GAYS AND RELIGION

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

Being comfortable with yourself 
 
This chapter is dedicated to feeling good about yourself. When one is not comfortable with oneself, one feels a generalized sense of inadequacy, of inability to cope effectively, not to some specific difficulties but more generally to the problems of ordinary life or a sort of progressive disinterest towards very important sectors of social life or even of affective life or towards sexuality, these are the typical depressive manifestations of a malaise under which there is the belief that the situation can not in any way change. In these cases the malaise leads to closure and isolation. In some cases, however, not being well with oneself does not take depressive aspects but rather manifests itself in a frantic search for solutions and therefore in a marked availability to emotional and sometimes sexual contact, often without adequate rational control, which entails the risk to get into situations that are not really wanted and difficult to manage.
 
Self-esteem
 
The fundamental causes of not being comfortable with oneself are essentially two: low self-esteem and feelings of guilt. Self-esteem derives from the overall equilibrium of the personality and is undoubtedly related to many social, educational and family factors and, in particular, to the successes or failures achieved and to the esteem we enjoy from other people.
 
Low self-esteem is often a dysfunctional response to states of social exclusion or to an education that tends to emphasize individual’s insecurities.
 
Although the low self-esteem has in most cases external substantive motivations due to the environmental conditioning, the search for its motivations in almost all cases is addressed inward by the people who experience it. Those who experience discomfort tend to identify the cause of it in one or a few well-defined elements, physical or of the character, which we can consider centers of polarization of the low self-esteem. Some of these elements have nothing to do with sexuality, while others are explicitly affective / sexual. I try to list some, based on what emerges in the chats with the gay guys.
 
Low self-esteem linked to one’s physicality
 
First of all the elements linked to one’s own non-sexual physicality must be mentioned: “I am too fat”, an expression that is frequently heard; “I am too thin”, a much rarer expression; “I am flabby, I have no muscles”; “I’m too short”; “I’m too tall”; “I’m too hairy”; “I’m really hairless”. These expressions, which in themselves indicate only the perception of a presumed inadequacy become symptoms of being uncomfortable with oneself when they take on a fixed idea character that interferes considerably with ordinary life. When this happens, the perception of the inadequacy leads to a more or less consciously exasperated search for solutions to what begins to present itself as a problem and sometimes as the problem.
 
Often boys who call themselves too fat or too flaccid are not at all such and the perception of the inadequacy is completely subjective and unrealistic, it is the case of slender guys who feel too fat and follow a strict diet and of boys who, despite having a body sculpted by the activity, even daily, in the gym, resort to anabolics to increase muscle mass. These elements indicate states of discomfort of a certain extent that may require specialistic intervention.
 
The dimension of discomfort in the perception of the inadequacy manifests itself as well as in the exasperation of presumed problems, in the search for pseudo-solutions that can be much more harmful than the illusions that they should hypothetically remedy.
 
Low self-esteem linked to one’s sexual physicality
 
The elements linked to one’s sexual physicality must also be stressed. A small number of gay boys ends up putting aside the idea of living a couple sexuality for reasons related to the sense of inadequacy of their sexual physicality. Even in these situations, as in the previous ones, the perception of the inadequacy can be absolutely subjective and not realistic and the search for solutions to alleged problems can also create serious drawbacks and sometimes, when a guy thinks that the solution to the alleged problem is not there or it is unattainable, the answer leads even to the renunciation of couple sexuality. This renunciation, in general, is not explicit but is manifested through continuous postponements or, when the situation can no longer be postponed, through the multiplication of hesitations and reservations that end up exasperating the partner, who is not aware of the real cause of those hesitations and those reservations.
 
Sometimes the renunciation of sexuality involves even the refusal of masturbation, the exercise of which, especially if carried out with reference to images coming from pornography, becomes an important although unmotivated cause of sexual frustration.
 
It is not uncommon for the guys to subconsciously end up hiding the true motivation of the sense of inadequacy and covering it with other motivations in which the reference to sexuality is completely removed.
 
On the problem of the size of the penis has grown a thriving business of pseudo-remedies of a medical and surgical nature, which promise rapid and apparently non-dangerous solutions, with prices that fluctuate in relation to the social category object of promotional messages.
 
Low self-esteem for character reasons
 
Among the centers of polarization of low self-esteem must be considered also elements linked to the personal character that individuals identify as their weaknesses or fragility. I mention only some of the most common ones: “I am very weak and I have not character, I can never make a decision, I get carried away by what others say, I am listless and inert and I let others choose for me.”
 
Both the elements linked to one’s physicality (both sexual and non-sexual) and those linked to the personal character, recognized as individual weaknesses, are experienced as insurmountable impediments to the construction of social relationships and even more of affective and couple relationships.
 
