With the chapter titled “Platen or the superior uranist”, André Raffalovich closes his book “Uranism and Unisexuality”. It is certainly not a case. Raffalovich has always shown a remarkable sympathy for von Platen and for his conception of homosexuality, which is celebrated by him at the end of the chapter with accents of genuine enthusiasm as well as moral sharing. It should be said immediately that Raffalovich, in his overview on remarkable homosexuals of the history and literature stopped at the first ‘800, with the only exception of Wilde. In his work therefore don’t appear some fundamental characters of the history of homosexuality such as John Addington Symonds, Edward Carpenter and the Raffalovich himself, who belong to the second half of the ‘800 and in some cases have extended their activity to the first decades of ‘900.

Platen, like Grillparzer, Motitz, Goethe, and Byron himself, belongs to a period, in which the debate on homosexuality is still something utopian and vague to be placed in a future of which it was impossible to foresee even the dawn.

The destruction of the memories and of many letters of Byron after his death is a sign of how the idea of the homosexuality of the author was considered unthinkable.

Grillparzer and Moritz were very careful in defending their honorability from the risk of accusations of homosexuality. All these characters (with the exception perhaps of Byron) went through periods of doubt, oscillations and uncertainties about the real dimension of their sexuality because they were totally or almost totally lacking in evidence that could put the dominant prejudice into crisis. They all experienced heterosexual stories in which the emotional participation was really minimal and that today would not be difficult to identify as coverage relationships.

Byron, who had behaved more freely, was forced by gossip to leave England and never returned.

Before Platen, the signs of homosexuality had to be found in little known biographical elements or in the ambiguities of the works, where they were almost always transcribed in heterosexual key. For Platen it is not like that. It could be said that Platen is the first homosexual in the modern sense of the term, because he recognizes his homosexuality, at least in front of his friends, who don’t disown him for this, and affirms his right to love and be loved as a friend of noble soul, because his feeling has nothing to be ashamed of. Raffalovich interprets the fact that Platen considers his homosexual love something dignified and high by hypothesizing the idea that it was a love without sex or almost without sex, and anyway with an extremely sublimated sexuality, a hypothesis that could perhaps be proposed for young Platen, but sounds quite unrealistic for the Italian period of the poet’s life.

It should not be forgotten that Italy, for the whole ‘800, was for the rich homosexuals of northern Europe a true earthly paradise, totally devoid of English moralism and German hypocrisy in matters of sexuality.

Certainly Platen, it seems, even in Italy didn’t live a wild life to the level that will then be typical of Wilde and seems to maintain moralistic attitudes even when he condemns very libertine poets who intend to create a relationship of friendship with him.

But Platen is modern also for another reason: his not to surround his life and his poems of too much caution exposes him to gossip and he ends up being a victim of very heavy and vulgar personal attacks, obviously on charges of homosexuality, advanced in the most vulgar ways by a character like Heine, in other respects an excellent and fine literate of Hebrew origins.

The controversy between Heine and Platen arose for reasons of literary pride, it seems that Heine had not much appreciated a poem by Platen and had expressed about it a very critical, if not scornful, judgment, Platen replied by bringing into play Heine’s Jewish origins. Heine answered letting himself go to insults against Platen related to his homosexuality.

The story of the quarrel between Platen and Heine is the sign of how much the accusation of homosexuality was (and still is today) a weapon that is kept in store and can be unleashed whenever the opportunity arises.

Thomas Mann dedicated a long essay to Platen who, in his solitary death in Syracuse, by cholera (perhaps), is the inspirer of “Death in Venice”, on which Luchino Visconti based his cinematographic masterpiece. But Mann’s work on Platen, rather than representing a hypothetical fight of Platen against homosexuality, embodies in Platen the similar and far more grievous struggle of Mann against his own homosexuality. Today, after the complete publication of Platen’s diaries, the reading of the character made by Mann can no longer be shared. Platen, unlike the great majority of cultured homosexuals of his generation (and also om many of the later ones) had accepted his homosexuality and considered it a value that could not be set aside in any way. Of course, in a world where homosexuality was heavily criminally persecuted and denial was the only attitude of all, including homosexuals, a man like Platen spent his life between disappointments and frustrations, falling in love with heterosexual friends with a lot of misunderstandings, but for him homosexuality was a form of love with capital L and certainly he would not have lowered to the idea of mercenary sex, he’s a character who has maintained high, even as a homosexual, the level of his morality.

Let’s leave the floor to Raffalovich. Below you can read my translation into English of the chapter dedicated to Paletn in “Uranisme et Unisexualité” by Marc André Raffalovich, 1896. My translation into Italian of the entire work can be downloaded without any formalities on the page:



I would like to present in a clear way the noble, interesting and melancholic figure of the poet Auguste, Count of Platen-Hallermünde.

He is for excellence the born uranist, destined, self-assured, upright, complete, courageous, elevated, all dedicated to his love for poetic glory, for poetic art, for intellectual and physical beauty, in the most lively way in which he feels it, because he feels it in accord with his dignity as a man. He strongly loved his friends, Count Fugger, Liebig, A. Kopisch, Gustav Schwab, etc., and raised hateful hate. Even today, the Munich library holds the eighteen volumes of Platen’s diary, and this precious deposit awaits a respectful and intelligent publication, which von Laubman and L. von Scheffler have promised.

In 1860 Engelhardt published some fragments of the diary that stop in 1828 – Platen was born in 1796 and died in 1838. It is with the help of this autobiographical fragments, of his works, his letters and the publications of his friends that I will try to show his physiognomy.

Auguste, Count of Platen-Hallermünde (or Count of Platen, as he preferred to be called) was born October 21th, 1796 in Ansbach where his father was in the service of Prussia. The first Count of Platen, Franz-Ernest, had received his title on July 20th, 1689 by Leopold I.

Platen’s father, born in 1740, had married Miss von Reitzenstein in the first marriage, and from this marriage were born six children, one male and five females. The marriage was unhappy and led to a divorce. Count Platen remarried in 1795 with Louise-Friederike Christiane Eichler von Auritz. They had two sons, the first was the poet, the youngest died at the age of three.

Auguste von Platen, or Platen as I’ll call him, when he was still very young, had a long illness, the famous doctor of Erlangen, Hildebrand, considered it incurable; but the child grew up despite the disease, bred with simplicity, and as happened to most of the noble children born after the French Revolution, he was taught to be on familiar speaking terms with his parents and to feel free in their presence: they never spoke to him about his noble birth.

Platen recalled that his early childhood friends had been Simon Langenfoss and Jeannot Asimont, sons of a French teacher, and two Liebeskind. He also often went to the castle to play with the princess, daughter of Prince Louis of Prussia, brother of the king. He met there also the aunts of the little girl, the Queen Louise of Prussia, and the princess of Thurn und Taxis.

Platen’s father made so many small trips to visit the forests to which he had to supervise and the child remained alone with his mother. She read for him loudly and made him love reading. He soon preferred books to his many toys. He also learned to write early. The first book he read alone contained childish comedies. He loved the theater, he went there as much as possible, he recited some comedies with his companions. In his seventh year he wrote a pastoral comedy and sent it to a young friend.

He wrote many small parts in verse, full of fairies, witches and wizards. Even mythology took possession of his imagination, but the stories of love left him indifferent. He considered love only a theatrical artifice. Despite his fondness for fairy tales, he was rather skeptical. He replied to a professor that there was no hell. It meant that there was no place where souls were roasting.

His mother withdrew completely from the world to take care only of her son. She pushed him to work. She had him write letters to an English girl his age, whom he had never seen, daughter of a childhood friend of the Countess. A young girl, Caroline von Gemmingen, soon came to live with them. Platen and her were always at war.

In 1806 the child, in his ninth year, saw the defeat of the soldiers of the Emperor of Austria, Bernadotte passing through Ansbach and the fall of Prussia; and he became very interested in all these events.

In the same year, General Werneck, the head of the Cadets in Munich, a childhood friend of the father of Platen, offered him to incorporate the boy among the Cadets. The father accepted and the mother took the child to Monaco.

The separation from his mother was a great pain for him, and the rigid and heavy clothes bothered him, but the novelty amused him, and what reconciled him with his new style of life was friendship.

He remained for four years among the Cadets. He described very well the life as it was organized there – the Cadet school had been a Jesuit monastery. There were a hundred Cadets. They almost were not allowed to read, their readings and their correspondence, were rigorously examined. The Cadets were constantly supervised: during the lessons by the teachers, during the recreation by the officers, at night by the servants. They were never left alone. They taught them Mathematics, Geometry, History, Geography, Style, Latin, Religion, French, language to which great attention was paid, Fencing, Dance and almost all musical instruments.

Cadets used to make fun of his verses. At mealtimes he was always at the table in the middle: there were three tables on which the food was proportional to the progress or to the relapses of the students. – Comedies were recited; the number of comedies was limited due to the lack of female roles. Platen never recited such comedies. In his tenth year he probably overcame his childhood illness, because he remembered, not without pleasure, of a trip on foot made during the holidays with some companions and some teachers, a trip to the Tyrol. The Tyrolean people seemed to him kind and considerate. The Cadets slept on straw, but they were well fed. He spent the rest of the holidays at home, happy to be free. The constraints of the college were unbearable. His obstinacy attracted so many punishments on him that they ended up aggravating this trait of his character. He soon found himself on bad terms with the military authorities and with the professor of Lutheran Religion. Platen, although he was a Lutheran, had defended Catholicism in a spirit of contradiction. His stubbornness, he himself says, was punishable, but it was also the beginning of his independence of judgment.

Friendship, after all, made the college bearable for him. Friendship was the goddess of the Cadets. Each one could look for and find a soul similar to his own, and despite the external constraints, a Cadet could be linked to a friend for life.

His first confidant was Friedrich Schnizlein, to whom he entrusted his first writings. He was a perfect confidant, but he was not in favor of the fervor of sentiment in friendship.

Ludwig von Luder, he too Protestant, also received the literary confidence of young Platen. He was older and very intelligent, a lover of science, without disordered inclinations. He always remained Platen’s sincere friend, and their discussions were only about politics.
Among the Cadets in his class he often saw Ernst Wiebeking, Count Sprety, Kasimir Baeumler, Tettenborn, etc .; among those of the other classes, Karl and Alexander Welden, Krazeisen, Brand, Kaeser, Normann, Wilhelm and Joseph Gumppenberg.

Max von Gruber particularly attracted him. He was not very gifted, but full of will, a mathematician lover of poetry, just, solid and without prejudices. He would forgive Voltaire his atheism if Voltaire had not so often denied it; he did not blame any of Napoleon’s evil deeds if they were part of his role as conqueror. It is understandable that the young Platen, who had to feel different from others, clung to Max von Gruber, honest and full of respect for the essential differences between men of value or genius. They always remained friends. Gustav Jacobs, son of the philologist, was also very closely linked to Platen; he was a simple, open-minded boy, he hated pedantry, hardly loved by the authorities, he blamed Platen’s lamentations but praised his poems and was interested in them.

The two Fugger brothers loved Platen too, and Friedrich, the eldest, enthusiastic about Goethe, will remain in the history of German literature related to the name of Platen, honored by his long, tender and modest friendship.

Friedrich Fugger was linked above all to Wilhelm Gumppenberg and joined to him by his love for music. Count Fugger later put many of Platen’s poems into music, and in college he already shared his aversion to drinkers’ songs.

But of all these friendships, the most tender was that for Joseph Xylander. They had met in college for three years, before getting to know each other better. They had this happiness in March 1810, and until the autumn of that year, when Platen left, they enjoyed an almost romantic friendship.

