LOVE STORIES OF A GAY EIGHTEEN YEAR OLD

First of all, thanks for last night’s chat. You will understand that at 18, for one who has always tried not to see, finding the courage to write you was very difficult, but I’m glad I did. I expected a standard answer, let’s say a schematic thing, and I was struck by the kind of response, very direct. When I asked you to chat, I didn’t know what you would answer, but a minute later we were on Skype. Maybe the fears of a boy like me will make you smile, but I cannot talk to anyone seriously and for me to be able to talk about certain things means to understand that I must not be afraid. 
 
I have always lacked a family from my childhood, I had a family but only in name, my father thinks only of his things and my mother cares about me and my sister just like a duty always puffing and making us notice (especially at me) that for her we are only a ball and chain. My mother is convinced that she is an excellent mother and that she has sacrificed herself for us from morning to night and in a sense it is true, but she is not a mother, she is a super-nanny.
 
My father, when I try to tell him two words, makes me point out that he has no time, that he has other things to do and that what I wanted to tell him can be said later, he always postpones  my sister’s things and mine, because he has to think about work , always and only about work.
 
How can I tell my parents that I’m gay? I think that, very simply, they wouldn’t believe it, they are young, my father is 44 and mother 42, but they are straight and for them the world ends there. When there is a program on television that also speaks about gays, they don’t make homophobic comments, none of this, simply they change the channel, without even noticing, as if they had ended up by mistake on a channel that talks about how the cucumbers are cultivated in Arizona.
 
Besides, I would not bear at all the idea of being sent by a psychologist, and what for? I don’t have problems with my being gay, I feel great. One of my schoolmates is a gay, publicly declared, I don’t like him at all, he is a very good guy, but I really don’t like him physically, he is not effeminate at all but he isn’t certainly the guy of my dreams My classmates are not homophobic, my gay friend is not teased or bullied, the others simply consider him a bit like a Martian.
 
One day a friend of mine was talking to this gay guy and said to him: “I have nothing against gays, but I never understood how you, who are basically a boy like us, can do without girls and how can you run after guys “. This is the attitude that I see around me. I know that there is much worse, but even this feeling like a Martian is not at all pleasant. You can well understand that coming out at school and being treated like my gay friend doesn’t attract me at all.
 
As for love stories, my fantasies are enough for me. Two years ago I fell in love with a boy 18 years old, who was very handsome and fascinated me a lot because he was very calm, never aggressive and even though I was younger than him, the times that we talked, he took me as a guy his age. Then he graduated and left and I didn’t see him anymore, he was also a straight guy, I didn’t have the slightest doubt about that.
 
There is a guy in my class who likes me, that is, compared to the handsome boy of two years ago …  no! There’s no possible  comparison, but among others he is the one  I more look at, but then, when I speak with him, all my fantasies vanish, he is very full of himself, he tells me all the things he will do at university and later, but he seems to me a bit like an inflated balloon. Can you see him as a scientist, one who lacks satisfactory qualifications in mathematics? I don’t believe him will become a scientist! So, let’s say that as far as love stories I’m at zero.
 
There is a guy I like a lot in every sense but he is not in my class and I can exchange with him just a few words when there is the assembly, but I really like him a lot. He’s tall, thin, smiling, blond, with light eyes, just like the guys I like and then he’s smart, when he intervenes he amazes me for what he says, and he’s one who talks little, he also has a very sexy voice and beautiful hands. On this guy I tried to gather information, first of all to know if he has a girlfriend and doesn’t have one! Then to understand how he thinks about gays and I once heard one of his speeches in the assembly when he was talking about this and I noticed that he had a very particular way of expressing himself.
 
I’ll give you an example. Another guy, to say that gays mustn’t be marginalized, said that they should not be marginalized because “those are like us!” And therefore practically said to be a straight guy who accepts gays, while the guy that I like never did a distinction between “us” and “they”, he never said things that implied that he was straight, and this switched on a light bulb in my brain. . . he doesn’t have a girlfriend, talking about gays he doesn’t distinguish between us and them . . . well, objectively they are not very strong arguments but it is clear that the speech needs to be deepened and that it makes sense to try to understand something more.
 
I don’t think this guy has ever noticed me because I speak little, I don’t intervene in the assembly and I’m afraid to say nonsense, so I don’t show myself too much, however, with this guy  some things have happened that I liked a lot. During the assembly many guys were in the yard to smoke and we were there too, even if we don’t smoke, then the others came back to the assembly, I stayed out, I expected him to enter and instead he stayed out talking with me sitting on the steps, it seemed to me like a dream. I don’t want to overestimate the fact but he stayed there for me. We did not know what to say, neither he nor I, it was a moment of sweet embarrassment, but it ended immediately because a teacher passed and made us come back to the assembly.
 
Then there was another episode, there was a conference about the nuclear physics in the afternoon and there were very few people, there were no one of his classmates and he sat next to me in an almost empty room, I felt his warmth.
 
When it was over he offered me a coffee at the coffee machine and asked me what I had understood about everything they had said, and I told him that I was just thinking about something else and he replied: “Me too. . . ” and he gave a beautiful smile, I asked him about what had he thinking and he replied: “I think you know, but let’s change the subject, ok?” It was a very intense moment but then we talked about other things.
 