The premises to recover self-esteem
 
To feel good about oneself, one must accept one’s physicality at all levels and, of course, one’s overall personality, and it is necessary to begin to understand that couple life is not just sexuality and that couple sexuality has an essentially emotional rather than performance dimension. It should never be forgotten that many deep affective relationships are not based on what we consider the strongest part of us but on our weaknesses. It is from the integration of the weak sides of two people that a common dimension can be born, which is basically a form of mutual adaptation, that is, a renunciation of individual affirmation. In general, people who have a very strong “I” are not the best couple partners.
 
Talking often in a chat with guys who have never experienced the reality of couple life, I can observe how, for them, life as a couple is thinkable only as a total symbiosis in which everything is and must be common and the reciprocal dedication must be absolute at the limit of identification: partners must have the same friends, must always go together to the cinema, to parties, on holiday and so on. But all this, which is only theory, and unfortunately it is a false theory, leads to the re-proposition, in the real practice of the couple life, of the model of couple as the subordination of the other to oneself or of oneself to the other.
 
The life of a couple is seen, in essence, as the realization of a perfect communion of ideals but to this perfect communion of ideals we try to arrive not through a real balance of interests but through an attempt to bring the other into our world and to keep him in a condition of substantial dependence putting in practice more or less consciously a series of emotional blackmail, or accepting a role of dependence on the other, that is a form of substantial subordination motivated, in theory, by a feeling of love but in reality by a profound lack of self-esteem.
 
Parity and dependence within the couple 
 
It should never be forgotten that couple life, and gay couple life in particular, finds its foundation in the equality of the two partners that leads to the construction of a “we” that is objectively a new reality and not the result of a radical sacrifice of the interests of one to those of the other. It makes no sense, and indeed causes great unease, to identify love with the total acquiescence and absolute obedience, that is, essentially with dependence on the other.
 
The mechanism that creates addiction is simple and is analogous to that which manifests itself in the relationship between a child and the parent, which ends up being dependent on the child: the child wants a certain thing, the parent says no, then the child cries and the parent says yes so as not to see him crying, the child is  more gratified for having realized that he has a power over the parent than for having achieved what he wanted. These mechanisms, however, are natural only when they act between subjects who are not on the same level but, between two gay guys, who should love each other on a much more solid and equal basis, such mechanisms are basically the sign of a strong asymmetry and couple suffering and, in essence, of a relationship of psychological dependence.
 
Formalization of relationships
 
Those who don’t feel good about themselves tend to formalize relationships to make them clearer and more understandable, substituting an almost economic or quasi-contractual logic to an affective dimension that has largely failed. Typical, in these cases, is the tendency to dictate the rules that must define the relationship and to request the respect for them in any case.
 
The tendency to formalize the relationship and therefore to live the emotional life as a chess game with precise rules, in which one must always make the right move and can take advantage of the error of the other, reduces the spontaneity of behaviors that to guarantee greater security must be standardized.
 
Often those who don’t feel good about themselves think that their spontaneity must in some way be substituted with more adequate behaviors and even that spontaneous discourses must be replaced by speeches that seem to be theoretically more adequate. Sometimes it happens in a chat to meet guys who strive to say only things that they think can give a positive image of themselves and can make them look like good guys.
 
The most typical element of these behaviors, on the sexual level, is the sublimation of sexuality and its total removal from the discourse. In this way a dialogue is created that has the evident flavor of the lack of spontaneity. When guys succeed in overcoming the wall of sublimation and managing to speak freely of sexuality they tend to emphasize the strange if not pathological dimension of certain behaviors, such as masturbation and sexual fantasies about their friends, as if these things were the clear sign of their inadequacy. In substance things that are perfectly normal are experienced as anomalous and strange, and here the weight of the educational conditioning is evident; I mean that guys try to give a personal motivation of their low self-esteem on the basis of behaviors that are not at all related to the low self-esteem.
 
After a finally serious talk, the result of a strenuous sincerity, I notice the amazement of the guys who expect some strong reactions and they only hear: “Ok, but where’s the problem?” Basically these guys perceive their being gay as a strange thing and their sexuality as something unique and very far from the sexuality of others, and in particular from the sexuality of other gay boys, that they don’t know except through representations that are decidedly unrealistic if not even misleading.
 
Many times talking serenely about sexuality helps to resize, to see things in more objective terms and makes us understand that sexuality is an ordinary dimension of everyone’s life and that being gay essentially means simply falling in love with a boy instead of a girl.
 
