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.
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.
If you like, you can join the discussion on this post on Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-gay-discomfort-unreliable-adults-and-myths-of-virility-and-masculinity
I quote below, translated into English, an email published in the Italian Blogs of Gay Project on December 27, 2007.
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.
If you want, you can participate in the discussion of this post opened on Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-sexually-self-repressed-gay-guys