Is it possible that he too is interested in me? You don’t have an idea of how such a thing would make me happy. I don’t even care if he’s gay (of course it would be ideal!). It would be enough for me to have him only as a friend. Here he’s my dream of love: a handsome guy, intelligent and in love with me! Maybe it’s too much to ask, but I will not give him up because there’s something on its side too. Now I leave you and wish you a good week. 
Thanks for everything.
Mathew
____________
If you like, you can join the discussion on this post on Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-love-stories-of-a-gay-eighteen-year-old
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GAYS AND FRUSTRATION

1 Frustration-inadequacy and frustration-rejection 
 
This chapter is dedicated to the experience of frustration, I immediately clarify that I intend to speak specifically about frustration, not anxiety or even more generally of discomfort, things that, however, they can be linked to the frustration.
 
The etymology itself of the term frustration, derived from the Latin adverb frustra = in vain, to no avail, clearly indicates that frustration is a form of discomfort resulting from the impossibility or the failure to achieve an expected or desired result. Frustration is one of the possible outcomes of the desired.
 
The reduction of the sense of frustration can derive only from the containment of the need or the desire within the sphere of the possible and even better of the probable, in other words only an ability to assess ex ante the greater or less feasibility of one’s desire allows to limit the its possible frustrating outcomes.
 
It’s here where the radical distinction of objectives comes into play in relation to whether or not their realization depends only on us. I clarify the discourse with two classic examples:
1) Completing of studies (individual objective).
2) Finding reciprocity in an emotional relationship (shared goal).
 
These are two radically different objectives. The completion of the studies depends only on the more or less conditioned action of the individual who can find objective obstacles but who is aware that the achievement of the objective (individual objective), beyond the external conditioning, depends in an essential way from his commitment and his capacities, in this case frustration is essentially perceived as a sense of inadequacy.
 
Finding reciprocity in an affective relationship is instead a fact substantially connected to an interpersonal relationship, this means that the achievement of the objective doesn’t depend only on the person who is focusing on that goal but also, and in an essential way, on another person who should share that goal (shared goal). In this case frustration is perceived as rejection.
 
It is not uncommon, however, that a frustration-rejection is also experienced as a frustration-inadequacy on the basis of identifying the causes of rejection in one’s own inadequacy: “He refused me because I am not up to the situation or because I have failed in something”, at the basis of these arguments however, there is a non-genuinely relational view of affective relationships that are interpreted as a kind of chess game in which, if the moves are not mistaken, you still get to win the game. In this way the other is seen as an object to be conquered with a strategy that, if adequate, necessarily leads to the result. This way of seeing things, even if in many cases it is completely incongruous, seems absolutely obvious to those who adopt it as their own interpretative model, to the point of obscuring the objectivity of the facts.
Let me explain with a concrete example.
 
2 Unrealizable goals
 
A gay guy who falls madly in love with an objectively heterosexual guy is induced to see his object of love as a repressed gay and not as a heterosexual and to think that with an appropriate strategy it will be possible to make sure that he takes note of his presumed repressed homosexuality. In such situations, the feeling of frustration-inadequacy can last for years and sometimes it becomes difficult to realize how things really are, even when the other gets married.
 
It is essential to realize that some things, however deeply desired, are objectively impossible. A heterosexual guy cannot fall in love with a gay guy, whatever strategy the gay guy uses, the thing will be anyway  impossible, so we should put aside the idea of being inadequate (not handsome enough, not solar enough, not reliable enough, too much neurotic etc. etc.) and realize that rejection is not a refusal of the person as such but a manifestation of the objective impossibility of sharing the objectives of the other. I pause for a moment to reflect on the feeling of being rejected.
 
The feeling of rejection that occurs when the other doesn’t share our goal is often experienced, especially by gay guys in love with straight guys, as a refusal not generically of the person but of the person as a gay, rather than as an inability to share the goal of the other, and this sometimes makes the process of accepting homosexuality more difficult.
 
Expecting a straight guy to fall in love with a gay guy makes no sense but expecting him to be a gay guy’s friend is realistic. A gay guy in these situations is often brought to the “all or nothing”, the thing is also understandable and a downsizing of the goal that makes it a shared goal is often difficult because even if the gay guy were to settle for a friendly relationship with the heterosexual guy he is in love with, he would still be frustrated in his “true, even if unrealistic, objective” that is to build a shared love story.
 
However, metabolizing the feeling of refusal of an emotional and sexual involvement by a straight guy, for a gay guy is still, all in all, a process of awareness of reality not too traumatic, because difficulties are basically objective and objectively insurmountable.
 
3 Frustrations in relationships between gays
 
The topic becomes much more delicate when the feeling of rejection intervenes in the relationship with another gay, here it is about a refusal on subjective ground that for the rejected person is much more difficult to accept and it is much more frequently accompanied by a feeling of inadequacy. In these situations, projective mechanisms typically come into play, for which one’s own feelings and expectations are projected onto the other and it is very difficult to understand that the other is objectively another, with a different individual story, with other desires and with a completely autonomous lived experience.
 