Heterosexuals and (obsessive) fear of being gay
 
Particular attention should be paid to the discomfort deriving from the very idea of being gay or being about to become gay. It happened to me more than once that I was contacted by straight guys who had doubts about their sexual orientation, that is not from gay guys who had problems with acceptance. For some of these guys talking to me really had the sense of clearing up ideas to overcome doubts. With some of these guys, good relations have been maintained even after many years. For other guys objectively hetero, however, overcome doubts was much more difficult. Although they had a sexuality that had absolutely nothing that could be considered gay, these guys couldn’t reassure themselves and contacted me several times because for them the idea of being gay was a content basically obsessive that, even if objectively completely unfounded, deeply disturbing their sexuality.
 
An very significant example is that of a straight guy who has never had gay masturbation fantasies, but who cannot satisfactorily masturbate  thinking of a girl because the idea of being, perhaps, a gay who doesn’t accept his homosexuality always intervenes, and this idea ruins his sex life, but it must be stressed that all this happens to a guy who has never had any emotional or sexual interests oriented towards other guys. Such cases, which present themselves as problems of sexual orientation, in fact, have nothing to do with gay sexuality but are triggered by states of distress often linked to heterosexuality or hetero-affectivity, family relationships, relationships of work, economic insecurity and many other factors, as well as obviously a certain predisposition to obsession.
 
These situations can be at the border of true forms of OCD, that is obsessive compulsive disorder, and can also be the manifestation of the OCD itself.
 
Gays and discomfort of being gay
 
Even for gay guys, that is, for guys with exclusively gay masturbation fantasies, being gay can be a source of discomfort, sometimes even serious. Gay sexual identity can be unknowingly rejected or in some cases it can become the object of a conscious and determined self-repression. In these cases, gay masturbation is experienced with feelings of guilt that are deep, such as a giving in to evil or slipping into a pathological dimension, and the hypothesis of emotional and sexual correspondence with another guy is systematically set aside, avoiding a priori all the occasions in which a minimum of intimacy could be created (traveling with other guys, sleeping at a friend’s house, etc.). This is the case of the “I don’t want to be gay!” These situations of discomfort are a sign of dependence on the judgment of others and of need to be accepted within a group (family, friends) to which one ends up sacrificing one’s own sexuality.
 
The pressure exerted by the search for the homologation can be so strong to push a gay guy to make the so-called choices according to nature (heterosexuality and marriage) that are radically against nature for a gay guy.
 
Pessimism, depressive attitudes and self-esteem
 
They must also be considered the pessimistic and depressive psychological attitudes that manifest themselves as a symptom of low self-esteem in expressions like: “the others at my age have already achieved everything”, or: “I will never combine anything”, or again: “I know that sooner or later I will give up everything”.
 
Often the elements of a psychological nature that lead to discouragement and to the vision of oneself as a weak element intersect with elements of real or presumed physical inadequacy. The idea of disengagement or of the uselessness of commitment occupies in many cases the minds of young people who feel psychologically inadequate, the choices become problematic and the irresoluteness ends up prevailing.
 
These guys, in general, don’t enter into love stories because, for them, making an important decision is difficult but they fall in love in a serious and essentially one-sided way with impossible guys or almost always straight guys or gay guys who don’t give them any satisfactory response, in any case with guys with whom, therefore, a true couple relationship is in fact impossible.
 
Low self-esteem and search for the ideal partner
 
Particular attention should be given to the tendency to involve others in solving one’s own problems, or even to rely totally on others in an overly confident manner and without the support of adequate rational control, a tendency that manifests with expressions like: “But if I had met a boy, things would have gone another way”, or: ” With a guy near me, I would not be afraid of anything” and the like.
 
I often see undecided guys, with low self-esteem and easy to discourage, engaged in a frantic search for a partner to try to find an answer to their problems. These are guys who, in general, from this research end up getting further frustrations due to the fact that, because of their insecurity, they pay little attention to the choice of their partner and are willing to give too quickly confidence to the first guy who shows them some form of availability and with that guy they try to create very close relationships, which are seen on the other side as suffocating and for this reason are not welcome.
 
An insecure boy who tends to involve others in the solution of his problems, needs a constant reassurance, he asks, he requires, he reacts badly when he doesn’t find such a reassurance, tends, unconsciously, to compel his companion to listen to him for hours, besieges him with a storm of SMS and e-mails demanding continuous confirmations without offering any.
 

Unilateral discourses and dependence 

 A characteristic of these situations is the one-way speech, the insecure guy speaks and his companion must listen, if this doesn’t happen the insecure guy feels victim and demonstrates it very clearly, in an attempt to recall the attention of his companion, but this mechanism only exasperates the situation.
 
