Hello Project,
there is something I like about your forum, there are no jeremiads, laments, and various forms of victimism. After all, gays have so many problems and in some countries they are actually persecuted, but in Europe or the United States, they have to endure just the weight of ignorance, still very high, and the preconceptions that are the biggest obstacle to a true gay integration. Many of the gay problems stem from the fact that they are not a majority, they cannot impose anything but have to be accepted by making others grow and slowly leading them to overcoming preconceptions and homologation.

My bigger problem when I was younger (now I’m 45) was to recognize gay guys in a crowd of guys where they did everything to hide and become invisible. In practice, the internet has made things a lot easier and, let’s just say it, has also put aside many squalid individuals who have built their fortunes on homosexual encounters. Now  are conceivable and possible a lot of things that 25-30 years ago were unthinkable. So there is less reason to complain, but the increased level of confidence among gay guys in various social circles has also diminished risk perception. Many guys trust too easily, if not the first guy they meet, at least the institutional figures that are close to them, first of all their parents, and then the teachers, coaches, priests, and so on, all people who “should” have a propensity to substantial dialogue but who are not really aware of their roles and are not culturally or even humanely capable of fulfilling their duties. I just quote one episode.

A guy in school said he was gay to a teacher, the teacher was gay too. In such a situation, the first rule, the truly indisputable one, should be to respect others’ privacy. It is already absurd that a teacher who has received such a confidence does not respect the confidence of those who have trusted him, but it is far more absurd when also the teacher is gay! Yet these things happen. I saw university professors make ironic comments during the lesson to a gay student, a coach who boasted of being a tombeur de femmes, ironizing on a gay guy trained by him. I also saw a priest tell, according to him to good, to the parents of a boy that his son was homosexual after having learned it in confession. I have seen more than once psychologists unable to respect the privacy of those who were addressing them. An attitude that always seemed to me very stupid in adults, is that to feel above the boys, as if the years really were a guarantee of maturity. Two teachers who speak grinning of a gay student think they joke but do not realize that their behavior, basically infantile, can cause terrible damage. It is as if adults were brave to be adults, as if such a thing was a merit, and in some cases, that is, but when one truly lacks intellectual and moral maturity, being adult makes it particularly serious.

I’ve seen guys suffer a lot from the stupidity of those around them, people really should change their mentality … no laments anyway! After all, it is not necessary to ask who is the responsible for such a widespread stupidity. Many adults, instead of receiving sexual education, have grown up with a lot of preconceptions, forced in a way more or less explicit to align themselves with the dominant thought, and this may partially excuse them.

Tell me, Project, how can we start, at least start to change things a bit. Or maybe we have to resign ourselves to keeping it so?

I look forward to your answer.

Hi Danny,
Last night, reading a post of a gay black therapist who told how his father intended to teach him what virility is (with the bangs and the rejection of any form of dialogue), I wondered what enormous effort made this person to get rid of such a conditioning. For gays, the two concepts of virility and masculinity have always been the cause of various problems, because the common way of thinking attributes to gay people a kind of hypothetical natural effeminacy that cannot be suppressed and makes a gay recognizable. As if a gay was not virile or male just as gay, as if being gay meant to belong to a kind of third sex, intermediate between men and women. I can say that I admired the author of the post I read last night, because he managed to get rid of prejudices and internalized homophobia and had the courage to post a story that I think can help many people feel stronger than the prejudices.


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I quote below, translated into English, an email published in the Italian Blogs of Gay Project on December 27, 2007.