Platen wrote for him many poems that Xylander never saw. He also wrote a hymn to friendship, novels and a comedy, parodies and satires, which made him unwelcome in the environment.

All these attempts were destroyed before the end of 1810. The reading of Homer enthused him and transported him to the Greek world. that was so dear to him.

The war of 1809 with Austria taught him to keep quiet.

The Bavarians loved Napoleon: Platen would have preferred the success of the Austrians, and when Munich was occupied by the Austrians and the Austrian officers came to visit the school of the Cadets, Platen hid his sympathies.

In September 1810 Platen left the Cadets and became one of the king’s Pages. Before joining the group of the Pages he spent two months in his father’s house. He had suffered greatly, leaving Xylander.

At the age of 14, Platen’s character seems to have been well defined: love for poetry and friendship, friendship for young people of his age, educated, serious, and at the same time an exclusively sentimental attachment for someone a little younger than him, and then a lot of stubbornness, sensitivity and ability to suffer, a solid patriotic point of view and a desire to love, to be loved, and to get better.

This is the boy who twenty years old will write in his diary that God, chastity, friendship and learning are the basis of his system.

He rested in the group of Pages from 1810 until 1815. His first impression was sad: he had no friends. They looked at him with indifferent eyes. He had no one to confide in. Little by little he found himself well. Count Kuenigl, whom he knew, came to his aid. Among the Pages there was much more education than among the Cadets, there was more freedom, more cleanliness, the food was better. The clothes were more beautiful, and you could change clothes when you wanted. They were treated like elder boys. You could work on your own and you could read all the classic books.

He loved Latin and Greek, Italian and English. He always wrote a lot and destroyed what he had written. The king was very good with the Pages, and court ceremonies were fun for them. Platen slowly made friends, but not a close friend. A certain Count Lodron Laterano was of some importance to him, making him love Italian. Baron Perglas, a young man with an iron zeal, stimulated him at work, as well as the Counts Gajetan Berchem and Saporta. But he had above all confidence in a certain baron Massenbach, a very honest boy. All were useful for his education. He was weakly religious and prayed fervently only in the unpleasant moments, but he never completely forgot to pray decently, without mumbling. His first communion in 1811 gave him many good intentions.

Professor Hafner, the most important man in the school of Pages, did much to amuse and grow the Pages. He took them to the museums at the Academy, read for them aloud, and when the Pages were in bed he told them stories.

In 1813 Platen decided to become official, not out of affection for the military state, but because this state, according to him, involved more free time and more freedom.

His poetic future always tormented him, he wanted to write a tragedy on Corradino, the friendship of the young Frederick for Corradino had to fill more than one good scene. It is interesting that at the age of seventeen he felt obliged to add a girl in love with Corradino, who followed him disguised and unrecognized to Italy.

He had not yet found his literary path.

A few years later, he resumes the theme of Corradino , finds the friendship of Frederick and Corradino more than enough and no longer needs to invent a girl.

Two days before his seventeenth birthday, Platen begins his diary – and will continue until his death, for twenty-five years. – There are some diary pieces in French, others in English, Italian and Portuguese.

He had the passion to read poets in their own language, and he learned Spanish, Swedish, Danish and Persian.

In his eighteenth year, he thinks he is in love with a young Marquise Euphrasia, the most beautiful girl in the court. He goes to live in the same house, he sees her from time to time, but he realizes in the same year that he was wrong, and leaves the good widow, where he is staying, and the mother of this excellent person, with much more regret than that he felt in leaving the Marquise Euphrasia.

He notices this sentimental error, the only one of his life, it seems, and quickly dissipated. I don’t think any other woman really interested him after that. This passing interest in Euphrasia is a curious and instructive moment in the history of Platen. The need to focus on someone and be interesting, the idea that one should be tenderly in love with someone, the monotony of his life, give him this illusion.

Not many unisexuals have let themselves be so easily illuminated as Platen; the collapse of an ordinary superficial love made them seek out insistently the feelings and emotions that the woman can give, but Platen did not restart at all. He already had enough desires, enough aspirations. He wanted to see foreign countries, Italy, London, Rome.

On March 31st, 1814 he became a lieutenant. He does not like the company of the officers. He comforts himself reading a lot, working a lot. He is quite upset by the license of the costumes around him. He learns that a young poet, named Hesse, sent verses to Goethe and received a reply from him. He is very impressed, he wonders if his verses are worthy of such an expedition.

In the middle of his imagination for Euphrasia a sudden friendship for a young man, Issel, is enough to show the most lively interest of Platen for friendship.

Issel is a young painter and the Grand Duke of Darmstadt makes him travel. At the beginning (the friendship begins on May 28th and ends in June: therefore, above all, it didn’t last long), Issel did not interest him, then he noticed in this painter a great variety of interests, a pure taste in art, a lot of cordiality, lots of attention. Issel would have left after eight or nine days.

Knowing that Platen is interested in poetry, Issel tells him that he had received from young Voss a curl from Schiller’s hair cut after his death and offers to share it with him.

Left together by the friend who had made them meet, they spoke of foreign languages, of Goethe’s works, of such a short life and of such a long art. Issel lives by Nathan Schlichtegroll and advises Platen to get to know him. Then they discuss the reform of the mystical school of Schlegel, of Werner that Issel knows. Issel asks Platen to accompany him to Italy. Platen doesn’t understand how a man of so much spirit can be interested in him.

They often meet after this first meeting. One day Issel begs Platen to read to him some poems [1] and reads to him his own. The next day, Platen reads to him several other poems but then regrets having done so. He feels sad, he thinks he has profaned the paradise of his thoughts having introduced there a stranger. It is possible that Issel (mediocre poet after all), had not appreciated Platen enough. Platen promises to stop writing the verses and frowns at the thought of the loneliness that awaits him. The next day comes the reconciliation: they spend a nice evening together.

Isssel begs him not to abandon poetry, and the next day sends him Schiller’s hair and receives a poem in return. On June 6th Issel tells him he wrote a tragedy (whistled in Frankfurt, about the Countess Platen who played an important role in the court of the Duke of Brunswick, father of George I of England). On the same day, Platen learns that he must bring carts with tents to Battenberg in Tyrol. Issel comforts him, offering to accompany him. The same evening he drinks to his brotherhood with him and Schlichtegroll.

The 9th, Issel and Platen leave together, discussing abuot Dr. Gall, whom Issel knew, reading Wallenstein.

The 10th Platen is happy to see a so beautiful landscape in such a dear company. The same day they have problems. Issel hurts his self-love, then accuses him of curiosity, indiscretion, etc.. Platen finds it offensive to justify himself. They don’t talk any more.

Anyway, climbing up a hill, he meets Issel, who descends, who shouts to have engraved the name of Platen on a stone. When he and Issel leave permanently, Platen regrets having set him aside for his irritable mood and admits that his stubbornness will make him unhappy and will remove many men from him. And he spends two days after Issel’s departure to write several songs.

On June 17th he returned to Munich.

I told this episode in detail, because we can find there what characterizes and strongly distinguishes Platen: his enthusiasm for his young friend, intelligent, cultured, or who wanted to teach or learn. Naturally melancholic himself (since he had left his father’s house), the joy of those he likes, the sweet and calm mood, the laughter of his friend, make him jump with joy. Issel was elder than him, it’s true, but Platen was very young then, he was eighteen.

Later, when he gets to a higher degree of maturity, his friend will be a little younger, young enough to give him the impression of a beautiful youth, but big enough to resemble him, to share his tastes.

Platonic love (philosophical or honorable) has always delighted Platen; for those different from him he had friendship, affection, gratitude, respect. But his passion was directed towards those who seemed to him similar, more beautiful and with more virtuous grace.

This episode of Issel did not last long, but shows Platen at 18 as at 12, who fell in love immediately, expecting to find everything and not always finding great things (as in this Issel) but in any case not finding happiness.

This is the love at the same time intellectual, passionate and sentimental that has made him suffer so much, but that has also kept him intact and dignified. When he wrote the rules of conduct at the age of 20, one was to forget what is sensual in him; another was avoid to study the mystery of physiognomy in the people who interest him, not to think of the absent, to perfect himself, to improve himself.

Even if he says that we must not think of those who are absent, we should not believe him indifferent to his friends; on the contrary, he has been faithful to them, but it is to whom is more than a friend that he tries not to think too much to be able to work and live.

We can already see the difference between Platen and a dissolute; he never seeks rare sensations, but a lasting and fascinating love.

He would have retreated in horror to the loves of Oscar Wilde, in front of the venal loves that are not the quintessence of two noble and manly existences.

In the middle of 1814 he did not recognize himself neither as a man nor as a poet, he is not interested in Euphrasia enough for her to inspire or occupy him. The military state does not suit him, he is advised to study the sciences, poetry still doesn’t belong to him, he goes groping, he has not found himself. His friends are not in Munich, they dispersed. He doesn’t have time to read enough. Nature doesn’t fascinate him when he is alone or bored. However, he reads a lot and in many languages, Petrarca, Dante, the Pastor Fido, Pope, Corneille, Voltaire, Racine, Boileau, etc., and always Goethe. You could apply to Goethe, he said then, what about Goethe said Hamann: “His works are often sibylline books that are understood only when we are in the same situation as the poet.” And we see, for example, Platen at different times of his life who reads and re-reads Goethe, with so much profit as admiration. And as he is in different situations, the same work of Goethe becomes increasingly clear, true and moving. For example, “The natural daughter”, which he doesn’t appreciate at all at the beginning, and which he later admires for its spirit in 1814, becomes for him in 1821, after the tragic sinking of his great passion for Otto von Bulow, a precious mirror of his own pain.

Now he is consoled of his emptiness and of his boredom, of his life that he waits with the discouraged impatience of youth, reading and writing in English with Perglas, reading with him also Virgil and Tasso, skating, concentrating on policy. When Napoleon returns from the island of Elba, he feels a patriotic enthusiasm but Wiebeking spoils this feeling: “If you were to go to serve as a simple soldier for the freedom of Europe you could claim a small part of glory, but you are an officer, and there are many officers. It would be very easy to replace you. You could serve your homeland in a more useful way.”

On November 30th, he reads in a newspaper some maxims drawn from oriental poetry, and copies a certain number of them, struck without knowing why, excited as you can be vaguely in the presence of an important event. Persian poetry was about to express after a short time his secret ideal.

In the spring of 1815 he feels happier, he goes to the English garden every morning to pick up daffodils and to read the Pastor Fido. He writes patriotic poems that serious men read with pleasure. On April 15th, his regiment sets off and arrives at Fontainebleau on July 19th and Platen is back in Germany in November. He seems to have well endured the discomforts of the march, the oppressive heat. His diary is very nice and likeable. He is kindly interested in the good people he meets, he reads very much Petrarch, Jacopone da Todi, Goethe, Eulenspiegel, Eloisa and Abelardo by Pope, that he continually re-reads. He admires gardens, flowers, envies calm and familiar joys, he would like to have with Goethe only a conversation about the destiny of humanity and the spirit of Christianity; then he finds the true letters of Eloisa much more beautiful than those of Pope, and so true. He reads his mother’s letters with great pleasure, writes in prose and verse to Xylander and other friends. The French peasants fascinate him, their kindness, their language enchant him. He is quite isolated among the officers, he totally hates their excesses and their lascivious conversations that he does not take part in. A poem shows how much he suffered from the unpleasant immorality of his companions. At Bar-le-Duc, he is also shocked by the corruption of French books he has found in his room, and his landlady amazes him by saying: Read, my friend, because it is the reading that educates young people.

