti voglio un bene immenso.
Oggi è un anno dalla vittoria, Viva l’Italia!
If you like, you can participate in the discussion of this post, on the Gay Project Forum:
The gays have long been engaged in the civil rights struggle and in particular to get the right to marriage or to a civil union, if you don’t want to use the word marriage, which produces the same effects as marriage. The conquest of civil rights recognized by law is a crucial first step towards a non-discriminating community, but remains nevertheless a formal step. You can realize this by observing the number of marriages or gay civil unions in countries where the law recognizes them. In general, only a very small minority of gay couples formalize their union in legal terms. On the other hand, in the majority of Western countries there is a general decline in the number of heterosexual marriages and a significant increase in free unions without any legal constraints.
It remains a fact to keep in mind: gay couples that choose not to use the tools that the law makes available to them to attribute civil effects to their union, very often do so because, even though the law declares the substantial equalization of the heterosexual marriages to homosexual ones or civil unions, public opinion remains on the back ground, and discrimination, though no longer on a legal basis, still exists at the social level, and gay people experience it also within their own families. The real core of the problem of equality of rights lies in social inertia, which means that what the law defines and the more enlightened society considers obvious ends up only to permeate very slowly the society as a whole.
The role of new generations in promoting a process of genuine social equality is extremely important because the concept of equality has many implications and the equality of sexual orientations is just a part of a problem that should be addressed in the whole. The role of the gay new generations is particularly delicate because films, television and the internet often offer a very marked and unrealistic picture of homosexuality, for ideological or commercial reasons.
You can nevertheless see very interesting gay books and films, which are in fact faithful reconstructions of real gay moments, because it is always to be remembered that saying “gay” means putting together, taking into account just a single feature, people who are really very different. Trying to transpose into a movie or novel the “gay” life as a general category means to make an ideological discourse. A good book or a good movie must tell the lives of real people, considered as individuals and not as a category.
What would then be the task of young gay men, who can be the true promoters of a new social culture? The answer is simple: who fights in order to make people recognize the normality of homosexuality doesn’t have to take ideological attitudes but simply has to live his own homosexual normality.
I try to explain it better: if it is right for gays to have a chance to meet with other gays, locking themselves in a ghetto that distinguishes “we” (gay) from “they” (straight) means favoring discrimination.
Let me make another example: a sign of the social mentality in the matter of equality of sexual orientation is found in the large libraries. In some large libraries there is a “gay” section; in others the gay-themed books are not placed in a separate department and, for example, among love novels there are also gay love novels and among Sociology books there are also those of sociology of homosexuality, etc.
Another crucial point, beyond the overcoming of the ghetto, is the normality of behaviors. In many countries, public coming out and family coming out are considered critical moments in the life of a gay guy because they are seen as formal and therefore risky moments, where guys are exposed to the judgment of others. It should be remembered that coming out is not a moral duty for anyone, but only an opportunity, if, and I emphasize the “if”, it can be achieved without substantial risks, otherwise it is a choice to avoid because it could be self-punishing. It should be borne in mind that often, in families who are not prepared for the idea of having a gay son, the coming out of the son may be disruptive for parents.
If we try to observe what happens to the straight guys, we can have a pattern of “normal” behavior that should be extended to gays. The straight guys don’t go by their fathers to say, “Daddy, I must tell you something very important!” just to tell them, “Daddy, I am straight!” The young straight guys begin to have straight behaviors from the earliest age, without officially declaring anything at all.
For gays, the road should be similar: attending other boys, taking them home, going out with a boy telling the truth to parents without any further specification, spending Saturday or Sunday with that boy, not answering too much questions.
Let me give an example: “But why do you always go out with that guy?” “Because he is very nice!” Gays often go to crisis because they have internalized the idea that being gay is somehow transgressive and that’s why gays need approvals and justifications.
While it is true that gays, albeit with rare exceptions, grow in highly straight-oriented environments, it’s also true that once they acquire awareness not only of their sexual orientation but of the dignity of any sexual orientation, they should automatically overcome the idea of being somehow subordinate, but this unfortunately does not happen because social pressures are very strong.
To clarify the concept, it’s useful to refer to the obsessive compulsive disorder, the so-called OCD. It is well known that some people, who have a tendency towards obsessive-compulsive character, can develop heavily-structured obsessive-compulsive behaviors around a well-defined thematic core that coincides with the content from which the person is most intimidated. For an old man suffering from an OCD, obsession can be linked to the idea that robbers can rob him and compulsive behaviors, in this case will concretize in armoring doors and windows, in the installation of latest generation anti-theft devices, and in hiding all valuables. Similarly, for a nun with OCD, obsession may be that of sin and compulsion may be that of confessing every day, always remaining with the perpetual idea of omitting something. For a heterosexual young man, obsession can easily be the obsessive fear of being gay and compulsions can manifest in an infinite series of tests (from tests of masturbation with gay fantasies to the use of gay pornography) that, of course, never provide any answer that can be considered definitive and clarifying.
So, if we observe the incidence of the gay-themed OCD, which I repeat is a typical disorder of 100% heterosexual guys, it is noted that gay-themed OCD is common in Southern Europe of Catholic tradition and in Latin America, while it is very less common in Protestant countries (where the opening to gay couples is much more common than in the Catholic Church.) In some countries in northern Europe, where serious and mandatory sexual education exists, from the earliest age, and where homosexuality is no longer a scarecrow for anyone, the gay-themed OCD, in practice, doesn’t exist at all.
This is a clear sign that negative social judgment on homosexuality deeply affects the straight guys themselves, and causes some of them an obsessive fear of being gay. If this is the effect on heterosexual guys, the result on gay guys is certainly not less. The classic example can be found in the effort that gay guys have to make to accept their being gay as a value, because the Catholic Church affirms in a peremptory way that homosexuality, or rather homosexual acts, are a serious sin against nature. It is certainly no coincidence that a lot of gays in the countries of southern Europe, even though they are substantially Christians, are nevertheless far from the Catholic Church.
Here comes another idea that generally finds a lot of favor among the gays, namely the idea that the diffusion of scientific thought would be extremely helpful in favoring greater rationality among the new generations.
In 1797, Francisco Goya called an etching of his “El sueño de la razón produce monstruos ” (the dream of reason generates monsters) and in fact, discriminations, which are totally irrational, are precisely the sign that reason has fallen asleep.
Awakening reason leads not to fear the ghosts, to rationally examine each statement before giving it some value. Mythical thought leads to the elation and the blackout of reason, rational thought leads on the contrary to sobriety and to the critical evaluation of events and ideas.
Even morality can be mythical or rational. A mythical morality is dogmatic, its content is stated in principle without any motivation. Rational morality is really such when it resists any criticism because it is endowed with objective evidence.
Personally, I believe that gays have often given impetus to deep innovations in the field of thought, favoring its openness to broader horizons and overcoming dogmatism. Philosophy, literature or art elaborated by a person are the result of the individual experience of that person, that is, they are somehow the daughters of individual psychology, and in a circular movement they tend to change the individual experience and the life itself of other people. That’s why commitment must be maximum: fighting ignorance and prejudice is not only useful for gays but it contributes to the improvement of society as a whole.