Hello guys,
nice blog and nice posts. My name is Andrew, 24 y.o., central Italy. I tell you my experience of coming out. My parents didn’t know anything about me until 19 years even though I at that age had done my experiences and had a boyfriend (of my own age), the same that I have now and that I think will be the partner of life for me because I don’t think we could live one without the other (Hi Andrew!) [he has my own name!]. 
We met at school, he was not my classmate. More precisely we met at a school trip. He was very timid, almost more than me, that’s all to say. I omit the details: hesitation, uncertainty, gay or not gay, etc. etc., all during the tour, then one day he takes my hand, I feel like a thrill, we look into each other eyes … Our story started like that.
On April 15, 2002, the last night of the school trip, we slept together (we had double rooms), we were not very convinced, neither he nor me, nevertheless the idea attracted us a lot but I thought that the day after I would have lost him, I don’t know, as if sex could ruin everything between us, but he who never considered himself a nice boy was afraid he could disappoint me, and instead we were fine, hugging tight each other under blankets now completely abandoned one in the arms of the other. 
I think you know what I’m talking about, it’s not just something related to sex, but also to tenderness, a very sweet thing. After, we had a bit of trouble saying that such a thing could not remain a single experience, but we talked about it … and there was no embarrassment. When we got home we were both very sad, it had been the first experience both for me and for him and now we were again separated. We had to find a way to meet and to be together, we could not help it. 
We started studying together but we were in different classes and it was difficult. We met in the afternoon once at my home and once at his, it was a nice thing, but at best we could exchange a caress, people could go in and there was not even a minimum of freedom and of privacy, and then being close, even just touching each other hands, erection came, between us it wasn’t certainly a problem, but when we had to get out of the room it was really a problem. We’ve spent nearly a month this way, we met every day but we could never embrace each other, and even less make love. But we wanted to do it. 
I think you can understand, when you have been in bed with the guy you love and then you cannot make love anymore with him it’s a torture, as far as the physiological problem is concerned you masturbate thinking about him, but you miss him badly, I mean that fantasy can be enough when with a guy you didn’t really make love, but we knew what it meant to embrace hugging each other under the blankets. I mean that making love became an absolute necessity, we only thought of that, we had to find a way to realize our dreams. 
Complicated things like going to the hotel were not conceivable because where we live, in a small town, it is dangerous to do such a thing, going to another town would have been too much complicated … the only possible solution was going to a little house my parents had in the countryside (I cannot tell exactly where), which was the house of my grandparents. Nearby there is a great forest and the pretense of a naturalistic walk was all in all plain. We could go there at most once a week, really too little for two guys like us who were (and are) inseparable, but we went on doing so for two months but it was complicated, the car ride of nearly 70 miles, the chilly home, the need to bring everything cooked, because on Sundays there is nothing there. One night together yes, and then at four in the afternoon all the hustle and bustle of the coming back. 
Then he proposed the idea of telling our parents how exactly things were. For me, in fact, I had never had any particular problems and I thought they would accept it well. He was much hesitant. But we were 19, we were unaware of the consequences and we did that madness. 
My parents seemingly did not react very badly … they were a little cold, however, didn’t embrace me, nothing like that, but at least apparently it was not a disaster. But, on the other hand, for my friend things went wrong. In the house full of frost, parents wanted to send him to the psychologist, he didn’t want and the world collapsed. He was desperate, when we met he was weeping in anger all the time and when he was going to go home for him it was a real torture. 
At some point I talked to my parents because there was the room of my great brother, and Andrew, in my opinion, could have settled there. Probably I was terribly naive then. My parents didn’t want to know about taking Andrew in our house, and for me hell started. Andrea was exasperated, he came out of his house early in the morning, and returned very late in the night to not meet his father and mother. He didn’t even come to my home because he felt rejected also by my parents and spent the day in the cold as a tramp. I brought him food to eat and he spent the day like that. 
At school the exam period was approaching, he didn’t do anything, he was convinced that they would reject him, nevertheless he continued to go to school, at least in the morning he was indoors and hot. School was open until 6pm and we spent our time there, but there were people, a lot of noise, you could not separate yourself from others, it would have seemed strange, and then you have to defend yourself even at school. It was a terrible period. 