In Châlons he has the joy not only to meet his friend Schlichtegroll, but also to meet a young German, the secretary of Barclay de Tolly, who tells him that he already knows him very well through Schlichtegroll’s stories. Platen is quite impressed with this observation. In Nemours, he is also happy in the garden of a certain doctor Micheleau whose wife is no longer young, but is so sweet and caring. He speaks French with her with pleasure, and speaks English with an old English lady who lends him some English books. He leaves these kind people with regret and even an old 86-year-old curate, very realist, who says Mass every Sunday, with no other company than his dog and especially his canary, which had been given to him by a certain Rouxelle, a radical, anti-Christian, separated from his Catholic wife, and who lives with his servant, without baptizing his children. “One can be a good man, said the curate, without being a Christian.”

He likes a lot the sub-prefect of Tonnerre, a delightful city, who is a charming young man, the most beautiful model imaginable for a young Roman. On October 6th, he gathers with some old comrades and other young educated men, and Platen can sincerely rejoice by taking part in an intelligent conversation, unambiguously and in a pure dialect. On November 2, he writes in his diary that shame is natural, the shamelessness is acquired. It is certain that Platen was fundamentally modest and full of modesty. On November 3rd, in Troyes, he buys Bérenice, his favorite Racine tragedy. And he notes that in a shop of a rich shopkeeper he saw a clerk, who looked a lot like his friend Xylander.

Back in Germany, he tries to build a system of morals and conduct based on: God, a severe morality, the desire to learn, the love for friends. Without these principles, how can you be happy? How can we fail to aspire to what is higher, how can we do without the chastity of the body and the spirit, the love of study, the friends? And he finds more and more that he cannot argue with young men who speak only of horses, dogs and pleasures, who have neither seriousness in their character nor the desire to perfect themselves and to improve themselves. He feels enriched by everything he has seen, read, thought during this year.

In 1816, he went to Switzerland; in 1817 in the mountains of Bavaria. He still reads a lot of Pascal, Ariosto, Homer, Horace, Alfieri (with whom he finds several similarities) [2], Tasso, Goethe, Byron, Camoens, Calderon, etc.. He makes many projects of tragedies, heroic poems and other things, with all the effervescence of a talent that wanders. He recognized himself in a book on temperament in the chapter: “The sensual melancholic”. There are many impulses of friendship-love that lead nowhere, and yet he is fierce against those who seek him. He has a very masculine nature in its virtues, as in its defects. He must be the one who loves, who discovers, who distinguishes, and demands a sympathy that he doesn’t find at all. You can see, comparing the published fragments of his diary and his poems of that time, as some friends, such as Voelderndorf, worried him and interested him. He reports in the diary every time he meets a young man, polite and kind; he no doubt builds a scaffold of hope every time. He notes in a beautiful poem the sudden emotion of a friend at the sight of Platen and wonders if he is the poet who made his friend’s heart beat, or if it is a coincidence.

At that time, Platen would settle for very little, but he would not be surprised to get everything. He believes he has become very reasonable, he believes he has renounced the dreams that made his life bearable. He is full of modesty, of distrust, he doesn’t believe in his vocation, he is grateful when he is encouraged. He would like to have an advisor, he has too much false shame to cultivate those who could help him. He finds a passage in the Confessions of Rousseau that applies to him, the union “of a very ardent temperament, of lively passions and of ideas slow to be born, embarrassed, and which don’t show up except in hindsight.” He thinks is own merit consists in his struggle to arrive at truth and goodness. Journeys are an exquisite distraction for him. I think it is impossible to read his impressions of travel without feeling sympathy for him.

The day before his twenty-first birthday, one of his poems is published, he immediately sends copies to his parents, to Max von Gruber, to Fugger, to Dall ‘Armi, to Perglas, etc.. His friend Schlichtegroll, who had twenty-five copies, sends one to the painter Issel, and Platen receives from him a leaf grown on the tomb of Virgil.

Despite his friends, who all love the letters and the sciences, for him the life in Munich becomes unbearable and the desire to know, to learn grows so much in him, that he gets by the king to be sent to a university, first to Würzburg and then to Erlangen, first for a year and then for a longer period. The king paid him 600 guldens a year (it was a privilege granted to some of the Pages), his father gave him 300, and he received 12 monthly as an officer. After six months in Würzburg, Schelling, whom he had known as a child, kept him in Erlangen. Platen stays there until 1826.

As soon as he arrives in Erlangen, the change of environment, the professors who are interested in him, the students around him, the ardor of work, make him eventually find his poetic path. He starts writing admirable songs that only injustice has made less known than those of Heine.

Platen must now be pervaded by his masculine ideal, by his masculine love. He loves in silence, he declares himself. “You call me to a painful duty. Yet for one last time I would embrace you, don’t remember me anything before. Who could approach you with indifference, who could coldly see the beautiful, the divine figure, the divine, the beautiful form. Study my life; examine it to see if I have ever been burned by a guilty love, it is only your Dionysiac presence that has conquered my heart.”

“You say I was wrong, you swear to me, but I know you loved me, but now you don’t love me anymore. Your beautiful eyes burned, kisses burned even more, you loved me, confess it, but now you don’t love me anymore. I don’t count on any return of your love. Just confess that you loved me and you don’t love me anymore.”

It is impossible to know to whom these verses are addressed, but they are easy to decipher. Platen, always looking for a fraternal and passionate soul, must have had several disappointments; he was loved calmly, superficially, but not with passion, and probably those who would love him with passion, physically, would not have attracted him. Because in him the senses were confused when the imagination became inflamed.

In 1820 he writes (February 24th): “Never investigate my secret, you must not deepen it, the sympathy will reveal it to you, if we understand each other. Don’t ask what separates us. It is enough that we are separated from one another. What surrounds me, does not understand me and overwhelms me and pushes me, but if I try to console myself in poetry I find myself completely.”

Platen, finally understood his unisexual love and has not been damaged or depraved by this fact.

He is 24 years old, he is ardent, in love, and wants to love only in his own way and only the one whom he thinks worthy of being loved.

He wants passionately to find him, throws himself to his search, recovers, and then is happy with the rest of his heart and his job. On May 10th 1820: “Spring has invited everyone, but not me. He saw me as a prisoner, I was attached to his cheeks, to that face. Now I am free, now spring arrives, only now I can fully enjoy it, even if I’m calmer and calmer than streams and roses.”

In July, he feels again in love. But in the month of August he finds that only the echo has remained. His heart asks for love but he doesn’t know whom to love. This condition of uncertainty of desire tears off him many of the most beautiful poems of German literature.

He is very interested in Persian, studies Hafiz, writes fascinating Ghaselen very well received and appreciated, then comes to his great passion for Otto von Bulow in 1821; on July 13th he makes his acquaintance. He was a young dragon officer in Hanover, who had been given permission to spend a year at the University of Erlangen. He was joyous, light, without affectation and without arrogance, always kind and lovable.

Platen, melancholic in nature, who noted with joy and amazement the two friends with whom he had laughed a lot during his life, falls madly, passionately, platonically in love with Otto von Bulow. He reads Shakespeare’s sonnets greedily and finds there all his affection for Bulow. Full of Hafiz and his love, he finds finally the dreamed and desired ideal, we cannot be surprised by the speed with which the passion of Platen was exalted for his “beautiful friend”, as Fugger calls him in his letters to Platen. The poet’s literary activity naturally increases a lot; he studies oriental books and literature, books are brought from London, Vienna, Munich. He reads Calderon and Sophocles, and welcomes the profound religious sentiment that penetrates Ajax. During a brief absence of Bulow, he writes a poem about him where the name of Bulow is found in each stanza. We see his glory but also the fear that Bulow on the chest of a beautiful girl, is perhaps making fun of his friend. “I should die if I did not write to you; forgive me, Bulow, to love you so much. Who would not be chained by these eyes and these cheeks? Who would not like such joy, but above all a heart so honest? The beautiful Bulow doesn’t give it if not to goodness.”

This happiness (I think it is ridiculous to doubt the chastity of such an eloquent and exalted love at that time) did not last long. In early September, Bulow is recalled to his country and Platen accompanies him to Goettingen.

There, abandoned to his despair, he composes most of the “Ghaselen” of the Hafiz Mirror, which exclusively reflects Platen’s love for Bulow. He reads Cervantes, Persiles and Sigismunde, and other books in different languages.

He meets Goethe, and others, but without making any profit, because he receives a letter from Bulow telling him he is forced to stay in Hanover. The despair of Platen appears in his letters to Fugger. He swears he will no more write poems before he sees Bulow again. The delicacy of heart and spirit of the faithful Fugger is recognized by reading his letters. He doesn’t try to console his poor friend by recommending him resignation or oblivion. Instead, he advises him to hope for an encounter with Bulow; Bulow, he says, cannot forget him or stop being grateful [3]. Fugger also comes to spend some time with Platen, in Erlangen, to distract him.

In December 1821, Platen dreams of making a long trip during the Easter period to see Bulow again. He would have traveled on foot, spending about two guldens a day. He would not have had enough money to see Bulow for long, but at least he would have seen him; he could also go to the beach with him.

He reads the Bible every night in bed, and on January 1st he gets the idea of writing a drama about David and Jonathan, which he had already thought of in the past.

On February 3th, he sees the charming Liebig and makes his acquaintance on 17th. The famous scientist was not yet 20 years old and was then, as a long time later, extremely attractive. A tender friendship immediately linked him to Platen. On February 17th Platen writes: “He has clear ideas in everything and knows what he wants; the more two men approach each other, the more they try to reveal themselves to each other, the more they become enigmatic, and only a superficial man can believe that two men really know each other.” He writes verses for Liebig. Liebig left Erlangen almost immediately and in May spent a couple of days with Platen in Darmstadt; he never saw Platen again, but they continued to write, to love each other, to respect each other, and Liebig later publicly witnessed his friendship for Platen. The latter did not go to meet Bulow, for reasons I don’t know. Was it because of lack of money, or did Bulow get too cold for him? In any case, he announced to Fugger, when he returned from his trip, that he only went to Cologne. Explanations were given verbally.

A new passion seems to have taken possession of him, or rather it is the same passion for an ideal that cannot tame or hold back. It is Cardenio whom he considers the new symbol, the new incarnation of his idol. On July 22nd 1822, he wrote an epistle in verse, another on August 19th. He wrote several Ghaselen and in 1823 seven sonnets in Cardenio, and on March 13th a Ghasele (to Krieger, a student in Erlangen), which seems to close the episode: “The edifice of hope is dissolving – and yet we were so well together – dark hair, my face … ” the poems dedicated to Cardenio are among the most autobiographical and clearest.

Platen denies always to burn of a forbidden love, [4] and complains about the cruelty of his friend. Cardenio is cold and proud, thin and sweet. – In the evening Platen saw him working with his curly hair illuminated by the lamp. Cardenio is his last hope, there are times when he thinks they both suffer the same way. He cannot understand if he inspires hatred, a predilection for him or indifference.

Ah! if he could only rest on Cardenio’s beloved breast. Ah! No, because a more beautiful head rests on his chest; “Take this letter, give it to your beloved so that he can ask himself if he feels in himself a consistency like mine.”