In some cases things are more complex and the search for the solution to one’s discomfort through the total entrusting to another person leads to the construction of true dependency relationships that have the appearance of affective relationships but are only dysfunctional responses to the low self-esteem, because they lack a true rational control. In these situations, the guy who experiences discomfort is willing to do anything to have an affective response or an alleged affective response on the part of the person to whom he is totally entrusted and from whom he is essentially dependent.
 
Frenetic phase and sexual embarrassment
 
Often, especially for non-youngster guys, situations of discomfort are created when acceptance comes after 25/30 years (and even beyond). The guys who find themselves in these situations are in many cases obsessed with the idea of recover the lost time (frenetic phase) and they live belatedly the affective and sexual experiences typical of adolescence. In these circumstances, the first contacts with the couple sexuality can create embarrassment and not small conditioning, because the a priori models of gay sexuality interfere heavily with the search for the real balance typical of the specific sexuality of each couple. It is the so-called sexual embarrassment that comes from the “myth of sexuality” and from inexperience.
 
There are older guys who are in crisis because of the lack of erection in situations where in theory there should be, or because they have difficulty in achieving orgasm even in individual masturbation practiced in the presence of their partner, even if they reach easily the orgasm in individual masturbation. In these cases the real fear is that embarrassment and inexperience can condition or even destroy extremely important emotional relationships.
 
Sexuality doesn’t get along with anxiety and getting used to talking about sexuality with one’s own partner in a simple and direct way helps to reduce anxiety and thus promotes the free expression of sexuality.
__________
If you like, you can join the discussion on this post on Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-gays-and-self-esteem

CHRISTMAS EVE: A TEXT NOT SEXUALLY CONNOTED

The text that follows is devoid of connotations (masculine or feminine) that allow to understand the sex of the protagonists. This story (like others with the same characteristics) can be used as a projective test. The heterosexual reader is led to read the story in a hetero key and generally doesn’t realize that it is a not sexually connoted text, the homosexual reader instead usually realizes that the text is not sexually connoted and, precisely for this reason, is less inclined to project himself into it.
_________

My dear,

This is a passage of my diary of “that year”:

« We have been friends for long time now. It’s a good feeling to have someone to call if sadness takes over, or just to talk with. Do you remember?

It was Christmas Eve. Neither of us was busy with friends and parties, total loneliness, and I called you to wish you a merry Christmas, I did it without any purpose, just as usual, but then it was different, we have been talking for over half an hour. It was nice to hear your voice. I didn’t know what to do, I thought I was making you waste time and I said: “Well, it’s better I go, otherwise perhaps you’ll be late … I think someone is already waiting for you somewhere…” and you answered: “No problem, nobody is waiting for me.”

I was perplexed, it seemed impossible to me, and that was the moment that the a fool idea flashed in my brain. I asked you: “Would you like to came here?” Your answer seemed to me very strange: “I would but I thing I wouldn’t fell at ease among your friends, I think perhaps it’s better another time.” But I was about to spend a Christmas Eve alone and I told you that I had no friends at home, I was completely alone. Everything started this way.

No more than an hour later we were in front of each other chatting in a very embarrassed way. Everything sounded strange. We put on a CD of Christmas carols just to ease the conversation and to make the long silences shorter.

My fridge was empty because I hadn’t programmed anything for that night: no wine, no sweets, in practice nothing but canned beans and rice and a bottle of tomato juice, salt and pepper. You told me: “Let’s start, I’m a little starving and you?” In practice we have spent all the time before midnight cooking. You are very well at cooking like you were a cook very refined .

Sometimes you were singing following the King’s College choir, like you were a chorister. You remembered by heart the text of those carols.

While shepherds watch’d their flocks by night,
All seated on the ground,
The angel of the Lord came down,
And glory shone around.

“Fear not!” said he, for mighty dread
Had seized their troubled mind.
“Glad tidings of great joy I bring
To you and all mankind.

There was a magic atmosphere, you seemed really exalted by that celestial joy, and I was there looking at you, looking at your flashing smile. I was happy, friendship seemed to me something wonderful. We were no more than two friends spending together Christmas Eve but it was wonderful. Or better it was normal, we were like a couple even if such a word was very far from our dictionary at that time, we were a family, with no children but just a family and the embarrassing feeling of the beginning vanished while a calm serenity took its place, as if time had stopped for a little to let us experience something new, something special, something that had been created abruptly, unexpectedly, but was nevertheless enjoyable, pleasant, I’d say absolutely particular.