Generally, when a gay guy falls in love, the first and insistent question that arises concerns the sexual orientation of the other, if the other is not gay there is nothing to do, but if the other is gay it seems that the problem is solved and that the reciprocity will be achieved in any case, it is the typical “gay + gay = love” theorem behind which very strong projective mechanisms are hidden that make us see in the other, identified as a gay, an individual identical to ourselves.
 
We must never forget that gays don’t constitute a homogeneous category, there are gays of any political orientation, of any social level, of any religious creed or without any religious belief, there are gays who are excellent people and there are gays who aren’t at all, exactly as it is in the general population.
 
Gays are not a kind of Eden where everything is governed by good feelings, nor a kind of hell in which everything is dominated by individual interest and lower instincts. Gays are profoundly different from one another because they have behind them deeply different individual stories. So it is not at all obvious that a gay man can feel comfortable with another gay just because they are both gay and, I stress it, If two gays can quite easily become friends because they have something in common, it is certainly unlikely that two gay guys can feel a mutual sexual and affective feeling just because they are both gay, exactly as a hetero doesn’t fall in love with an ordinary woman just because she is a woman.
 
4 Frustration coming from projective mechanisms and socialization
 
Mechanisms that make us to project onto the other, as a gay, our feelings and our ways of reasoning can move us away from an objective assessment of the facts and can create completely unrealistic expectations. What can protect us from these projective mechanisms that often lead us to frustration? The answer is almost obvious, it is the socialization. The more a boy has a rich social and affective life, I speak above all of friendships, the more he has direct experience of the variability of the individuals with whom he interacts and the less he is led to the projective mechanisms.
 
I give a concrete example. A gay guy, who was writing to me his first embarrassed mail, told me: “I’ve never met another gay boy” for him the “gay boy” category was still unified and not having precise references he completed it seeing the “gay boy”  as another himself. That same guy, after a few nights spent chatting with other gay boys, said: “I realized that with many guys I can get along but with someone it’s like there’s a bigger distance, even if they are anyway very good guys, they have another way of reasoning, but there are some guys I feel really good with.” These speeches are the typical sign of a progressive socialization and therefore of the progressive decrease of the projective tendency.
 
5 Virtual relationships between gays
 
We now try to focus our attention on virtual couple relationships (chats, e-mails and forums) that can arise between gay guys. If we want to give the word love a connotation that is not excessively abstract, it must be assumed that love cannot be reduced to an intellectual affinity or a sharing of moral values but must necessarily presuppose a physical-physiological involvement, not necessarily experienced in couple, that deeply involves sexuality. At this point an observation is obligatory. When, in real life, a gay guy falls in love with another guy, falling in love doesn’t start from the intellectual level or from possible elective affinities but from physical attraction, that is from a whole set of factors that depend on the physicality of the other: his smile, his physical presence, his voice, his bodily attitudes, his tendency to a more or less seductive behavior.
 
This is so true that very often gay guys fall in love with straight guys far from them in every respect, but able to physically embody their ideal guy. If a guy appears to us physically attractive, we start asking ourselves questions about him and want to find a closeness also in terms of dialogue, in practice we are interested in that guy.
 
This mechanism of falling in love, which is typical of real life, cannot be put into practice through the internet where everything remains detached from the physical dimension. In these situations intervenes a projective mechanism that makes us imagine the guy with whom we are talking in chat according to our categories.
 
6 Texts not sexually connoted
 
Let me clarify with a very immediate example what a projective mechanism is and how much it can be conditioning. In appendix to this chapter can be read a story “not sexually connoted”, that is a story that does not present in the text any element that allows to clarify with certainty if one of the protagonists is a boy or a girl [In many languages but not in English, adjectives and past participles are accorded to the term to which they refer. In English third person’s pronouns are different for masculine a feminine, in any case, using the direct speech in second person and sometimes the impersonal speech “one can keep one’s own secrets” avoiding to refer to the sex of someone, it is possible this way to save ambiguity even in English] (in Italian it is possible to achieve the same result  avoiding pronouns of the third person, past participles or adjectives and using frequently the impersonal speech). A story not sexually connoted, therefore, is in itself neutral.
 
When that story is read by a straight guy, that guy interprets it according to his categories. But when that story is read by a gay guy reading is not so automatic and the gay guy often notices that the text is not sexually connoted, what usually escapes a heterosexual guy. On this basis projective tests for the determination of sexual orientation that have a real reliability can be built.
 
The projective reading is basically the reason for the fascination of literature or cinema because we project ourselves into the events and interpret them according to our experience.
 
7 Online chats and projective mechanisms
 
An exchange of e-mails, a chat conversation or a dialogue on a forum create a text, or better they construct a four-handed text. That text has the characteristics of literature, even more accentuated by the fact that it is built in four hands, it is the most suitable context for the projective readings but while in the projective reading of a book one doesn’t aim to build an interpersonal relationship and everything remains inside the reader’s mind, in the relationships via  internet the projective tendency must sooner or later take into account that on the other side there is another guy with his projections on the same conversation.
 