He wishes to be the pipe between the lips of Cardenio, who receives his perpetual kiss, envies his cap, he who almost never could touch his hair. He was illuminated one winter evening by Cardenio who wore a torch, and this memory inspires a beautiful sonnet. – After long trials and long doubts, it seems that the enemies of Platen (the poets have always enemies, especially those sober, those closed and those austere who don’t allow themselves too much) have indisposed Cardenio against his friend. A casual fact left them alone all night, and Platen dared to put his arm around Cardenio and confess his love. Cardenio did not seem shy at all, and did not retreat, seemed to be acquiescent with his silence, and Platen left him, drunk with love, believing that their souls were melting, that their hearts went to beat one beside the other, believing that Cardenio belonged to him, but the following days Cardenio became colder, harder and harder, and Platen let himself go to the love lamentations. If his wish had been guilty he would have understood that coldness; all sadden him; he had a spotless mirror in which to look at himself, now he cannot be reflected in what is dead, and hide all the pains that are being prepared for him.

Platen’s wishes are specified: rest on the chest of an intellectual friend, handsome and trustworthy seems to be Platen’s amorous ideal. Three years later, in 1826, the same ideal will be found in the sonnets in Karl-Theodor German, and also in the great triumphal sonnet that is near the end of the sonnets.

This loving aspiration without a sexual purpose pronounced or admitted made the furious and trivial Heine call Platen “tribade man”.

In any case, Platen’s desire, in his orientation and intensity, is absolutely uranian, platonic, unisexual. Sodomy, sexual intercourses are very far from this love; and this is probably what helps him to recover, in Platen’s eyes, what makes him call it an innocent love. From the point of view of religion or the code of social conventions, obviously, one could say that this type of chastity is dangerous and reprehensible, but how can the lover judge in this way a tyrannical love, which asks nothing of what the debauchery demands?

“My love may not be praiseworthy, says Platen one day, but it seems foolhardy to blame it.”

Platen has never been false or hypocritical; and when he proclaimed his love for Otto von Bulow and for Cardenio, he sincerely believed he loved in an elevated and dignified way. He believed in decentralizing the sexual instinct, transfiguring the senses, making them feel spiritual sensations, and consoling the soul by teaching it bodily emotions. “I am for you what the soul is for the body, what the body is for the soul, I am for you what the woman is for the man, [5] what the man is for the woman” He says in a Ghasele, and so frankly expresses the nature of his love. It is the passion of similarity, of homosexuality, which pushes Platen.

The uranism, the unisexuality are different in him in this way: put aside the female sex, his love is addressed neither to the effeminate, nor to the very young, nor to mature men.
Platen has always been in one piece, direct, and as such has also been treated by many illustrious men, with respect and consideration. The list of contemporaries who have paid homage to his character and talent is long and contains noble names. “I, who have never loved art or half-beauty, have the right, he says, to make accents rarely heard”, and it is certainly what his friends thought. Goethe has made a point of honor to publicly pay tribute to Platen and to assert his superiority over Ruckert.

In 1823, after the disappointment of Cardenio, Platen wrote with inspiration and ease several poems, and thanks to the letters of Liebig, thanks to the friendship of Professor Engelhardt, of Schelling, of Bruchmann, of the scientist Doellinger, of Kernell, a young hectic with whom he studied the Swedish, saw splendid days. This is the culmination of his stay in Erlangen. In Platen, who has nothing of the erotomaniac or degenerate, the sufferings of love are followed by a great intellectual activity, as happens to all superior men who don’t seek oblivion in dissipation or pleasure.

He writes in five days “The glass slipper”, a fairy tale. The Swedish phlegmatic Kernell was so fascinated that he threw himself at the Platen’s neck; and the story, read to friends and their wives and sisters, was very successful.

The last Ghaselen were very well received. Platen receives an interesting letter from Cassel, from Ludwig-Sigismund Ruhl, [6]. Ruhl tells him that sympathy is a mystery that he does not want to deepen. The first verses of Platen had already made him known a sympathy that we feel for a few people. He seems to have understood Platen before Platen understood himself and didn’t hesitate to tell him. If they will ever meet, Platen will be able to convince himself of the relationship between their minds and their lives. He wants an answer. Platen asks for his portrait and receives it accompanied by an enthusiastic letter.

Dramatic poetry now interests Platen. He writes the Treasury of Rhampstnit, Aucassin and Nicolette. On 21st August 1824 he goes to Venice. His first volume of comedies earned him 154 florins. Hanover’s aunt sent him six gold louis.

Venice inspired him the admirable Venetian sonnets, and he was enthusiastic about Italian painters, for the gospel of beauty. His artistic taste is perfected and matures progressively.

Venice makes him forget his past life, and he lives in a present without yesterday.

The October 24 he celebrates his birthday in Venice going in the morning to see the Barbara by Palma in the church of Santa Maria Formosa, then Tiziano and Bellini in S. Giovanni e Paolo, then the Cristo by Campagna in San Giuliano, then goes to S. Crisostomo to see Piombo, then to San Samuele to see the “Sebastiano” by Veronese, I don’t continue the itinerary. On November 9th, he leaves Venice and on the 19th he arrives in Munich after seven years of absence. He thinks that he had been happy, unknown and busy there. He goes to see Xylander and his wife and other friends, old and new. He is celebrated, his sonnets are applauded.

He sees again after seven years Euphrasia, whom he had believed to love, and that no other woman had come to erase in his mind. He comes back to Erlangen which now bores him, is punished militarily for having passed his period of military leave, and remains from January 2 till to March 22th at the arrests in Nuremberg. He reads a lot in this period and writes in prose and verse.

On March 23th, he receives a letter from a melancholic poetess, in love with Platen. He does not like Erlangen anymore after Venice and Munich. His friends are too busy, and he needs to see new faces, new places.

On June 14th in Erlangen one of his plays is staged (Aucassin and Nicolette) with great success in front of a young and friendly audience.

He’s acclaimed by the public and is brought to the scene almost in spite of himself. Schelling after the show gathers friends to honor the poet.

Here the fragments of the diary that we owe to Professor Engelhardt and Karl Pfeufer stop. [7]

In 1826 Platen wrote a comedy in the style of Aristophanes and also twenty-six sonnets in Karl-Theodor German, sonnets and elegies, of rebellion, of desires, of passion. In a letter to Fugger, he says that the author of the play is the most unfortunate of men.

These sonnets in Karl-Theodor German are among the most beautiful in German literature. Platen in the sonnet flies above all German poets, including Goethe. The perfection of form, the poignant and sumptuous emotion is reflected in them perfectly. The feeling is the same as Shakespeare’s sonnets (with the personal note) and the form is that of the Italian or French sonnet. Platen in his sonnets has reached one of the peaks of poetry. He apparently received no hostility and evil from this German, but was once again persecuted by his unhappy choice. Those he loved the most were taken away by the absence or never belonged to him. He was always ready to love faithfully, constantly, always, and never had the opportunity to prove his sincerity, but he kept at least one promise, to give immortality, celebrity.

Who would know Otto von Bulow or Karl-Theodor German without the great poet?

The last sonnet (the twenty-first) [8] of the poet soaked in bitterness ends like this: “How tired I am of my country!”

And in the same year he went to Italy where he stayed until his death in Syracuse, with the exception of a trip to Munich to see his beloved mother who became a widow.

The collection of ninety seven sonnets ends in a surprising and unique way. After having consoled himself of his sufferings of love, remembering that he has always restored the balance of his life with all the strength and all the dignity of his soul, the poet who has so loved and suffered so much, ends with an epithalamy of unisexual love victorious and with his own epitaph, saying calmly what he did, boasting that pure style that has not been overcome, his odes and sonnets, and his influence on the German language.

He arrived in Rome on the thirtieth anniversary of his birth and died in Syracuse December 5th 1835.

This is not a biography of Platen, nor even his literary history. For this reason, a few lines will suffice. Having had great success (and being conscious of it) in the Ghasele, in the song, and in the sonnet, the ode is the only lyrical form that enchants him and he writes odes ever more complicated and formally rigorous. Now he knows himself thoroughly. What amuses the others down there in his country does not amuse him. Nature, for his suffering, honed his hearing and allowed him to use music to perpetuate all pain. He has been slandered and, despite his silence, he suffers a lot. Even in politics (and politics interests him more and more) he cannot say what he thinks. We must therefore put aside (he tells in an ode) the mantle of illusion, the embroidered garment of the senses.

And the following ode, with its love melancholy of honey kisses, its sighs and its looks, messengers of happiness, perhaps, and the silence and darkness, show that the poetic sentiment did not even sleep in this attractive Italy. Did he not then frequently see a young Italian artist, the most beautiful creature he had ever met? But soon his goodness, his affection and his desire to be useful bind him to August Kopisch, musician and poet, who himself expressed his gratitude to his illustrious friend.

“Our bond is not like the most part of the bonds, said Platen, our witnesses are the sea and the earth. The image of your image for a long time was in me, from the moment in which the vocation to friendship had awakened in my soul that longs to see itself again, but more noble, in another person. Chest against chest, servants of love, let us build a new Rome to that love.”

After 1829 the love poems cease. That year the Romantic Oedipus appears, a great comedy in the style of Aristophanes; then, in 1833, a history of the Kingdom of Naples from 1414 to 1443, then the League of Cambrai; then, in 1834, the beautiful poem in nine songs, the Abassids; then, in 1854, the second edition of his poems. After his death his political poems were published.

The climate of Italy, his many Italian friends, the Germans who traveled there, the admirers who wrote to him, his friends in Germany who always loved him, and the absence of the coercions he had undergone in Germany, certainly made him more happy the years of Italy. And one can be sure that even in this voluptuous Italy and less hypocritical than his Bavaria, Platen didn’t renounce either his principles or his dignity. The pleasure without love never inspired him, and a poet so autobiographical would have surely sung the beautiful bodies and the classic caresses if venal love had played an important role in his life. And a man so honest and truthful (his mother, who survived him, said he never told a lie), if he wrote, he would write the truth. Before 1829 there are still very beautiful odes of love, and one would be surprised if after suffering so much to love without body, Platen had not been tempted by bodies without souls; tempted, but not defeated.

When it will be decided to publish Platen’s complete diary, I think that morality, psychology and literature will gain a lot.

Platen is, in my opinion, clearly the male poet and uranist of the enthusiastic friendship and higher uranism. And, as he himself said, if it is impossible to praise his conception of love, it is foolhardy to blame it. He wanted to satisfy in the most intellectual and ideal the needs of his delicate and ardent nature, always seeking the image he had within himself, trying to find this very noble mirror, not content with any other consolation that friendship and art, when he lacked love. Because you must not confuse his friendships and his loves. His friendships were lasting because they were based on his solid virtues; his loves were not because they were an illusion, an ideal to be pursued, of symbols of worship.

“Are there two souls that understand each other completely? He said; man must seek the answer to this enigma, looking for men like him, until death, until he can seek and die.”

In a letter to Schwab Guslav, from Rome, February 16th 1828, Platen talks about a young Waiblinger who had written a poem for him and wanted one. The poet refused because this Waiblinger repelled him too much. “He has talent, but not enough. His stay in Italy is fatal. His poems are no better because he puts inside the Pantheon, the Colosseum, etc. .. But how do you want him to became a Sophocles when he lived like a pig, which he admits every day, because his frankness, he is not afraid of be disgusting. Lord Byron, it is true, was able to give some credentials to the libertine geniuses, but certainly he did not behave badly not even a half of what they said, and then lived in luxury and did not need to attend taverns and brothels.”

Relationships between truthfulness, lies and sexual life are tight. The effeminate people are liars at all levels, from the meticulous perfidy to the unconsciousness, to the incontinence of falsehoods. They observe things badly and report badly what they have observed. The exaggerations of lies and sexuality are well known from hysteric, sick, criminal, insane people.