The dinner was minimal, but the atmosphere was special. You had put aside every embarrassment and I was looking at you noticing for the first time haw you are beautiful, your hands, your skin, your eyes, you hair. Not that I hadn’t noticed such things before, but in those magic moments I felt upset … but no, it isn’t the right word, I felt a certain restlessness, the need to be near you, to think less and stay close to you as much as possible.

But you kept yourself at a distance, you didn’t move away from me but you didn’t encourage me and I didn’t know what to do. I wondered many times, on that Christmas Eve, what you were thinking, how you considered our strange relationship, our sharing good feelings while we were together. I expected a gesture from you that could take away all my doubts, but that gesture didn’t come. Nevertheless you were extremely happy, you were playing, you were joking, but that gesture didn’t come, and a certain discouragement began to make its way inside me.
Then the time has passed and even midnight has passed with all his emotions and best wishes and you asked me if you could stay and sleep at my house. I liked it, but at the same time I would have liked better a different epilogue. We didn’t even talk about sleeping together, I made you a bed in the room where I usually work, and you went to sleep after hugging me. It was not a formal hug, no, it was a different thing, you hugged me tightly, in a way that is certainly not that of friends but it resembles the way of lovers. It’s nice to hold the person you love in your arms, that’s undeniable, but I wondered obsessively what that embrace meant to you.

The next morning you came out of the bathroom with your hair in the wind, a very beautiful image, and with your usual smile you said: “I really enjoyed everything, I don’t think I could have spent better Christmas Eve.”

I feel really comfortable when I’m with you, it’s like I’ve always known you, it’s really a very beautiful thing. When you greeted me I wanted to hold you back, but I knew I didn’t have to do it. You hugged me again and for a few seconds more, that gesture contained a strong and clear message that didn’t need words.

You left smiling and waving your hand as if to say hello, even if we didn’t give ourselves an appointment. After five minutes I got a text message: “I love you!” »

Do you remember the first non-work mail you sent me? I kept it because I was really moved, here it is:

« How beautiful Christmas night was! The pleasure of being with a person who takes care of you, who transmits you serenity, calm, peacefulness, you feel happy, you feel you are the object of special attention, of affection, I would say almost love. When I decided to come to your house I didn’t know what to expect, in a sense I accepted the risk. My dreams could have shattered, but I also had to understand something more. I had to understand what I could be for you, what it means to you to love a person.

You have not reduced anything shattered, you have been there, I saw that you were fine but you never crossed the limit, you’ve never been intrusive, and I began to love you for this very reason. I am a person with many problems and I cannot promise you things that I could not keep, but I would like you to know that on Christmas night I was really free, in practice I felt happy and this almost never happens to me. I don’t know if we will ever be a couple in the classic sense of the term, but I believe that there is already some form of love between us, I don’t think this word is exaggerated.

You will have to be patient, I must learn what it means to feel loved, because I don’t think it has ever happened to me, but this time things could really be different. In short, if you think it is appropriate to start believing in something better, well, then I too think that we can try.»

Now I greet you, I needed to feel you somehow present, and write this mail made me relive some very nice things!
I’m waiting for you as soon as possible! When you’re not here I miss you very much!
Bye.

__________

If you like, you can join the discussion on this post on Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-christmas-eve-a-text-not-sexually-connoted

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

Hello Project, I wanted to thank you for last night, you have infinite patience and above all you have the ability to make me feel less agitated. One like me, who at 25, after so many back and forth, comes to the conclusion that being with a girl is not for him, he feels quite destabilized: what to do with the girl? What to do with parents? And then, gay, ok, but this at the moment only means that I have fantasies about guys, but then how should I move? I don’t know anything about it and you can understand that I’m so scared that sometimes I get the very strong temptation to say: well, I’m gay, but it’s just a fantasy and it will never change, there will never be anything concrete, then I might as well go on acting the role of straight guy, I did it for so many years! 
 
In the end being gay is too complicated, I’m not used to all the things I read in the forum, prudence, acting, let’s say that until now I did but unconsciously, basically up to a few months ago, I had a half idea of being really straight, but now I should just act consciously and then what do I do?
 
Admitted and not granted that I find a guy, I take him home and I say to my parents: “He is my boyfriend!”? I believe they would call psychiatric service because they do not expect it at all such a thing. And then, even assuming that I can solve calmly with the girl (obviously inventing false motivations, what gives me tremendous annoyance, because she has always been very transparent to me), what does it mean to find a boyfriend? Finding a girl I know what it means, or better, I know what it means being found by a girl, and the complications are not too many, but looking for a guy must be something different.
 