Then we took the examinations, the commission was very easy and everything went well. Andrew had applied for a job and I did the same even though I did not think about giving up at university, then found on the Internet that they had called us from the first of August near Bologna. 
Andrew would have gone because he could not survive at his home, even at the cost of abandoning his studies. I did not know what to do, it was the first time I was in great trouble. I told myself that if I really loved Andrew, I could not leave him go alone, and I really loved him. 
Meanwhile, my parents had already digested the bitter bite and they had found a place for me where I could stay (a mini apartment) in a city in Central Italy where I would study Engineering. After all, it was our project, because where I live to study Engineering you have to go out to another city, but I don’t deny that I thought that my parents wanted to send me elsewhere, not to keep me far away from them, but from our town and especially from the gossip of Andrew’s parents. 
Then I went to my parents and said, “I’m not leaving Andrew … I’m going to work with him.” My dad stayed a bit puzzled then told me: “We can give you a maximum of 800 euros a month, we pay you the apartment … then you can share it with whoever you want, you don’t have to tell us … “. And my father embraced me and then told me to make Andrew come home, he did not want to come but then he came and my father told him, “I know you love him … but you have to be cautious … there more than here…”. That’s all. 
Andrea with his parents has had no more relationships and we now live together in a small apartment for students in a small city in Central Italy. In the coming year we should take the specialist degree. We made not just love, we even studied like crazy. Saying family does not mean anything, you have to see what that means in real life, but I and Andrew really feel that we are a family.
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Dear Project,
today for the first time I had the evidence of the stupidity of some guys and I also sent one of them to hell, not to say worse, even though he was a very good guy in many respects and I liked him a lot. I’ve always been afraid of sexually transmitted diseases and I’ll explain why, and some of the things you’ve told me have accentuated my fears. I do not think that happiness can be achieved just though sex, though sex is still a thing that creates a true dimension of intimacy, however, thinking of ruining life for five minutes of unprotected sex with an unknown guy seems to me the classic behavior of a totally irresponsible person. 
I had a friend, or better, luckily, I still have a friend, he is a guy of Irish origin, I’ll call him Patrick, even though this is not his name. Patrick has become HIV positive for underestimating the risks. It is true that now being HIV positive does not turn immediately to AIDS because there are antiretroviral drugs that control the situation well enough and that’s why the outlook is far less terrible than a few decades ago, but Patrick’s life will be permanently conditioned by the HIV. I’ve seen how Patrick changed after the diagnosis and everything he needs to do for therapy and related clinical controls and are not at all banal things, and anyway HIV is not definitely eliminated. 
Talking to Patrick causes me distress and it causes me also rage because no one has ever made him reason, on the other hand I too didn’t even do it, I thought he was very careful about prevention but it did not happen, and I cannot even blame him because he did not have risky behaviors or at least he did not seem to have risky behaviors. He had sex only with his partner and his partner didn’t know he was HIV positive. So, in essence, no one and not even his partner is really guilty of what happened. You could try to figure out who has infected his partner but you would end up tracing back the infection chain without any real utility. 
The only way to avoid what happened would have been to test before having sexual intercourse and repeat the test after the window period without having sexual intercourses between the two tests, but it’s a long thing, not easy to accomplish and people end to neglect it with the terrible consequences that Patrick is now facing. I must say that I am very informed about HIV (I study Medicine) and I have continued to attend Patrick, but many of his friends, having known that he is HIV positive, abandoned him completely and this has greatly aggravated his psychological situation. 
After I saw how Patrick’s life changed (because of these things I often talk with him), I became absolutely uncompromising in terms of prevention, I would say almost maniac. At that time I had not had already any sexual intercourse with anyone and I was quiet for my personal situation, but later I also had a boyfriend. Until a few months ago, I was with a guy who unfortunately got tired of staying with me and has gone, but from the perspective of prevention he was a guy with the brain in the head. When we thought we could have sexual intercourse, we went together to test and another time four months later for the window effect, clearly we went together to test and retire the results, so as to take away any doubt, therefore, when we had sexual intercourse we did not have in the background the ghost of the fear of HIV. 