The courtesans or the independents, Ninon de l’Enclos and her followers have sometimes boast to be honest, which is very difficult for many effeminate men, and even impossible for a certain number.

The uranist, the unisexual male, like Platen or Michelangelo, who is sincere with himself and with others, is in a particular position as regards his sexuality, once he has reached the age of reason. His fiery, lively, flammable temperament makes him want furiously a complete love without fear, without restraint and without suspicion, the determination in love, at the same time, has an ideal of which it would not know how to do without. He cannot pretend to love someone who doesn’t seem worthy to him just to achieve the sweetness of illusion. The effeminate, the presumptuous, the greedy, the fickle, the curious man, those who would abandon themselves to appearances for a little fun, cannot understand the position of the uranist whom truth and truthfulness defend from frivolous pleasures, from deceiver passions, from relationships that don’t last, and that give too much to do, too much to hope for, in order to get drunk with the pleasures of the street Eros.

Let’s teach first of all truth, veracity, sincerity, if we want the sexual man, heterosexual or unisexual, do not stumble under the weight of his sexuality.

[1] Subject of these youthful poems is the love of a girl for her beloved.
[2] The same timidity, the same “taciturna natura” (“taciturn nature”) [in Italian in the text], the same slowness and “ritrosità” (“backwardness”) [in Italian in the text] towards new knowledges, the same stubbornness, the same obstinacy. He was pleased, like him, to be noble because he could more easily despise the prejudices of his caste without being accused of envy. He didn’t even like dance. He could not get used to military coercion, and always felt a certain melancholy when he didn’t like someone or something.
[3] Once again I have to neglect several interesting nuances and several delicate shades.
[4] Like Michelangelo in many poems.
[5] Heine has committed the vulgar action of mentioning only this hemistich and not the next.
[6] A biography of this interesting man is desirable.
[7] Published in 1860.
[8] To K. T. German.

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I’m 27, many years, in theory too many if I had to start thinking about happiness now. What have I done up to now? I tried to lay the foundations … now I can finally think about putting the roof over it. I got out of high school at age 19, I took the first degree at 22, there I lost one year, I told my parents that I had lost the year because an exam had gone wrong but in reality the reason was very different and you will understand soon how things went. Now I’m an Engineer in a big waste disposal plant. I started working last year just before Christmas.

I try to ask myself the questions you would ask me. How does the emotional life go? I reply that, all in all, during all these years, even if sex was a very rare reality, I had my gratifications. At the beginning of the university I had in mind that my goal was only to graduate as soon as possible. I never haunted locals, I don’t like spending the night out. My fixed idea was to shorten the times. I didn’t have the problem of coming out, I simply didn’t do it with my family or with my friends, with one exception, but you’ll understand in a bit. It was not an ideological choice, only a postponement of my emotional life after graduation and after finding a job. In fact at the beginning I was living strictly monastic, university and study and that was all.

Nevertheless my emotional life has found a sense and a turning point right at the university, when I least expected it, because I was going to university just to study, the idea of chasing guys seemed nothing more than a way of wasting time and delaying even further the solution of my problems. There were so many guys I liked but I deliberately put the topic aside. I liked in another way only one guy, his name is Camillo, a name that seemed strange but that now seems to me the most beautiful in the world. I looked at Camillo but nothing more. We greeted each other when we were in class, in the morning I took the place for him and he took it for me, but these things also happened with other guys.

One day the professor didn’t come and we chatted a bit. I kept myself at a distance and I was just talking about the university, at one point he asked me when I would give analysis, I told him in June and he told me: “Would you like to try to study together?” I immediately said yes, then I regretted it because I thought he would have made me waste time, I wanted to say that I had changed my mind but a little I didn’t have the face to do it and a little Camillo was just my type of a handsome guy. So we started studying together. Sometimes I wanted to take a break and have a chat and maybe he wanted it too but then we did without it and we continued to study. Studying with Camillo was productive and at the same time pleasant.

Practically for months we have only studied together, at the time of the exams we went together to get them and we took the same vote but there was no celebration, after the exam we immediately returned to study for the next one. However, even if we never talked, we were all right with each other. In practice there was only talk about how to schedule the deadlines for the examinations of how to condense the maximum study effort, but it was fine, it was damn fine. We used to see each other once in his house and once in my house.

His parents were a little nosy and wanted to know a lot about me, especially if I had a girlfriend. I played my part pretending to have a girl as if I was straight inventing everything in front of his parents and I acted so well that they believed me. When he took me back to my house, I asked him: “Do you have a girlfriend?” He shocked me saying while he laughed: ”Oh yes! Just like you! Today you have done well to say what you said to my parents because if they get too involved it is a problem.” I replied: “I think you’re right!” This was our mutual coming out, it didn’t last more than 20 seconds.

I wanted to talk a bit but he stopped me: “Now we know why we’re fine together, but together we have so many things to do and we don’t have to take missteps. The engineers first make the foundations and then build on them. We continued to work together like crazy. Then at the third year, at the time of the first level graduation he got sick. No one understood what it was, he always had a little fever, they admitted him for a while to the hospital.

He didn’t seem in bad condition, I used to go to see him to the hospital and I went out of the ward with him to walk in the garden. I went there every day, then he told me he didn’t want me to go so often, he said that if I wanted to make him happy I had to study and then I started going to the hospital no more than once a week. He has had a pneumonia in light form that took a long time, it has not had major consequences but he has been in hospital almost two months. The result of all this was that he failed to do the thesis and to deliver it on time and so he lost a year, I instead took the first degree.

If I have to tell the truth the day I graduated I felt terribly uncomfortable because even if Camillo came to see me, he couldn’t graduate and then I did something that he still scolds me, I stopped studying for a year to wait for him and to start studying together again. And it took a whole year because when he was ill he had practically not studied at all. I would have liked to help him with the exams of the last year but he didn’t want to. This fact put me in trouble but Camillo used to spend the evening with me practically every day and we used to go out for a walk together.

We resumed working together after he graduated. We took the second degree the same day and then I felt realized. Now he works in engineering department of the region and deals with large air-conditioning systems and I take care of the recycling of waste. We decided to take the big step, that is to go to live together but in separate houses … or almost. I try to explain …

Next Monday we have a meeting with the builder to buy an apartment, or rather two apartments, they are two apartments of two rooms each one neighboring one another. The builder will leave them communicating. Two houses and not a big one because now we are fine together but in case of necessity everyone would have his own. Honestly it’s only a theoretical possibility. It will seem absurd, but we have placed two shelves on the open partition so that you cannot see that the two apartments are actually connected. A carpenter will give us two false bottomless cabinets, one different from the other, two and ten meters high so nobody will see that the two apartments are actually a single apartment. It’s not really necessary, let’s say it’s a bit of a strangeness, but we don’t want to let anybody know about us. Yesterday morning his parents and mine came at the same time to see the apartments, they noticed that they were one next to the other but the thing stopped there.

Thanks for reading everything! Good luck!


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This post is dedicated to married gays. I will leave aside all the considerations linked to sexual orientation related to guys who have a straight sex life at the couple level and have a typically gay sex life at the masturbation level, because these considerations have an important meaning only before getting married. I will start here from the situation of married gays, as it showed itself to me through the chats with people living this condition.

The totality (or almost totality) of married gays arrives at the wedding with the full awareness of being gay. These are guys who have been masturbating for years exclusively with gay fantasies, that is, thinking about guys, who often have lived sexual experiences with other guys even after 15/16 years of age and even in adulthood, after 20 years of age, and have considered these experiences as “something that everyone does” (including hetero guys) and therefore not indicative of a gay orientation, even if in reality the involvement of a gay guy in a group masturbation session is very different from that of a straight guy. All this, ignoring seemingly minor episodes, such as experiencing erection in the presence of certain guys or the desire to see them naked in the locker rooms of gyms or swimming pools.

The pressure towards heterosexuality (conscious or unconscious) exerted by the environment on these guys has been so strong as to bring them to stop their gay instincts at the level of masturbation and to orient themselves at the same time towards a couple heterosexual sex.

Generally when a guy who suffered a strong social pressure towards heterosexuality, despite his being gay, that is even though oriented in his free sexuality (which manifests itself in masturbation) towards other guys, experiences for the first time a sexual intercourse with a girl his reaction is not necessarily bad at all and, whatever the level of sexual involvement in the contact with the girl (even minimal) is, that sexual intercourse becomes the typical sign that “the gay problem is overcome”. A gay man is a gay man, not an impotent and, especially when he has lived for years in a situation of substantial sexual deprivation, if he is close to a girl in love with him, in a situation that pushes him to a heterosexual intercourse that has at least some features of intimacy and non-superficial warmth, can very well get to have a heterosexual intercourse somehow satisfying. It is clear that such a intercourse has nothing to do with the expression of the free sexuality of that guy who, even feeling terribly guilty, will continue “episodically” to masturbate thinking about guys, or will eventually completely repress his free sexuality forcing himself to put aside masturbation altogether in the belief that masturbation is the cause of the homosexuality.

The first straight intercourses of a gay guy lead him to the idea of having finally overcome the “gay phase” and to have found a “mature sexuality”. Often, for these guys, the fear that gay impulses will forcefully return to be felt is a push to intensify heterosexual intercourses and to go to marriage quickly. It’s the typical idea: “You saved me from homosexuality”, or: “If I get married and can have sex with her every day I will not think about masturbation and my gay impulses will disappear”. Often, therefore, gay guys who go to the marriage, experience periods of intense heterosexual activity, which however are characterized by a deep sense of ambiguity because in almost all cases, these guys, even making love every day with their girls (or with their young wives, if they have already married them) never talk with their mates about their sexual orientation problems. With wives, in principle, at least for some years after marriage, gay husbands do not even mention the problem of homosexuality, there is therefore no real interpersonal communication between husband and wife, who have daily sexual contacts but without an adequate level of trust and mutual communication.

In a percentage of cases around 10%, the guys talk to the girls openly about their doubts of being homosexuals, doubts that are automatically underestimated by girls, who having a straight sexuality are led to think that their boyfriends, by the simple fact that they have sex with them, can only be straight. Generally, a girl is more afraid of her boyfriend’s infidelity with another girl than of the fact that her boyfriend is gay. In some cases the girl thinks she can sexually reorient her boyfriend towards an exclusive heterosexuality by “sexually cuddling” her boyfriend exasperatedly, what results usually in a very quick and clear reaction of rejection. These attitudes as “Red Cross nurse of love” are lived by the guys as aggressive and not respectful towards them.

In the situations described above, the girl still remains convinced of the substantial heterosexuality of the guy but, in some cases at least (rare but not sporadic) the girl has instead full awareness of the fact that her partner is gay and she accepts him as such, that is, the girl, who is really in love with her boyfriend, consciously agrees to stay close to him without any sexual contact or with a sexual contact limited only to the purpose of conception of children, children who may also be explicitly desired by the guy. These attitudes that have something heroic (in a sense at least) are linked to the fact that the solitude of each of the two spouses with respect to the outside is so strong that they must bind each other with a kind of very close symbiosis in order to survive.

It should be emphasized that when a hug is too tight and too long-lasting it risks taking your breath away. In situations like the one described, mutual dependence is very strong and is felt as a bond that sooner or later ends up becoming constrictive. There are couples, and I have known some, who consciously married only to have children, and there are cases (and I have seen some examples) in which a heterosexual wife helps her gay husband to live like a gay man, an attitude in which the boundaries between pleasure and suffering are very fragile. In all these cases, however (about 15-20% of the total married gays) between husband and wife there is still a frank dialog and at least a relationship of friendship and mutual respect. When a gay guy marries a straight girl and they have no children the problems connected to the possible separation are above all of social and patrimonial nature.