There is basically the risk of misunderstanding, aggravated by the fact that many chat conversations remain at extremely sublimated and symbolic levels and are therefore extremely open to projective interpretations. The role of important projective mechanisms in Internet contacts can be so decisive as to induce the two interlocutors even put aside the idea of a personal knowledge that could interrupt or destroy the projective mechanism which in itself is at least apparently gratifying.
 
8 The drift of the love language
 
I add that often in the dialogues in chat  between gay guys it is common to find the mechanism of the drift of the love language that is the progressive and automatic indulging in a language that more and more resembles a love language, this means that it is not at all rare that two guys who have never met in person, end up talking like lovers.
 
The emotional investment in these mechanisms is often very high and the projective dimension is such that the risk that the conversation is reduced to being just the starting point for the construction of stories that exist only at the projective level is very concrete. Basically we create an interlocutor to our measure, projectively completing the real elements (often scarce and of uncertain meaning) that emerge from the dialogue. This is so true that a gay guy comes to fall in love with a straight guy, interpreting every little element that does not appear 100% hetero as the sign of a possible homosexuality, and at the same time devaluing all those elements that also very clearly show that that guy isn’t at all a gay guy.
 
But I must stress that the mechanism also operates in relationships between gay guys, that is, between guys who know with certainty that the other is gay. The projective mechanism reaches the point of attributing to the other a presumed physicality, that is, it comes to embody him in an image that represents our ideal guy.
 
Sometimes and not rarely the projective image of the other is also loaded with sexual values and we try a sexual transport that is not at all superficial for a guy we’ve never seen. In practice we fall in love even sexually with a guy that at 90% has been created by our projective imagination that also attributes a physicality to him according to what we want.
 
The drift of the love language then does the rest and gives the clear impression that one is building a true love story. But in all this there is a fundamental mistake, in practice the natural mechanism that leads from physical attraction to emotional love is completely distorted. It must be remembered that to fall in love in the true sense of the word, a physical-physiological involvement is essential but must be addressed to a real person, not to an image created by our projective fantasy.
 
Some surrogates of the physical presence, such as photos or videos cannot in any way replace the physical presence that is and remains the necessary element of a true falling in love, I mean that without the physical presence and without an authentic form of involvement physical-physiological, love doesn’t exist at all.
 
I would like to warn youngsters who know each other in a chat against letting themselves go to the drift of love language, which only creates expectations that can then be completely destroyed even by a very brief meeting in which we realize that our projections don’t have anything in common with reality and that the discourse (but only the discourse) has been going on freely, far beyond reality.
 
It is generally very easy to let yourself go in a chat to big speeches, to say “I like you” and also “I love you” without a concrete foundation but it is very difficult to resize these statements later, when these speeches have created and consolidated expectations that a direct personal knowledge can destroy in a sudden and traumatic way.
 
At this point, if when the two guys meet in person the disillusionment is mutual, all in all, the problem is easily solved because the expectations of both parties vanish at the same time but if one of them is disillusioned and the other on the contrary feels strongly attracted also physically, the dissymetries become very strong and the situations become difficult to manage.
 
9 Friendships in chat
 
In chat or via e-mail, that is without direct personal knowledge, it is rather possible and, I would say, much less risky, to create friendships, which are much less conditioned by projective mechanisms than possible love stories. I notice that the spontaneous tendency of the guys is to look for a boyfriend, a lover, rather than one or more real friends in chat, but the internet tools are much better suited to the creation and maintenance of friendships than to the creation of love stories.
 
As a good rule of prudence I would say that it would be good to reserve speeches with strong emotional connotation only to people we actually met even outside the chat or the forum, that is people we met in person. And here an important reflection intervenes. Meeting in two in real life after having met in chat, gives that meeting a very strong emotional connotation and makes it appear as a step towards the construction of an important and mutual story. This is why it is generally better to build relationships that start from friendship, from seeing each other in a group, that is, from relationships that don’t create too many expectations that could turn into disillusionment.
 
Friendship is always the first step, if the physical presence is engaging and encouraging then it may make sense to go a step further, otherwise friendship remains and is not compromised by the fact that no story with greater involvement derives from it because undeclared expectations have not been fed.
 
I would like to stress that the network (used with the utmost caution, for heaven’s sake!) offers possibilities but can also lead to very heavy disillusionments. If you love someone, even just as a friend, you must avoid deluding him and take him to cold showers that leave a deep sense of bitterness. So it is good to always maintain an attitude of responsibility and think first about the possible consequences of what you are going to do or to say. Closed this parenthesis on online meetings, we return to the topic of frustration.
 
10 The value of experience
 
The other key element, beyond socialization, to prevent the sense of frustration is experience. The first refusal can be really traumatic, the following are certainly less, in essence our psyche considers the first traumas of rejection as a kind of vaccination that attenuates the virulence of the following ones. The rejection trauma often leads to behaviors that appear to be attempts to overcome rejection, as insistent requests for confirmation from the other, which obviously only amplify the feeling of rejection. All this, which appears as an inadequate and dysfunctional behavior, on the contrary, has a precise meaning and serves to define the situation (to put a boundary or a limit), that is, serves to its definitive overcoming, to its archiving.
 