There is not only HIV but there are several other sexually transmitted diseases, which make perhaps less frightening but are able to cause anyway serious damages. And then, if one goes to test, he becomes also more careful and learns that prevention is a fundamental thing. Of course we waited four and a half months to have sex, but when we did, we could only think about sex and not about the possible risks. Okay, this was my ex-boyfriend, and losing him caused me trouble, because he was not the type of sexual escapades, he had met Patrick, and Patrick had shown him very closely that the risks really exist. Anyway my ex-boyfriend left because we were thinking about other things in very different ways, however he left, and bye! 
But since then it had been over a year and I was slowly falling in love with another guy, a very nice and very sweet guy, a guy I loved very much. We started chatting, then we met in the evening to talk a bit (he lives somewhere near my home). Then, inevitably, sexual expectations were also created. I told him about my story and he told me about his. At this point he thought we would come to sex immediately, because in our stories it didn’t seem to be any risk of sexually transmitted diseases, but in such things I don’t accept at all the word “seem”, and I told him that we had to do the double test before having sex, as I had done with my old boyfriend. He was very weirded by this speech. I quote here a piece of a mail about the subject:
“I felt treated like a leper. You do not trust what I tell you. But why should I tell you something false? Do you want to use the condom? Okay, that’s fine, but using it for oral sex just seems absurd. But you do not even need this, you just want to do the test and you want to do it twice! But so we have to throw away five months to wait. But do you feel right? And It’s all for a matter of principle, because you know that you can trust me. Please, try to think serenely and put aside absurd complexes!”
Obviously I could not give in, I told him I did not want any risk and our relationship began to crunch. We met another couple of times, the second time I told him about Patrick’s story because I thought that the story would cause him to reason but that didn’t happen at all and he reacted in a way that annoyed me and probably from here on our relationship went into crisis. I told him that Patrick had only had sex with his boyfriend and that his boyfriend did not know he was HIV positive. I had told him so because that was what really happened, but he started to do strange faces, almost insinuating that Patrick probably had had sex with so many guys and that he probably had infected his partner, but such things were all completely devoid of sense, because he had heard Patrick’s name for the first time just 10 minutes before. Then I became the target of his frustrations, he considered me a psychopath. In the end he put an ultimatum
“or tonight we do it and as I like, or our story is over. I think you’ll be happy.”
I cannot stand ultimatums, and even less that someone judges without knowing what he is talking about, nevertheless I tried to make him understand my point of view and said:
“But how can you not understand that it is not a psychological problem but a real risk? Patrick trusted his boyfriend and came out devastated. You do not know him, you know nothing about him and you think you can judge him, but you don’t know how he is now, you should meet him and understand so much more. Anyway I do not blame you, before I saw closely Patrick’s story, I too considered these things very superficially, it was he who taught me to reason and not to trust. I’m not full of complexes about sex as you think, I’m not trying to get away from anything, before I knew you, I had a boyfriend and we had sex a lot of times, but it was safe sex. I’ve seen more than once worried guys for having had unprotected sex, guys who have been waiting for the test results with a terrible anxiety, they felt extremely worried because they felt as if they had played a game similar to the Russian roulette. In the end, things have gone well for them, but your answer: “So why should not go well to you?” It seems completely absurd, because to Patrick things went wrong. But, sorry, is it not better also for you to have security at another level? It’s about waiting, and then we can be well together even without sex, not forever, but only for a while.”
After this message he disappeared altogether. Now he is not with me, but there is not even fear in the background. I told Patrick that this guy was gone and he said to me:
“He has had a really childish behavior, if he really wanted to, he would have understood, but he preferred trying to force things and impose his point of view, and this is already not a good sign and in fact he has tried to impose an imprudent behavior, which means that it underestimates the risks and as he did it on this occasion he could have done the same in the future. I think that if the guys could see closely the problems caused by HIV they would use much more brain and with a serious education on prevention, the risk of AIDS could be slowly eliminated.”
If you want to post this mail, post it, I think you should absolutely publish it because making the guys aware of the risks of unprotected sex might be equivalent to saving their lives.
A hug.
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This post is to point out the mechanism of self-repression of homosexuality.