Often a gay guy agrees to be with a girl by excluding in his mind the hypothesis of having children and when he realizes that this hypothesis for his wife is essential, the marriage becomes a kind of imposition for him. When there are children the problem of the relationship of a gay married with his homosexuality is extremely more delicate. The emergence of a homosexual tendency is experienced by a gay man who has children as something that can jeopardize the relationship with the children and the feelings of guilt can be very profound. I met a 49-year-old gentleman a few months ago, who had never had a conscious perception of his homosexuality (an exception in the field of married gays), he had a son more than 20 years old but nevertheless he realized that he had a sexual interest for a work colleague. When this gentleman contacted me in his words I felt a deep anguish, due to the fact that he had never suspected he could be gay and was scared of such idea, because his knowledge of gays derived only from reading newspapers and from attitudes typical of the mass media. This gentleman, whom I had the opportunity to hear several times, sincerely loved his wife and son and came to speak openly with both his wife and his son who accepted it and, paradoxically, this form of sincerity has strengthened family ties. That gentleman agreed to live his sexuality as a very private thing exclusively in terms of masturbation and fantasy, totally giving up the idea of looking for a mate and as people say in such situations of “making a new life”.

The solution may seem like a compromise solution to gays who have not been married and who have never had a heterosexual satisfactory family life, but for that gentleman radical choices would have involved a violent cut with the previous life and would have had very little prospect of leading to realization of a new life with another man.

In most cases, however, the family situations of married gays are quite different and much heavier. The lack of sincerity on the problem of homosexuality involves the establishment of a series of formal relationships and under them a series of conflicts, affective life becomes over time a sort of recitation or due act. With his wife, if she requires a frequent sexual intimacy, a married gay ends up pretending, which usually involves many problems, such as the lack of erection that can worry the wife but doesn’t worry her husband who knows that during masturbation with gay fantasies erection is all right. These problems touch the sphere of sexual intimacy of the couple and can be disruptive. Generally, at first a married gay guy tries to repress his homosexuality but over time this attempt is useless and the illusion of heterosexuality turns into a fiction of heterosexuality. The gay impulses are strengthened as the relationship with the wife deteriorates.

It is only right that I explicitly break a spear in favor of the wives who are often completely unaware of the true motivation of the deterioration of the relationship with their husbands and who live, also themselves, really difficult moments. Basically, even if their husbands acted in good faith or did not really realize what they would do with marriage, these women were misled about the true sexual identity of their husbands, who, moreover, were also confused about the matter. The fact remains that at a certain point, a woman who has married a gay man without being aware of it, understands that relations with her husband are substantially frozen, sexual intercourses are completely absent, dialogue is completely lacking, at least on important issues, and marriage is in crisis. When there are children the problem becomes difficult to manage, because in case of separation there is the problem of the entrustment that creates further conflicts between husband and wife which are often resolved in court.

How does he live his sexuality a gay married who has passed the phase (which in many cases doesn’t even exist) of the illusion of being heterosexual? Here the answers are the most varied:

1) The husband accustomed to sexual repression up to play the part of the heterosexual, limits himself to live a gay sexuality in terms of masturbation and porn sites found on the Internet. Such situations are, at most, compatible with the preservation of marriage, at least on a formal level, where there are children, because the external aspect of the family doesn’t change. Often this is the state of affairs to which things stop. The husbands can get to forums like Gay Project or other serious gay sites and simply look for friendships with other gays, often married too, in chat and at a distance. This solution allows a married gay to find a safety valve that puts him in a position to talk openly about his problems and also to find serious answers. It is obviously a compromise solution, but in situations such as those in which a gay married and with children lives it is a situation that is in many respects acceptable, since in most cases we are speaking about men who are no longer young and are totally lacking knowledge about the true life of gays. It should be borne in mind that for a non-young man the chances of finding a “serious” companion (that is, not the one-night experience [risk of aids!]) are not very high and moreover few gay men would be available to build an affective, stable and serious relationship with a man who has a family, has children and therefore has a number of other very strong emotional bonds.

2) If the husband thinks he has to regain lost time looking for a companion with whom to live his affectivity and his sexuality, and the husband is still thirty or so, he can experience situations similar to those of the so-called “frenetic phase” of sexuality of those who discover themselves gay or finally release their gay sexuality at a fully adult age. These guys are not content to masturbate looking at a porn site but sign up for erotic chats and dating sites, giving credit to the idea that the problem of finding a partner is actually a problem that can be solved easily “with a little effort”. Through the chat they get to sexual encounters, often even at risk of AIDS, because a user of dating sites can also have over 100 different partners in a year! Apart from the risk of AIDS, occasional sexual encounters generate feelings of disgust and frustration after the first times. However, it does not follow a rationalization of the behaviors but only the repetition of other attempts with other partners. I emphasize that in these situations the emotional dimension, which is essential in a gay’s emotional and sexual life, is practically completely absent. After a little practice of erotic chats and dating sites, a depressive phase takes place that depending on age can be more or less heavy.

3) There is however a third path followed by married gays towards their gay identity, and it is a path that can only be done in two. I state that the concrete realization of this third way, which is that of “loving friendship”, is not the result of an individual initiative, but is connected to the idea of being already really in two, that there is an “original affective couple reciprocity” and that a real relationship of affectionate friendship already exists, on which an explicit sexual dimension can also be inserted. Given that married gays who end up in a marriage crisis are not very young and are not only undeclared as gay but are declared as hetero, for them the idea of living their sexuality and their affectivity in a strictly private dimension is fundamental. In dating sites and erotic chats there are often people who don’t have too many problems to declare themselves gay, to go to gay clubs and to be seen around with mates clearly gay. Such things are very embarrassing for a married gay, for whom therefore the option of the amorous friendship remains substantially the most desirable. If that friendship is lived with great discretion, it allows the marriage to be maintained at least on a formal level and in some cases even the wives are not in principle opposed to such solutions that allow a stable relationship between the gay father and the children, avoiding putting their emotional growth at risk. I saw, in about 30% of cases, the development of a loving friendship between a married gay and a friend of his, also gay and undeclared. These relationships, even if they occur between fully adult men, have the freshness and genuineness of the first affective contacts between adolescents, allow the two partners to live a deep affective dimension and to integrate sexuality with moments of non-sexual intimacy, linked to totally sincere dialogue and openness and to mutual trust without restrictions, all things that have an enormous value and help not to trivialize sexual intercourse.

For the moment I stop here. I await further input from readers to be able to broaden and deepen the discussion. I would like to point out that the statistical sites show the constant presence of readers who use on the Google search engine keys to Gay Project as “married gays”. The problem exists and it is not statistically irrelevant as usually believed.


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Hi Project,

I found your site by chance and I’m spending there my nights, in practice it is the only gay site that says true things about the life of gay guys and I must say that I find myself perfectly at ease there, in several posts is as if read what I think and what I feel. I send you this mail because I feel a bit “disgusted” (I have to use this word) by the behaviors of so many gays I met so that entering your site makes me feel better. Thanks, I really needed it! I would like to know what you think of my story (publish it if you want) and maybe I’d like to meet you on msn. I thank you in advance. But let’s get to the facts.

I am 23 years old guy and, I don’t know whether to say for my luck or for my bad luck, I am a nice guy, I see myself just like a normal guy but the others (men and women) tell me that I’m beautiful and, what is worst, they fall in love with me easily, which, you can understand, puts me tremendously embarrassed. In practice when I was 16 years old, a girl who everyone considered beautiful and who was really (one of my classmates) started to court me, and I stupidly, as if it were a game, put myself with this girl and there for the first time I tried on the straight side what it means to be the object of sexual attention without experiencing the same for the other person.

At first I didn’t understand what was happening, it seemed only a serious friendship, with her I talked about everything except my sexual desires that were in a completely different direction (I’ve always been gay and I’ve never had any doubts about this), then she began to bother me, to touch me, first in a generic way and I pretended to laugh about it, but then in a more and more insinuating and clearly sexual way and I couldn’t stand it anymore. I told her I was not in love with her and I thought she understood, but it didn’t happen, she kept calling me every five minutes on the phone, she was sticking to me on msn and I didn’t know how to close the conversations, then she wanted to understand, she wanted to know, in short, she was really in love but I wasn’t.

She made hysterical scenes, cries, despair, because the accounts didn’t come back, she saw that I had no other girl and began to ask specific questions, for me it was a torment because I had to see her at school every day, in short this story has been going on for a year, then she found another guy and apparently the thing was over but she wanted to continue being at least my friend but I didn’t want to know of such things.

I’m very shy with guys, almost wimp, worse than ever with those I like. So, in practice, I was always in the middle of the girls, at the beginning of the fifth class I started a new story with another girl, and it seemed to be on the same road as the first, but now I knew what to expect and I literally burned her badly right away, at least she didn’t ask questions and then she was not a schoolmate of mine. At the time I felt very lonely, I had no friends and I had a desperate desire to talk to someone and here I made the biggest mistake of my life.

There was a girl who had a boyfriend and didn’t run after me and who seemed a very serious person, slowly a beautiful atmosphere has been created, we talked a lot, she talked to me about her romantic problems and I told her that I was always lonely and melancholy, then I told her the story of my two girls (let’s call them so) but in a straight version, and then one day after another I ended up believing that there could be a sincere talk with her. After many hesitations I told her I was gay. I felt free, on the seventh heaven because she had taken it very well, she called me even more often than before, a bit she had taken me under her wing and I was pleased.

Then one day she tells me that I was wrong to be alone and I should have found a guy and she proposes to go with her to a gay club for an evening, just to see what the environment is. What seemed to me an overwhelming news, in short I accepted and we went there, when I arrived at the appointment with her I saw that there were also two guys, one was her boyfriend but I didn’t know the other. It was obvious that those two guys knew about me. The embarrassment was terrible because I never thought she could talk to others about my business and at that moment I hated her.

The guy I didn’t know was a 24-year-old gay guy, James (let’s call him so), a guy not bad to see. I swallowed the frog just because James was a nice guy and we even exchanged cell phone numbers. We went the bar, I would have hidden under a brick, James was absolutely at ease, in short, the discomfort was such that I said I had to get away just for a moment and I left leaving them three in the bar, after a little they called me on the cell phone, my friend he was angry with me because I had abandoned them that way, James tried to do the cute guy to make me go back but I didn’t have the slightest intention.

From here started the story with James whom I liked only physically, and a lot, so much that in practice immediately he became the object of my sexual fantasies but I didn’t like him at all as a person. He was not a bad guy, but he had a mentality that I didn’t feel mine from any point of view. On one side I rejected him and for the other I wanted him and he understood it. He went after me in an asphyxiating way but with him it was not like with the girls, in some way I depended on him on a sexual level and I felt it very strong: I wanted him, I got excited when I heard his voice on the phone, I imagined talking to him and I tried to prepare in advance what I had to say.

I have also made of those days a minute-by-minute diary, which, to reread it now, makes me a strange effect, but then I was really in love with James. On the other hand I knew that I couldn’t expect anything good from him and I confirmed it every day, I was pampered a bit in words but, with the passage of time, always for a kind of bet with himself more than for a maybe even sexual interest towards me. I had more than once the clear feeling that in any case he only wanted me on a physical level, when he was talking to me he was playing or pretending and I always had the feeling that he didn’t really take me seriously.