It should be emphasized that those who after a first refusal insist on asking for further confirmation are judged by this to be inadequate, but are actually looking for a fracture mechanism that creates the conditions for going further. In this sense, unclear, implicit, said and denied refusals, do nothing but avoid this moment of fracture, preventing in fact the definition of the situation that remains perpetually unresolved.
 
Beyond the subjective perception, the real situations of discomfort are realized where a state of constant uncertainty persists and time passes without the guys realizing the presence or absence of a true symmetrical dimension in an affective relationship.
 
11 Affective frustrations and other frustrations
 
I would like to add that frustrations in the emotional field are often complicated by the presence of other frustrations, this time strictly individual, connected to the failure to achieve objectives related to the research and stabilization of work or success in studies, especially when failures are perceived as deriving from a lack of individual commitment in solving a problem which would really be solvable.
 
In general, frustrations due to substantial disengagement at the individual level are masked by frustrations in emotional or couple relationships that are magnified to make them appear as the core of the state of discomfort, in this case failures in emotional life are motivated by a primary, original inability, that is impossible to overcome and that is almost incumbent as an ineluctable destiny, it is the moment of “I am so, there something wrong in me, I cannot do anything!”
 
The individual frustrations, not referred to their causes but seen as an expression of something uncontrollable, trigger ideas with vaguely depressive contents that risk pervading life on various levels and setting in motion vicious circles from which it is difficult to get out.
 
Experience teaches that problems must be faced and resolved one at a time. The most meaningful thing is to avoid giving your brain a way of always spinning on the usual contents, instead choosing short-term concrete objectives to be implemented by focusing seriously on them. The antidote to frustration and the way to break a series of frustrations that risk triggering a depressive mechanism is to achieve the first successes, to lay the foundations for looking at the concrete and the goals that are really achievable shortly with an effort of individual commitment, how to take an exam, send a resume to find a job, without letting time flow when there are problems to be tackled immediately.
 
In this perspective, being gay can also lead to emotional frustrations that are difficult to accept, but rather than insist in the search for what is wrong in oneself, it makes sense to focus on individual and concrete goals, the achievement of which can lead to a clear increase in self-esteem and therefore also in the ability to face the frustrations in the couple life with greater concreteness and serenity.
 
12 Coexisting with frustrations
 
Frustrations are an indispensable element in the life of everybody and therefore it is necessary to learn to live with it, always remembering that as we have been rejected we also, more or less consciously, rejected other people or other forms of involvement, all this has nothing pathological but is part of the normal administration of emotional life.
 
13 Aggressive frustration and passive frustration
 
Speaking via msn with several gay guys, I often find myself faced with manifestations of frustration which, although quite differentiated, certainly have very similar motivations behind them. The reactions are at various intermediate levels between those of aggressive frustration and those of total passivity. I try to give an idea of the most recurrent content:
 
AGGRESSIVE FRUSTRATION – “The world sucks”, “I would break everything”, “People are a shit”, “To someone like that I would break his face”, “They are deficient and immature”, “I hate them all”, “I cannot stand them”, “I feel like I’m throwing away my time”, “Another day ended and I haven’t realized anything! I cannot stand anymore throwing away my time!”
 
PASSIVE FRUSTRATION – “The others can have fun not me “, “What am I living for?”, “So it’s useless!”, “I’ll never be happy”, “I don’t care about studying, so I will never succeed, my life is just a set of failures”.
 
At the base of these forms of frustration there may be differently articulated motivations but all attributable to the real or presumed impossibility of living a satisfactory affective life and the belief that “others” (hetero but also gay), instead, can fully experience their emotional life.
 
14 Different types of gay frustrations
 
The frustrations are found in different forms in different groups of people:
 
– Older boys, over 35 years old, who start feeling like they have “lost the train” because they arrived too late at the acceptance of themselves or at the idea that an emotional realization is possible even for a gay guy.
 
– Boys with specific sexual orientation towards people much older than themselves who realize the difficulty of achieving what they would like and become aware of the social condemnation (even among gays) of their preferences. These guys feel marginalized even among gays.
 
– Boys with specific minority sexual orientation, that is, boys who fall in love very rarely and with guys with whom it is difficult to build a relationship. These guys don’t usually fall in love with guys with whom fall in love the majority of gay guys and have the impression that the future, for them, can consist exclusively or in the acceptance of compromise solutions or in emotional loneliness.
 
– Guys who consider themselves unsuitable to constitute a center of emotional and sexual interest for another guy both for physical and psychological reasons.
 
15 Frustration before and after the arrival of the Internet
 
I must add a reflection that often came to my mind, while talking with guys and comparing their reactions with those that my peers had when they were twenty. Forty years ago, in objective terms, the reasons for the frustration of a gay guy could be even more serious because the isolation was total and yet, for what I could see, talking to people of my generation, the sense of frustration was less deep and the tendency to seek substitute satisfactions in the study, in the career and in a social dimension, independent of the sexual orientation, was much stronger. In essence there was at the time the clear awareness of the impossibility of building a life according to one’s own principles. Today, especially thanks to the internet, the possibilities of contact between gay guys have increased enormously, but expectations have increased proportionally, and the sense of frustration, far from being sublimated in productive activities, is very strong.
 