What do I say to a guy? “How beautiful you are! I would like to eat you with kisses!” But how do you woo a guy? I just cannot imagine it. In short, all these things we talked about last night at the time reassured me, when we said goodbye I felt euphoric, then this morning I said to myself: I spoke with Project, it’s true, but for me, in concrete, what has changed ? Just nothing! I talk to Project but in the end It’s I who have to deal with my problems and here’s the problem, because I’m really afraid of not even knowing where one has to start from. The guys who felt gay from the beginning, have slowly learned these things, but me? I read the forum to try to understand what it actually means to be gay and the result is that it seems a lot harder than I thought before. I’m still scared, I think we’ll hear each other soon.
 
You did a very important thing, you took away from my mind a bit of crazy ideas that seemed to me absolutely obvious, you know, a greenhorn doesn’t even know the a b c, for example about the coming out, I filled my brain with this idea, even if I couldn’t really understand how to do something like that, but I liked the idea and I felt less than others because I unconsciously knew it was not for me. Now at least I feel less inept and more gay, so to speak, normal, after what you told me. Then the problems of prevention! Damn, Project, I was just about to throw in the towel. With my girlfriend practically at most a bit of petting, so zero risk, but with a guy I hoped to do a bit of sex. Well at certain times last night I said to myself: Project exaggerates! Maybe he does so for good, but for him this story of prevention is just a fixed idea. But then to think that maybe for a little sex one can really get into big trouble shows things in another way and I had never thought about it!
 
Anyway, let’s say I think I would not have put myself at risk, but now I’m sure I’ll be even more careful.
 
Another point, I need to understand how other boys live their homosexuality (what a horrible word!) Because I’ve never fallen in love with a guy and I think that my basic doubts are all coming from there. Sexual fantasies yes and many, but in love with a guy never! And how is it that if I’m really gay and I’ve never fallen in love with a guy? It seems to me that I could have a relationship of pampering with a girl but with a guy, I don’t know how it could be. Maybe it’s all about roles, maybe it’s something that is much simpler than I think, but at the moment I don’t really see myself cuddling another guy.
 
I often thought that I could do all my fantasies, I mean sexual fantasies, about a guy, but if I really knew him then I would be unable to live in reality that sexuality, maybe that guy would be a friend, even the best friend, as it happened sometimes, but you know how it is when you are friends the relationship becomes almost familiar and sexuality has nothing to do with such things, at least I think so, I have never fallen in love with my friends, indeed I have never fallen in love with anyone.
 
And then there is a guy sweet like a girl? Maybe if such a guy existed I could also fall in love with him, but I see certain guys that make just fall my arms, no sweetness at all, just superficiality and pure stupid brutality. In short, well, a gay doesn’t fall in love with all the guys but with only one, but the thing has just a statistical meaning, there are those who have had 10 guys and those (like me) who have not had and will not have not even one.
 
And if I stay alone (what is very likely because in terms of courage I’m a rabbit), gay and lonely! What a nice mixture! Wouldn’t it be better (fake) straight guy and alone! I could always say that I didn’t find the right woman, which is at least one thing that can be said. I am afraid, Project, to have put me on a path that will only bring me trouble. If I find a guy who loves me, ok, then it makes sense, but it’s something that seems very unlikely. The last doubt that came to me last night: are there many guys in my condition? And generally how does it end? Thanks for the patience, Project, I’ll contact you Friday night.
 
Italian Hamlet
p. s. If you think this email may make sense even for other people, post it in your blog.
_______________
If you like, you can join the discussion on this post on Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-ok-i-am-gay-but-i-do-not-know-what-to-do

GAY GUYS WHO UNDERSTAND AND REASON WITHOUT PANIC

Panic and rationality

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

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

Objective data

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gays and myth of the charming prince

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

Autonomy and economic independence

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

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

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

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

Equilibrium between affectivity and practical life

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

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

Discouragement and commitment

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

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

Gay loneliness and gay friendships

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

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

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

Gay and possible happiness

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

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

Correcting one’s mistakes

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

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

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

Reversible habits and choices

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

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

Usefulness of moral discomfort

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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GAY GUYS BETWEEN REJECTION AND DIALOGUE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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A GAY GUY HARRASSED BY HIS PARENTS

Hello Project, I finally find some time to write to you. A lot of things have happened in these weeks, but now I have to talk about my family. I will be very long in this e-mail, a real novel. But don’t worry, answer when you can. To endure the situation has become increasingly difficult, the fact that I live in a big city – despite coming home several times a month – keeps my parents in a state of absolute frenzy for the simple fact that they cannot control me. They are pathetic and incredibly oppressive, they are absolutely convinced, for example, that I go to the pool for some kind of obscure sexual reason, maybe because I met someone, so my father tells me: “It’s not that you go there to make some crap?”