With the strength of despair I tried to detach myself in every way, but I was very bad, in short, it lasted months and months of anguish and of being sick like a dog, then I saw him in a public garden while he was necking with another guy in a very explicit way for what can be done in a public garden. I thought this meant that the story with me would end, but it didn’t. He kept calling me as before, and sending me text messages like St. Valentin’s ones that really bothered me, let’s say he continued to court me in a way that seemed to me very stupid and superficial.

I wanted to talk seriously with him but when I tried he changed the subject. However, he never told me anything about the guy I had seen in the garden, so that I began to think I was wrong, but after a while, when I began not to bear it anymore I asked him explicitly about that guy and I saw he had a moment of embarrassment, then he admitted that the guy was a just friend of his, but with a friend, you don’t do at all the things he was doing. Since then, my interest in James has practically collapsed, even though I often fantasized about him, I dreamed of him in my own way as he would never have been.

Meanwhile, I had sent to the hell my friend or presumed such who had presented him to me, but the gossip about me had gone around, now practically everyone who knew me knew about me. It was a very unpleasant feeling, I felt naked in front of the people who knew all my business. I didn’t know how to behave and I was afraid of everyone, because they could embarrass me. In less than a year I was the subject of very suspicious attention by three men 30/40 years old men I barely knew before by sight. They approached me as I used to with girls, they told me that I was beautiful and then slowly they also widened to a few half-proposals accompanied by compliments that seemed to me the typical compliments that are done to a bitch.

To all these things I tried to react with detachment but they bothered me a lot. There was only one person who impressed me positively, a gentleman married, more or less 50/55 years old, I had met when I was going to bring packages for a shipping agency. I had met him more than once and there was a minimum of sympathy. He was a married man, with children, at least in theory he was not gay and with me he had a behavior very different from that of others. One day I didn’t know where to bump my head I met him by chance and I talked to him rather freely and he was listening to me carefully, then he gave me a lot of advice on what to do. I don’t say I fell in love with this man because I didn’t like him physically, but he inspired me tenderness, I had the impression that he was doing his best to behave with me, I liked his way of being, he was dignified, he was in practice the only one of the men I knew who didn’t court me but is probably the only one I think I could fall in love with. I know that it may seem strange but it is so.

I always thought he was gay, he never told me, and I never asked him about it. After all, I think it would not have changed anything. The last time I saw him, after almost five months, he told me that his wife was dead and that he was going to live in another city with his son, and we didn’t meet anymore.

In the meantime I had started working with a permanent contract in the shipping agency. I think that neither my work colleagues nor the customers knew about me, but sometimes someone tried to court me, let’s say so, more or less every month or every two months I received some more or less explicit proposal. This was the period when I felt the greatest disgust of being gay, I felt wrong even as a gay, a guy out of place who still dreams of a life with a little dignity. I came to think that with one of these guys or maybe with a guy who had courted me on a chat at the end I would have had sex at least to see what effect it does to do such a thing with a stranger and I went very close to it, but just when I was about to let me go I happened on Gay Project.

I don’t know whether to say that things have changed for me, maybe it’s too much, but I read the forum far and wide and almost didn’t believe my eyes, real gay guys who discuss seriously and who have created a kind of world apart, but in the positive sense of the term, let’s say an uncontaminated world where they talk seriously about gay life. But reading the forum I didn’t find any story really similar to mine. I’d like to know if there are any guys who felt unwanted attentions from other guys or even adult men and how they reacted and even if there are guys who were disgusted by the mentality of other gay guys, just like it happened to me. I would like to find only serious friends with whom I can talk freely and Project made me realize that all this is possible.



If you want, you can participate in the discussion of this post open on the Gay Project Forum:



Dear Project,
I don’t know if you remember me, a few years have passed, but I still remember the strange effect that made me talk to you, because I realized that I didn’t know gay reality at all and that I had an infinite series of fears, practically almost all nonsense, and I didn’t realize what could be the real problems of being with a guy, then I was 25 (good times!), now I’m 31 and I must say that things have changed a lot. I don’t know if you remember, Project, but a few months after our first conversations, I sent you a picture with a dedication on msn, a picture that represented me and the one whom I was hoping, even with a thousand uncertainties, was my boyfriend. Well … we’ve been together for 5 years now, and we live together. Now I’m not a boy anymore but I see my dream come true, Project, I feel loved. Do you remember the night you were talking to me on the chat? When bad thoughts passed through my mind? You told me that my life could have made another guy’s happiness and it seemed impossible to me, but that’s exactly what happened.

I met Luke in a chat, not in an erotic chat, but in a chat where they talked about architecture. There was talk not only of architecture but also about how a young architect can look for and even find work. At that time I was not working yet, neither was he. In his answers I saw the tendency to leave space, to make me talk, he was never impositive or aggressive, but was conversational without falling in the banal. We continued to talk in that chat for several days, then we discovered that we lived in the same city and we decided to meet up to try to plan together the search for a job. When I saw him I was electrocuted, he was a beautiful guy. We spent the whole day together and it was just fine! We only talked about job opportunities and we decided to give ourselves to do as much as possible to look for work together because economic independence was our first desire. I didn’t know anything about him then.

He has come to my house many times, he met my parents and I met his, obviously we were just two friends looking for a job together but the atmosphere was very positive. At his house, in his room there were many photos of a girl and it was like a stab to me: Luke was beautiful but obviously he was straight! My mood collapsed from one minute to the next. He noticed it and immediately told me: “It’s my brother’s girlfriend!” And in saying so he smiled at me. I thought that his smile was his way to come out with me and I also answered him with a smile and a breath of relief. When we said goodbye, beyond the usual handshake there was also a hug that I didn’t expect and it was not a formality. Since then our relationship took a different way.

You know, Project, you always say that the real problem is knowing if the other is gay, but if he is, the problem remains to understand how he thinks, what he thinks, how he sees the situation, and it takes time to understand it. Note, Project, that we never declared ourselves explicitly and that starting a speech beyond work was really difficult. Then one evening, after going to get a pizza, we stopped to talk in the car. He asked me: “Do you think it would work?” I had no doubts about the interpretation of that phrase and I replied: “We have to do everything to make it work …” He told me: “All right! Then I start.” He told me about himself without reserve and told me that he felt happy next to me and that he thought of me a thousand times a day. I took his hand and kissed it. It started like this. I skip the details you can imagine. I was really good, sexual transport was very strong. His way of experiencing sex was practically identical to mine: enthusiasm, but also prudence: doing the test, absolute mutual loyalty and lots of cuddles. I always wanted to be with him, when the time came to part from him I felt really halved. When I saw him smile, in his eyes I saw heaven. He had beautiful, warm hands and when he was holding mine he inspired me so much trust. And then he was not neurotic like me, he was quiet and close to him I began to overcome all my neuroses.

But there was a huge problem: we could go and make love in my parents’ country cottage, especially in winter, because no one ever went there, it was cold, but we knew how to warm up: a double duvet and we didn’t need anything else, it was fine but we often wondered what our parents would say if they understood how things really were. In practice we did everything in secret. For all the rest, we met each other, either, at his house or at mime, but we had to be careful to talk only about work. Another underlying fear was related to the fact that one of us could find work in another city, because such a thing would have been shocking. We were looking for work hoping not to find it. And we even arrived to present ourselves together for job interviews, saying that we were very close and used to working together, even if it is not easy for two architects to be hired to work together.

After about six months of “cohabitation” we got a job offer for a six-month contract in Kazakhstan, which seemed very strange, but the proposal came from an important multinational for which we had already held job interviews, we thought about it a little and then we accepted. Our families were very worried, but the fact of going there together led us to accept. After two days we were on the plane. The work was in Astana, a very special city, without western-style buildings, but with huge neighborhoods made of small houses with small gardens, very well kept, even if the city is almost in the middle of the desert. We have been housed in a villa, with three bedrooms and a bathroom, with a delightful little garden. People were also a pleasant discovery for us, but our dialogue with the locals could only take place in English, and on the other hand any contact with our superiors (Canadians) was only in English. In Astana we were really good and our relationship become deeper. We have worked together and a lot but we got also great satisfaction.

After the six months in Astana, they told us that we would spend another six months in Vancouver to oversee the construction of a port building, of course we accepted. The city is incredibly multiethnic and between the mountains and the ocean it is spectacular, we have happened there in summer, a very mild summer, similar to the springs of southern Europe. We had an apartment with a wonderful view. In Vancouver, however, we experienced that our English was very rudimentary and we tried to improve it with a group of local friends, including a gay couple, but of gays over 60, something that is rare to see in Europe. In Canada, the work didn’t have the relaxed rhythms it had in Astana, and several times we had to work even at night to keep up with the demands of the construction sites. We have worked, we have gained well but the nostalgia of Italy was very strong. By the way, work had distracted us from our basic problem: “what to say to our parents and how to say it”. For our parents we were in effect only two work colleagues.

A month before departure from Vancouver our superiors let us know that they would send us back to Italy to Milan, which is far from our home, but it is still in Italy. The second of September we arrived in Milan, also this time they placed us in the same apartment, which however was not even the shadow of the one in Vancouver and had not the eastern grace of that of Astana. Once settled, we decided it was time to speak clearly with our families. We didn’t know what to expect or even if it was the case to speak first with my parents and then with his, or to create an opportunity to make a single speech that would be good for everyone, but we were determined.

We set a lunch at my house for September 6th. The day arrives, we do the usual compliments, then Luke immediately enters the topic: “Listen to me a little … so we got to know each other better by working together for a year and we understood that we want to spend our life together, because we love each other and it seemed right to let you know.” In our opinion, the most was done, but the reaction to the words of Luke was disconcerting. My father pretended not to have understood, just like that, Project, while he had understood very well, he made a perplexed face, followed by a strange smile. Luke preferred to immediately eliminate any possibility of misunderstanding: “We are gay … and we love each other.” His father and mother did not say anything, they were almost paralyzed and did not know what to say. It was evident that a completely unexpected atomic bomb had fallen on them. My mother tried to lighten the situation but in the wrong way: “Now it can be a difficult moment but then things can get settled …” Luke immediately stopped her: “There’s nothing to settle …”. The most radical silence fell, interrupted only by banalities, like “Now let’s think about eating … we’ll think about other problems later, a solution will be found …” Luke also tried to avoid misunderstandings: “Solution?” My father started the wrong way again: “These are things that can happen, maybe these are moments of fatigue …” Luke looked at me in a very questioning way and said to me: “What do we do?” I answered with one word: “Let’s go!” We got up from the table and left without saying goodbye, and on the other hand our parents didn’t even try to hold us back.

The feeling of bitterness was very unpleasant, we both realized that the relationship with our families was over. Fortunately we were economically independent and we were working permanently in Milan, so the relations with our parents were in fact already very reduced. We immediately returned to Milan, our parents did not even make a phone call for a whole week, then my mother called me to ask: “How are you?” I noticed immediately that that “you” was referred just to me, she had only asked how I was and had not asked anything about Luke like she was used to do before, because by now Luke was like the devil who had taken his son away from her. I answered her. “We’re fine! (underlining the “we”) And how are you?” The embarrassment was evident, after a few minutes of banality the call was over. In the evening Luke’s mother called him and the script was virtually identical. We were not shocked by this thing, after all “maybe” we expected it. Up to this point our story may seem like the story of a double family failure. Two gay guys who would have all the credentials to feel fulfilled, are on the contrary frozen by relationships with their homophobic families that end up radically disappointing their expectations, but in reality things have gone differently. My father sent me the e-mail that I transcribe here below:

“Hello, your mother and I realized that we behaved very badly with you (Leo and Luke) and this makes us deeply uncomfortable. Luke’s parents share this unease with us, we talked about it together several times and we realized that we had everything wrong. We cannot be without our guys, we are living days of bitterness, but I can swear that we understand that we have to change our attitude altogether. We were not in the least prepared to face a similar situation. If you and Luke agree, we could maybe come to Milan for a weekend, so we can stay a little together. And then, what can we do to get a little clearer ideas? Because we tried to search for news on the internet, but orienting ourselves is very difficult. We await your response by mail and we hope so much that it is positive.”