One of the risks associated with a reality such as Project Gay consists precisely in creating a sounding board that amplifies the sense of frustration and radicalizes it. Not only that, but the direct contact with other gay guys, which at the beginning looks extremely promising, then slowly dismantles the assumption that two gay guys necessarily have a common world and brings out the differences that are often very large. The discussion between gays is not easy because it highlights that even among gays there are mechanisms of marginalization and competitiveness. All this risks radicalizing frustration: “I feel marginalized even among other gays!”
 
16 The risks of frustration
 
But let’s come to the specific risks of the sense of frustration, first of all to the depressive forms that sometimes accompany adolescence and youth of gay boys, depressive forms complicated by the fact that talking with parents is practically impossible and boys are forced to an endless acting.
 
Depression can come to manifest itself in crying, in the sense of abandonment and uselessness. It sometimes happens that some ideas related to depression become persistently recurrent and even dominant. It is the case of the guys who construct a rational discourse in support of their depressive idea, giving it an appearance of objectivity. This is the typical case of the so-called extrapolations, which are very frequent: “If I have not fallen in love in twenty years it will never happen to me!”, “Everything I have done has always gone wrong and it will always be like that!” In these discourses we start from premises that can also be objective but we reach improper conclusions characterized by “always” or “never”, that is, by radically negative conclusions.
 
I learned from experience that talking with guys who live depressive phases is not easy and that the first thing that needs to be kept in mind is that it is not enough to have a positive chatter to get out of the depressed mood. If on the one hand the depression should not be fed, for the other must be respected and not trivialized. Seen from the outside it looks like something almost trivial, surmountable with a little encouragement, but seen from the inside it causes deep suffering.
 
Respect towards a depressed guy must be shown by putting aside all aggressiveness towards him and every preaching attitude, all this is not easy because, for those who are not depressed, it is very difficult to realize the mechanisms of depression. The insistence is experienced by a depressed guy as a form of aggression. What instead really has a value is a presence that does not fade, which is constant but not harassing. But the subject is very complex and should be investigated.
 
The second typical risk of the frustration consists in trying to “solve the problem” through the ways that seem the easiest or perhaps the only ones that can be followed, namely the erotic chats and the meeting sites. Gay Project’s online interviews show that the percentage of guys who attend erotic chats and dating sites more or less habitually is not negligible. However, it is quite probable that a good percentage of those guys don’t really enter chats or dating sites to find easy sex, in many cases those guys are driven by the sense of frustration to look inside those sites for what they cannot find elsewhere, i.e. a true emotional life. From what I see on a daily basis, many youngsters come out profoundly disappointed by the experience of dating sites and erotic chats and this only adds to the sense of frustration.
 
Apart from the risk of HIV, the alternative between visiting dating sites and sadden in a depressive state may appear to be the only one possible, even if it really it is not. What often creates conditioning is the rush to reach the solution. Among other things, the escape from the depressive loneliness can be so radically conditioning to take the boys to make them underestimate the real risks of the chats and dating sites in terms of sexually transmitted diseases and to let them consider sexual intercourses as indicative of a sure affective substrate also where it is unrealistic to expect anything like this.
 
There are guys who try to start couple relationships with guys met in chat or on the dating sites, completely expending themselves in this attempt and bringing back at the end, after many adventures, deep frustrations. The idea that the realization of sexual contacts on the basis of physical pleasure alone doesn’t realize affective well-being is difficult to accept, especially on the part of a guy fleeing from depression.
 
It would be essential to create true emotional relationships, of simple friendship, which could, if it is true friendship, allow an affective life less centered on the need for a couple’s life. The idea that the life of a person identifies with his life as a couple partner and only with it, in addition to being completely unrealistic, only amplifies the expectations, before, and the sense of frustration, after, since affective life can be built only in two and not as an answer to the demanding of only one, however profound it could be.
 
Frustration also involves a further type of risk and it is the risk connected to neglecting or abandoning all other activities that contribute to building the ordinary relationship life of a gay guy, I speak of study, work, the relationship with the family of origin and with the old friends.
 
When the idea of realizing a couple life becomes dominant, everything else gradually loses weight and becomes an object of contempt or explicit disinterest.
 
Neglecting the studies because there are “more important problems” to be solved not only doesn’t solve those problems but adds others and distances the economic autonomy over time which may instead be one of the most useful elements to reduce the sense of frustration that accompanies youth of so many gay guys.
 
Unfortunately, the idea that the life of an individual is not played on the only element “life of a couple” is difficult to accept for a guy who is accustomed and pushed to consider couple life as totalizing.
___________
If you like, you can join the discussion on this post on Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-gays-and-frustration

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 -].

___________

If you like, you can join the discussion on this post on Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-gay-guys-who-understand-and-reason-without-panic

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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ANGUISH OF THE FATHER OF A GAY SON

Hello Project, I am writing to you for a reason that for some years does not make me live well, my son is a homosexual. Believe me, for me and my wife it was a very difficult thing to accept and we did many things that you consider absurd, and rightly I mean, because we didn’t know what to do. But I tell you the story from the beginning because you are a person who does a lot for the boys and you can give me a serious opinion.