Repeatedly and continuously they both say they will come to break into the house without notifying me. If there was only this I wouldn’t worry at all, the fact is that they are obsessed by the thought that I can be gay, so much to tell me constantly dirty things, which really so far I have never read in the e-mails of guys on Gay Project.

As soon as some girls appear on TV, my father comments disgustingly (in front of my mother) and then together they ask me questions like “Do you like them?” (Referring to half-naked girls’ tits), or ask me if I like their asses, they assail me with sexual questions!

Then I can also be holding back, but not hypocritical, so I will not answer these questions. And my father continues to insist, and to asks the same questions four, five times in a row, saying that it matters to him a lot. In practice they forced me to do a half coming out simply making me say that I don’t like female tits and asses.

My mother is not far behind my father. Watching a television service, in which was showed a manifestation of collective kisses, even gay, she grimaced, and his words were “What a disgusting thing, truly disgusting!” With an expression – that I know well – of such disgust, that I felt like dying. But the real boulder of this whole story is permanent, there is always and never goes away.

When we are together, I feel a sense of deep unease because they don’t respond as they should, sometimes they flash strange looks at me, all this in a climate of apparent normality but in fact I feel a never ending sense of guilt. I feel treated like someone who commits, who has committed or who continues to commit mistakes and, even if they don’t tell me, they are always there to remind me the same thing through the attitudes even if not trough the words. I cannot live anymore as if I had committed something, they make me feel wrong. And sometimes I believe it, and I tell myself that if I really didn’t have anything to hide of myself, I could very well tell the truth, but I never do.

I must add my uncle to contribute to this picturesque picture of the mentality of my family. One day while we are talking, he says to me: “Oh my God, do you know what happened yesterday in the bus? I was sleeping, but behind me I heard the voices of two lovers, at one point I turned around and they were two gays! So much disgusting! They were sitting there on the seats of the bus side by side, kissing each other and showing public effusions. Oh my God, too much disgusting! (And laughs amazed).

Even the driver could see them. Next to me on the left side of the bus, there were two old persons – a husband and a wife – who looked at them and laughed, how much they laughed! But I had checked that boy well, you could see that he was a bit poof, his behavior was strange and the hair very particular, and then waiting for him as if nothing had happened, there was his mother, as if it were all normal! Oh my God! Very disgusting!” Needless to say what I felt inside, however, I smile and say: “Here we are very narrow-minded, already in the north it’s something much more common.” He answers me decided: “No! Really! What rubbish, in public!” Conversation closed.

This is the mentality of 95% of the people of the lost little town in which I have the misfortune of living. Suffice it to say that my father – a man with a fixed idea (to have sex with women) – long ago, after all the psychic violence that I had to undergo by a psychologist to whom I was forcibly carried, he asked me: “So, are you healed? Are you sure you are healed?” For a man like him, the greatest divine punishment is a gay son. He doesn’t care about the university as much as he cares about the girls. He would much rather see me as a bricklayer with a family than as a lawyer without a family.

Speaking of sexuality, one thing I’ve never told you about sexuality is the distorted view I had when I was a child. I soon began to realize that I felt attracted to the boys, but I even remember that as a child (about 8 years old) when my mother was absent, occasionally – it happened no more than 3-4 times in all – that I dressed up as a woman, with heels and wig, and I played the woman, acted like a was a woman. It happened that once he caught me dressed as a woman, and I remember he did a real tragedy, while I didn’t give too much importance to the thing and I considered it simply a “forbidden game”.

However, when I was 12 and realized I was gay, in my mind I didn’t know the possibility of a love between man and man, I thought of the binomial man-woman as the only possible combination and so – as a boy falling in love with boys – I prayed all the evenings wondering why I had not been born a woman, why I was a boy and not a girl. Only with the passage of time I realized that I could love a man while being myself, that I didn’t have to be a woman, but I could very well be myself, and I finally understood the world, my world!

That said, it must be said that I’m absolutely not effeminate, indeed! Nobody who knows me superficially can think of me as a gay, so much so that people speak to me naturally about the various “pathetic scenes” that they see around, reiterating always the same thing just as a broken record: that “those” can be immediately detected.

The psychologist to whom I had been carried forcibly, do you know what he said to my parents? That a boy is gay if in childhood he disguised himself, if he played with dolls (something that I never did), if he had more female than male friendships, and similar things. Immediately my mother pointed her finger and said: “Yes, I remember that he disguised himself and played a lot more with the girls!” Today I think with anger at that idiot, however, not yet permanently disappeared from my world. He represented the one and great opportunity to really explain the gay world to my parents and push them to accept me, although I always denied everything.