I read the email to Luke and we agreed the answer.

“Hello, I spoke with Luke and if you agree we can meet not the next Sunday, because we have work commitments, but the following Saturday and Sunday. To get a little clearer ideas you can read the Gay Project Forum, it is very easy to find it on Google and you could also talk with Project, with whom I had spoken several times, he is a very good person and knows the gay world from the inside. As for our relationships, well, we are very happy with your email. Now we must try to rebuild everything without hiding anything and without pretending anything. Problems, sometimes, exist only in our imagination. Common sense is needed, it is true, but we are not naive and our choices have been made with good reasoning.
We embrace you strongly.
Leo and Luke”

The recovery of relationships with our parents on the basis of clarity, was not so easy, but on both sides there was a willingness to understand each other and, after about a year, things really became normal. By now our parents consider us as a couple and have overcome all or almost all their resistance and their complexes.

Project, I told you my story and I would like to see it on the forum because I would like to tell all the guys who see their future gray, that for a gay guy life can be beautiful and that finding a serious partner is not at all an impossible thing, even if the difficulties are certainly not lacking. I’m attaching in my skype contact, I would like to talk with you again, maybe to meet you at the beginning of the summer.
We embrace you!
Leo and Luke


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Hi Project,

I’m the father of a gay guy and I read your forum several times together with my wife to understand how to behave with our son and undoubtedly it was useful. I will not tell you about our worries and doubts, and above all the uncertainties about how to start a direct dialogue with our son, but in the end we succeeded, and our relationships have always been good, or rather they would have always been good if there had not been a point on which our son’s attitude worried us a lot.

He is now 17, he has a special friend, let’s call him so. In the past I could not deal with my son in a direct way, since he did not, we often spoke of sex, especially of prevention, but my wife and I were always very careful not to intrude too much into his private things. The other guy, whose name is Steven, came to our house several times, and we talked a lot, he’s a mature and responsible guy, he had dinner with us and once he even went to sleep at our house. I also knew his parents who seemed to me very good people, until a few days ago I didn’t know what they knew about the son then Steven spoke with us explicitly and said that his parents know everything. I asked Steven if, according to him, it would have been useful for him and for my son that we would contact his parents and he said yes.

A few days ago, in the afternoon, my wife and I went to see Steven’s parents, Steven and my son were also present. At first it was a bit embarrassing, but then the guys themselves got us out of trouble. And here comes the sore point. My wife, Steven’s parents and I were all in agreement to advise the guys the utmost caution, and Steven agreed, but my son didn’t want to know reasons and made it a matter of principle. Generally he’s very reasonable but it seemed to me that in this case it was just an obstinacy. We tried to make him reason in every possible way. Steven reminded him of the example of one of their comrades who was put in serious trouble by the gossip of other comrades, some parents and even some teachers, because, even if it may seem incredible, the teachers who make stupid gossip and who address the guys in a homophobe and rude way still exist.

There was only one argument that made my son recede from his obstinacy. Steven told him: “Louis, look, for you the coming out is a fundamental thing and you say you will do it anyway, but for me it’s something to be avoided, not absolutely, but because today we cannot afford it. In short, if you want to feel free to come out, I cannot stop you, but I cannot even be forced to do something that I just don’t want to do. That is, if it is just as you say – an inalienable issue of personal dignity – well, then it is good that I put myself aside, because I don’t want to feel forced to do something like that.” This speech put my son in crisis, he who did not accept his parents’ prudent speech was sensitive to the idea of not forcing his friend to do anything against his will.

At the end of the evening, the weather seemed quiet and the three of us came back home, but evidently our son was not at all convinced. In the car he began a tirade, that no longer ended up, on courage, dignity, self-respect and so on, I told him that he knew what we thought and that we and his mother talked about it so much and we had reached the same conclusions. Then I added: “You have to deal with Steven first of all because you can put him in great difficulty.” He tended to minimize, trivialize, to do a moralistic preaching, but I closed the speech: “Obviously you are free to make your choices but we don’t follow you on this ground.”

The next day, after school, he came home together with Steven and, in front of us, he quarreled furiously with him, something I would never have believed possible, he called him “designated victim”, said he was “plagiarized by his parents” and other things that I avoid mentioning, Steven got up, greeted me and my wife (not my son), took the door and left. My son made a scene with us, he seemed like another person, he raised his voice, tried to verbally vent against Steven and also against us. My wife intervened to close the discussion, and we left for our room. Louis went into his room slamming the door.

My wife and I looked at each other very worriedly, we didn’t know this side of Louis at all and it troubled us a lot. The following morning Louis left the house early to avoid meeting us and didn’t come back home at the usual time after school, but around five o’clock in the afternoon. I didn’t know where Louis was and I called Steven, who replied: “Oh, hello, listen, I’m a little busy now, I’ll call you as soon as I can.” Such a conversation could only mean that Louis and Steven were together and I didn’t worry.

Shortly after five o’clock Steven called me back and told me that with Louis they had arrived at a “truce” but added that he thought he would be able to change my son’s opinion. When Louis came home he expected an underlining of the fact that he had arrived very late, but neither my wife nor I said anything but that lunch was on the table in the dishes, and that if he wanted to have lunch he could do it. My wife and I prepared to leave the house, we already agreed that we would leave Louis alone to avoid scenes like that of day before, but he stopped us.

“Where are you going? You never leave at this time!” My wife replied: “We thought maybe you’re better alone and we leave you your space …” He continued: “Enough with these stories! A minimum of prudence is fine … but as soon as the conditions are favorable, I will do my coming out all the way, because I don’t want to live in the sewers but in the light of the sun!” And so I said mine: “No! You still don’t understand something very important, as long as you stay with Steven you are not the one who decides but you have to decide together! Do you think that your mother and I always agree on everything? Sometimes she gave up and sometimes I gave up … otherwise you cannot go on!”

He looked at me in a defiant attitude, but also with a half-mocking smile: “Look, Daddy, if you’re in the mood for sermons you can even go for a walk, if I give up it’s not because you and mom and Steven’s parents made you get scared … I don’t want to lose Steven, I give up for this.” I remained silent and raised my eyes to heaven. My wife and I put our coats back on and Louis told us: “Order four pizzas at the pizzeria for tonight, because at eight o’clock Steven is coming, Neapolitan for me and capricious for him, ok?” “Ok!” I do not know if I can say that now we are out of danger but it seems to me that the worst is over! The story is basically trivial and at the moment it seems that it ended fine, but I think it can be useful to someone. Obviously you can publish the email, the facts are those, but there are no sensitive elements. Thanks for everything.

Danilo and Albina (invented names, of course)


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Everyone goes through school. I open this very classic discussion with an apparently banal reflection: for a gay guy, the high school is hell and heaven mixed together, you enter at age 14 and you get out at 19, now young adult. In practice almost all the sexual and above all emotional apprenticeship is linked to the school environment. If for a straight guy behaviors can be relatively free, a gay guy experiences at school the same sense of constraint and limitation he will experience for the rest of his life. It is literally, unfortunately, a school of life. Despite all the limitations that a gay guy feels on his skin, sexual curiosity is always vigilant and generally prevails over the sense of discomfort, among the older guys sometimes develop very strong affective relationships, friendships, amorous friendships and also true stories of love. You can see many stories of heterosexual love, you can never see gay love stories and in fact you never even see gay guys. Everything at school is rigidly straight, no one, neither a teacher nor a student is allowed to open up his speech to gays, the game is dangerous and sometimes, under the appearance of pedagogical and psychological care, some children can suffer latent homophobia in the institution. Here are a few pages from the 1976 school diary of Dario, a 16-year-old guy.


I would have preferred to be born ugly! … Mom…. why did you make me so beautiful? If I was ugly I was better … I cannot stand these (-omissis-) … They cling to me, they make me an endless series of unwanted cuddles. Cynthia always sits on my legs and pretends nothing … Paola even kisses me … But do you realize that I also have to endure you when you make the owl? … but go away to Christian because for such a thing he melts like an ice cream in the sun, so you can make him happy and leave me quiet …… but luckily for him he’s ugly … well … but that’s enough … but for how long has she to preach this (-omissis-) [the philosophy teacher]? And then she always slips towards politics and she says that she teaches philosophy … But what do you look at? … I’m writing … but what do you care about what I’m writing? … I’m taking notes of my cabbages … see … I do “yes yes” with my head as if I was listening to you … are you satisfied? … but I think she really looks a lot like mad Madam Mim!


What a anger!! I really have to eat that one!! You’re old, that’s ok! you have a protruding belly, that’s ok! you don’t even have hair on your head, it’s not your fault. But you’re anyway an asshole! … I wait for your two hours of physical education for the whole week because I have to see Emilio undressing … and you? You stay at home because you’re sick … and they send us the witch to do another two hours of philosophy … but fuck! .. I have to wait another week …


Today Madam Mim calls me … “What are you writing? … bring me the diary!”… I … to you … the diary … but I don’t bring you anything at all! I had to beg, I could not give it to her. Anyway she is a (-omissis-) … and then Paula, the gossipy by definition, she even told me that in her opinion Fabrizio is gay … Fabrizio! But he’s as ugly as hunger … if she had said Emilio it would have been very different … well …


Today we talked and he was the one who searched for me! … Oh well … there were only us because there was the assembly and there were just four cats … but he says to me: “Do you want a coffee?” I certainly did not wait for him to repeat the proposal … We have been talking from nine to noon. Emilio is fascinating … he is a poet, he says beautiful things, a bit melancholy, however, he says they have never loved him …. but how is it possible? For almost all the time we talked about the school, but this is the first time we speak. He’s athletic, he’s almost 17 and it looks like he’s got twenty! He shaves every day and has a beautiful facial skin. He’s really nice and then he doesn’t believe to be the charming prince … he has no boast … when he was there I would have (-omissis-) … I say it just to say, but not so much! … then Madam Mim went by and made me nervous: “What are you two doing there? … go to the assembly! … come on!” She put herself in front of the door of the classroom and waited for us to come out … and when we left she looked at us with a little grin that I didn’t really like. I told Emilio: “The witch thought who knows what…” and he told me something beautiful: “And let her think!” Very good, Emilio, good answer! At the assembly a deadly bore. There was a guy who was attending the fifth year who preached as if he understood everything … we of the fifth class here and we of the fifth class there …” … Oh! My beautiful! If the witch makes you a shriek, you piss on yourself! Emilio and I got on one side and we were chatting and at one point I leaned on Emilio’s shoulder … a dreamy feeling … then a guy passed and he made me eyes, I turned around and the witch was just behind me … she said only: “Eh! …” and I looked at her and said to her: ” Teacher, but here everyone is making out … but tell it also to the others! … ” And there the world has burst: “You are two rude guys!”… “If anything I’m rude guy … he has nothing to do with it!” … “Oh no! He has to do with it a lot … but where do you think you are?” Emilio turned to me: “Let’s go!” I was red with rage, under the eyes of the witch Emilio takes my hand and we move hand in hand. It was one of the best moments of my life! Then I got the fear because she usually takes revenge, but Emilio said: “We cannot let us be influenced by Madam Mim! …” I love him, first it was only a matter of sex but now I love him, I love him a lot! Emilio!!!


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