Sexual orientation is not a choice but a matter of fact, this is not the place to ask what caused it, what concerns us here is that sexual orientation has nothing to do with the personal choices, you are straight, gay or bisexual or you are not but certainly you don’t choose to be or not to be.

In dealing with issues related to sexual orientation a guy starts from unconsciousness to  reach consciousness of being gay, and then comes the acceptance of being gay, if there are not external disturbing factors the transition is gradual and not traumatic and can be done with a time pattern extremely variable. There are guys that at 14 have fully accepted their homosexuality, and there are adult men who are unable to accept it even over 50 and we will soon see why.

Factors that may affect the process towards the awareness and acceptance are many and vary widely depending on age and individual condition, all of them slow down or prevent the acceptance of homosexuality and are factors of spontaneous repression of sexuality.

Before puberty it is improper to speak of homosexuality, the term has a specific meaning only after puberty when a boy begins to experience physical sexuality and discovers masturbation. This is where come the first forms of repression of sexuality, both heterosexual and gay, based on feelings of guilt related to masturbation. These are the years in which a boy considers masturbation something very private and forbidden and tries to find out spaces that allow privacy needed for a sexual exploration not put at risk by disturbing elements. The moralistic religious awareness and education, which sees sexuality as something abnormal, can repress sexuality in the bud and tie it firmly to guilt. These mechanisms apply to all boys, straight and gay, but while around 11/13 for heterosexual boys peer group tends to present heterosexual sexuality, and in particular hetero masturbation as a transgression that somehow you need to afford in order to become a man, and this relieves the repressive capacity of faith-based or family-based mechanisms and strengths the sense of belonging to the group, based on having the same sexuality of the other boys, for gay boys peer group acts in the opposite direction because gay sexuality is heavily branded with epithets of various kinds. A gay guy does not identify himself in sexual experiences of his comrades and realizes easily that while they can talk and boast about their experiences in order to be considered adults, this possibility for him is ruled out. These are the terrible years of high school, probably the most unpleasant for a gay guy who has to realize that his sexuality is not only different from that of other guys but is considered degrading and dirty. This fact often doesn’t lead to radical forms of repression of gay sexuality of younger men, but only to repression of its visible manifestations. At 14, a boy, however, does not court explicitly another boy because it affects social reactions, but usually gay masturbation sexuality is not at all conditioned by social attitudes. I should note that in most cases not even religious repression can produce feelings of guilt in younger guys about their being gay. The kids who go to church, confess that they had masturbated, not that they had masturbated with gay fantasies, that means they feel guilty the act and not the fantasy that determines it. Many kids are spontaneously so far from considering homosexuality a sin in itself that when they realize that the church condemns homosexuality, they are strongly perplexed. Basically I mean that homosexuality discovered through masturbation after puberty is influenced by constraints that hamper its external manifestations but still cannot blame it in the eyes of younger guys.

So far we dealt with children who have lived their childhood and their pre-adolescence smoothly and without any lack of affection. The speech is certainly more complicated when children grow up in stressful situations or are subjected to traumas (watching scenes of violence, suffering physical violence from family members, be unwittingly involved in sexual activities by adults). About these situations, and about children who show significant forms of anxiety or markedly depressive tone already in adolescence or about those with disorders characterized by recurrent ideas from which it does not seem possible to be free, we should broaden the discussion a lot. The period from 11 to 14 is really delicate, boys put the bases of emotional and psychological aspects of sexuality and this must happen in a calm atmosphere, free of tension and examples of family affective relations can be reference points.

But leaving aside these much more complex situations, we have to ask why the mechanisms of self-repression of gay sexuality acts more heavily on older boys and adults than on younger boys. To answer this question we must keep in mind that young boy’s sexuality should be structured and built without the need to demolish anything, an older boy and an adult, who already have a structured sexuality, freeing the development of its gay sexuality, may require a process of destruction of their previous sexual identity, that means of the previous consciousness of a different sexual identity. In other words, an older boy or an adult to accept his gay sexual identity has to demolish the concept of himself as a heterosexual and has to be able to replace it with a different sense of himself as gay and all that meets considerable resistances.

Generally gay guys who have felt gay from the beginning don’t experiment stronger forms of self-repression of homosexuality, on the contrary those who have formed a consciousness of themselves as heterosexuals and are in the position of having to undermine much of the structure of their personality are usually strongly self-repressed. In essence, the real mechanisms involved in suppression of homosexuality are something that aims to protect a sexuality already structured in another way. The question that arises is, however, why a gay guy can end up structuring an hetero sexuality, that is having an image of himself as a hetero? Here the mechanism is not repressive and stems essentially from a series of errors of interpretation in which the guy falls or is induced to fall for the fact that we are immersed in a society that emphasizes heterosexual signals and neglects all those gay .