I am almost 50 years old and my wife 47, our son is 24 and we also have a girl of 16, this to make you understand. We are not rich but we work in two and thank God we don’t miss anything. We don’t have a dialogue with our son anymore, maybe we didn’t even have it before. Until 14 years old he was a guy like everyone else, then, I don’t know how it happened, but he changed completely, while before we used to talk with each other, after, the blackout has been total. We thought at first that they were teenagers things and we didn’t worry. He developed early and at the age of 16 he was already a handsome guy, but he was on one side and we on the other. Everything we said was wrong for him. He used to shut himself up in his room and we didn’t know anything about him, he went out of his room hardly to eat, but at school he was good, he never gave us any problems, in short, we thought it was all right.

But he always wanted money, always money, he said for the phone and we got a little suspicious. I told him: give me the number and I can recharge the money myself and he agreed, so the money was really for the phone, on the one hand we reassured, but on the other not. We said to ourselves: but who’s he calling, spending so many money? We thought that there was a girl, because many of his attitudes made us think so, when he had to call he always called from his room and closed himself inside and nothing could be heard because he spoke very softly. Once we told him that he had to let us know the girl, but he replied that it was only his business and that we had to stay in our place.

The thing that really ruined our life (I say truly ruined) happened one day when he was 17 years old. He had to stay at school and I had to go to work in Naples. I arrived in Naples, in the place where I had to go to work and I could not access there because the firemen were there and sent us home, I don’t know why. I go back to my country by bus and pass near a place with wooden tables where people go to eat on Sundays and I see my son hugged with another guy I had never seen. It was a moment but it was really my son, because he wore a very particular jacket that I recognized immediately. So I asked the driver to make me get off right away and he stopped the bus, but the bus was already a long way ahead of where I had saw my son. I started running towards them and they were hugged in a way that you could not go wrong. As they saw me they got terribly scared. The one who was with my son was not a boy, he was 40, I didn’t restrain anymore and threw myself on him and my son defended him and told me such words that I would never have imagined by my son.

I screamed that my son was a minor and that I would have reported him to the police, but there was nobody, I wanted to kill him but he was stronger than me and it was he who was killing me and he left me on the ground that I could not even move then he took the car and ran away but I saw the license plate number. I wanted to talk to my son but he left me and went away with no word.

When I came home and told my wife everything, she was dying. At first I thought that I had to beat up my son badly and that other one had I to report him to the police, but what can you do in a village like mine? You cannot go to the village lawyer. I made an appointment and went to Naples the same afternoon but the lawyer told me that at 17 years is not a crime if there is no violence and the judge about violence asks the victim, but my son before saying that it was violence, would have killed me. You can imagine what I was feeling inside myself.

I come home that it was late at night and my son had not come back home. You cannot imagine what I went through that night, I thought that he had thrown himself into the river from the bridge and furthermore because of me. He didn’t answer the cell phone. I didn’t know whether to go to the police, I didn’t know what to do. Then my wife thought about and said: you have to apologize otherwise he can make some inconsiderate gesture, if he haven’t already done it, we thought of a message like this: “dad apologizes for what happened, it was a moment of madness forgive me!” I wrote it and we sent it, but you don’t even imagine how much it cost me. After a night of terror like that, that my son was a homosexual it seemed almost acceptable to me, as long as he was not dead.

I prayed to Our Lady saying: “if you save him, it’s enough for me, I’ll accept him well even if he’s a homosexual”. He replied to the message by saying that I had ruined his life and that he would have hated me for life, but he had replied, we told him that he had to come back home that we had now understood and that we would not have hindered him anyway. The next evening he came back home but slamming the door and avoiding to look us in the face. He entered and closed himself inside.

In short, so began the hell in our house and everything under the eyes of his sister. When we were at home he was locked inside, with us he never ate, he took from the refrigerator what he wanted and brought it to his room. In the morning he went out for school and I didn’t know anything about it. Then I went to talk with the teachers and they told me that he had been absent too many times, before I got into a fight with that guy but the teachers said that now luckily he had started going to school seriously because if he continued as before he would have risked the rejection. So he went to school and studied as well. He didn’t ask us for money, because he is also very proud and how he was able to move forward I don’t know at all.

But we couldn’t go on like this. In short, my wife and I took courage and we faced our son and understood something. The 40-year-old guy was gone and my son was angry. He told me he was homosexual because of us and then we got in the way to stop him. So we argued violently but at least we talked a bit. We didn’t know what to do. Hidden from him we went to a psychologist in Naples who told us that we had to go to him all together, I, my wife and my son, that he could help us to feel better but if my son was a homosexual, he would stay homosexual and we said that we were resigned to this but at least we were looking for some peace. We tried to tell him about our son but he looked at us like two idiots and told us that instead we really wanted him to become heterosexual.