Instead, after those forced sessions that have raped me deeply, their behavior has deteriorated considerably, and “coincidentally” in the last meeting they saw each other just my parents and him, without me. I don’t know what he could say, I only know that he was very close to the Church and the result is this, even if he constantly told me: “I have many gay friends, please open yourself with me”. I’m overjoyed not to have done it. To date I am increasingly convinced that it was a trap to make me “confess”.

I tell you this because somehow it relates to a particular episode that happened. Well, I returned home and in small towns like mine every bullshit, that is every small event that takes place becomes an unmissable event, so it happened that a simple comedy (also of mediocre quality, made by boys of about my age) became one of those unmissable events to which one cannot miss.

Sacrilege! I dared to refuse to follow the head of the family, the matron and the offspring, and for this reason, they did not spare their ruthless attacks when they returned. They told me things of all kinds, repeating many times the same phrase: “You don’t go out because of fear! You are afraid of people, you are an asocial (sometimes an abnormal) etc. “It has been a long time since I refuse to go out and (almost always) they accuse me of having “fear of people”.

I have good reasons for believing that it was the psychologist of that time who taught them this strange theory. It is precisely since then that they continue to say these things, but they have understood nothing. It is very true that I don’t go out in my little town at all, except for the times when I am obliged, but this happens for a simple reason: I don’t like going out with people who don’t are interested in me, because these are not friends but at most good acquaintances, for the reasons you know well, in addition to the fact that I don’t have a single topic in common with them, who run after gossip and grotesque events of the town like that of making an insipid comedy of poor quality.

But unfortunately I’m nothing short of isolated. On an entire town, everyone thinks that going out is sacrosanct and dutiful, everyone! It is a common opinion, from children to the elderly, people thinks that those who don’t go out at night have psychiatric problems and must be helped. The fact of preferring a film or a good book to a comedy of no value made by 15 years old boys or simply of preferring books and films to a simple exit in the evening in a village of 8 thousand souls, amazes them.

The theory of the psychologist that as I can deduce has been inculcated into the brains of my parents is this: “He doesn’t come out because he feels uncomfortable among people and this happens because he knows he is gay and recognizes that he is wrong, so you (my parents) have to help him suppress this diseased part of him by forcing him or putting him in the condition of frequenting normal people and going out.”

What happened? Just Sunday afternoon while I was back in Naples where I study, the daughter of a guy friend of my father (with his father standing nearby) calls me. Now, this girl I saw only once, before, asks me candidly: “Why don’t you go out? I called you because I never see you. I wanted to tell you that I would like you to come out with us or with me.”

Shocked! I was stunned, as well as deeply humiliated, and I was seriously tempted to send this silly girl to the hell, but then the kindness got the better and I explained to her calmly that Friday night I come home late, Saturday I’m busy with the sport and Sunday at 5 I go back to Naples, so I can’t go out. I assume without any doubt that all this was concocted by my parents, coincidentally the day after I missed the comedy. An episode, for a 21 year old treated like a child, of a humiliation that is easy to imagine.

Do you know what makes them infuriate more? It is the fact that every day more, as you have noticed, I raise my head and am more and more I’m proud of myself, of what I’m. And I make it understood in every way, in all possible implicit imaginable ways. I’m proud of myself and they don’t accept it at all. In the past, however, I was ashamed, blushed in front of gay characters on TV and they enjoyed it, as if to say: “he realizes he’s wrong, he’s in error”.

They understood that I’m proud of myself, and they are making life impossible for me. I’m alone like never before, I thank God every day for the fact that at least I’m spending a lot of time in Naples, far away, without them. At home I don’t even have a shred of freedom and dignity, since I cannot go not even in the bathroom without them spying me to see if I piss or do anything else.

I don’t imagine how it will be tomorrow, I’m working hard but in this situation I don’t know how much I will resist. I’m without friends and without – I don’t say love – but at least a story, and this is making me hard like a stone towards life. Sometimes I cry, remembering what it was like once, when I was 11-14 years old, when everything had not yet started, when the simplicity of friendships was the only important thing in my life. Now I’m disillusioned, dead inside, without even a family in the true sense of the word, with an incredible hardness, unusual to find in a 21 year old guy.

I see them, my peers, running for clubs, fighting for true friendships, crying for the first love ended bad, rejoicing for the first kiss, the first time, and pursuing the dream of a life, a life possible. My path of life instead will be perhaps not foregone, but in the meantime I dream of being able to go to discos for people like me, I cannot fight for true friendships, I don’t cry for the first loves ended, I don’t rejoice for the first kiss or for the first time, and I chase the dream of an impossible life.

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