Let me give an example, considering only two symmetric situations, the first a boy who considers himself like a gay and nevertheless feels straight sexual feelings, the second a guy who considers himself heterosexual and fells sexual gay feelings. We will see that if there can be misinterpretation in both cases, the sexual repression works only in the second case, that is for the guy who has considered himself heterosexual and feels sexual gay feelings.

A gay guy, that is, a guy who has a gay masturbation, which is in a sexual situation involving a girl, goes to the erection, can experiment sexual desire for that girl, may even get to have sex with her, even engaging sex. Based on the model of interpretation related to the sexual “behavior” all that leads to the deduction: “I can have sex with a girl in a pleasant way, so I’m straight!” This reasoning is comforting because, inter alia, shall release the boy from complications of being gay and is reassuring in terms of social acceptance. Underestimating gay masturbation sexuality in favor of heterosexual couple sex in order to identify sexual orientation does not operate any form of repression.If we consider a guy who has always felt straight, that is, with masturbation and with a couple sexuality consistently straight, and hypothesize that this guy starts to feel sexually attracted to another guy, to the point of masturbating thinking about that guy or even have sex with him, we’ll “not” automatically deduct: “I’m sexually attracted to a guy, so I’m gay!” because in this case the deduction would be destabilizing, and to accept it the guy should deconstruct  the vision of himself as a heterosexual to replace it with a vision of himself as gay. These are the typical situations in which triggers the repression of gay sexuality. The guy who thinks he’s hetero stops to meet the guy who awakes his sexual responses because this way the risk of destabilizing his own sexuality decreases, but usually this is not enough, he even forcibly stops masturbating because his masturbation would be gay, something that undermines his sexual straight identity.

I want to emphasize a key element: repression of gay sexuality has two complementary aspects: the first is expressed in avoiding every occasion of gay sexual arousal and the second manifests itself in a heightened level of heterosexual couple activity, the latter mechanism leads often to neurotic reactions because it is not desired for reasons of sexual affection but related mechanisms for confirmation of sexual identity. In some cases, the repression of sexuality leads to irrevocable decisions as gay marriage, which is considered in these cases like a medicine of homosexuality, it makes no sense under any point of view. Homosexuality, however repressed, ends up sooner or later to return to the surface.

I add another important thing. To push forcefully toward heterosexuality gay guys who repress their homosexuality in favor of a possible couple relationship and of a heterosexual marriage are often girls who do not have the foggiest idea of what homosexuality really is and who feel ready to lead, or trying to encourage their guys to exclusive heterosexuality on the basis of women seductive arts. These things, at first, seem also to be successful because the elimination of gay sexuality is compensated by a more intense and hetero sexuality and heterosexuality is more socially accepted and encouraged and gives the feeling of being really straight. But by far the mechanism is worn and often the same girls who have encouraged their gay guys to the marriage find themselves in positions of stark contrast with their husbands they can not in any way accept like homosexuals. A heterosexual woman marries a man because she thinks that he isn’t gay or at least that is no more gay, because she identifies the guy’s sexual orientation with sexual behavior she can see and not with the sexual desires that she cannot see, when she discovers that her husband is actually gay and that in a marital situation he feels uncomfortable she gets angry with her husband and considers him like a marriage traitor, but really, if the guy said how things were before marriage and the girl came to her decision to marry the same, often family members and personages of various kinds are involved, they not knowing anything about homosexuality are as trusted advisors in such a sensitive area.

A final consideration. From the repression of homosexuality tied to the mechanisms we have described above it’s possible to exit only if the environment is favorable and if a gay man has the courage to say the truth, what can never be taken for granted. There are people who prefer to repress or perhaps don’t have in fact any choice. In any case you cannot replace a repressed gay and try to get him out of his sexual repression on the basis of your way of seeing things. Get out of self-imposed sexual repression is not easy. And you can’t take for sure that it could have always a positive result without the required conditions.


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