My wife tried to tell my son what the psychologist had said but he thought it was a trick and he didn’t even listen to us. So even the story of the psychologist has ended in nothing. Our Lady! My wife and I talked a lot, we said, well, if you find a young boy of your age you can do it, if he is attentive to people, because here where we live if people find out that you are a homosexual you become the fable of the country and you can’t live here anymore, to other boys it happened so. We tried to tell him it and he became a fury: that it was only his business and that’s it. And, do you know what he did? He just turned 18 years old, and the day after he told the whole village everything, but with all the story that I had got into a fight with that guy. Our Lady! how much I was ashamed! Not of the fact that he was homosexual but of what people were saying, of how they considered him and us. So we were put on the streets as an subject to chat about, but the first to end badly it was him, it was something that could not go on and he didn’t want to go to school anymore and he had to do the final exam.

So we had to send him to a private school in Naples, we also took a mini-apartment, to let him feel free there and we went to live in the countryside but for me and my wife there were more hours of travel to go to work and for the sister to go to school. We were afraid that he didn’t want to go to at school in Naples because it was up to us to pay for it and also for the house, but then he didn’t create any problems because even for him it was impossible to live in the village.

Our phone calls are limited to: How are you? All right, bye. We send him money via money order, we never ask for anything, at 22 he took his first degree but he didn’t tell us and we didn’t ask anything, we knew it from a guy who studies the same things that he studies. In practice we have no relationship with our son, he considers us enemies, probably, I don’t know, but now he is 24 years old.

But why do things have to end this way? I tried to think how he can feel and I think he feels uncomfortable too. But why do we have to keep going like this? It is seven years that this story goes on like this and I don’t see light. He is homosexual, I understand it, I read so many things to understand better, even those that you wrote and that helped me a lot. Now I can say that my wife and I finally accepted it. If we made mistakes we didn’t do it out of malice but because we didn’t understand anything about these things. If you were now in my place, what would you do? Believe me, I tried many times to talk with my son but he did not want to know anything about it, but we love him, if he brings home a boy instead of a girl, for us it will be the same, but why should we look like two enemies? I tell you with tears in my eyes, I would embrace him but I’m afraid it will not happen anymore! If you want to put this letter in the forum, put it, but answer me only privately. Now I come to understand that you do good things for the boys, but believe me it’s difficult for a parent to get there.
I respect you so much. A. B.
[the original email shows full name and surname]

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IF I HAD A GAY SON

Dear Project, I have been on the internet for days trying to understand something more about gays. I’m not gay, I’m a married man and I’m over fifty, I have two sons, a boy of 19 and a girl of 16. Frankly I don’t think that neither my son nor daughter has anything to do with homosexuality. My son will soon get out of school, and exactly for this reason one of his classmates has been coming to our house for a few months. At the beginning, for me and my wife, he was just a school friend of Luke, then slowly this guy began to feel good at my home and we too with him. He often stays for lunch at our home, he is a very polite guy and we like him.

Well, over time the relationship that has been created has become more important and in the end, one afternoon, he told us he was gay. I can assure you, Project, that I have nothing against gays but at the moment I was afraid, don’t blame me for this because I didn’t understand anything about these things. I thought that my son should know that his friend was gay and with some embarrassment I tried to prepare the speech, when we arrived at the moment I realized that he already knew everything, he looked at me puzzled and told me: “Ok! where is the problem?” I just replied that I thought he didn’t know it, and then ideas of all kinds about my son and his relationship with that guy began to pass through my head.

My son has a girlfriend and it always seemed to me that he was in love with her, things with the girl were fine, at least as far as you could tell from outside, and moreover my son started a few weeks ago to leave his friend at our home to go with his girlfriend. In practice my wife and I (not my son, who in fact doesn’t seem very involved) we ended up considering that guy a bit like a third child.

The feeling that has been created is very particular, Andrew (I will call him so, but it’s not his name) stays much more time at our home than at his and above all he spends much more time with me and my wife than with my son.

The embarrassment of knowing that he was gay didn’t last long but other fears took over, in particular that of keeping him away from his family of which he never talks about but both my wife and I have the impression that he is much better with us than with his parents. In front of Andrew we feel full of complexes, the one who don’t feel full of complexes at all is my son, who jokes with Andrew in a natural way but then when he has to do his things neglects Andrew without worrying about him at all.

I begin to have some fear that Andrew can count a lot (too much) on us and that our role may be a bit too anomalous. You has to know that after his coming out we talked very little especially because we don’t want him to feel under pressure. Basically he comes here at home, and if my son is at home, they study together for a while, at most for two hours, then when my son goes out, Andrew stays at home, goes to the computer (he has his laptop) and hears music or sees a bit of television and stays at dinner with us even if my son is not there. I noticed that my wife was cooking specially for him and I started looking for news about gays on the internet.

I must say that Gay Project has struck me a lot because the guys who write to you seem to me very similar to Andrew. I read a lot of the google site especially because it is more direct and even those who are not in the game begin to understand something. Project, what can I do good for Andrew? I don’t want at all to be intrusive but sometimes it makes me a bit of melancholy to think that my son in the evening goes to meet his girlfriend and Andrew must stay alone at home with us. I have asked myself many times how I would react if I saw him (Andrew) with another guy, but I think that in the end I would react well because I think he needs a guy who loves him and it’s not fair that the road should be harder for him.

Here these are the facts, strange perhaps but strangely true. I would never have thought of such eventualities but they happened. If you want to publish the email, I don’t think it would bother Andrew and even less my son.
With great esteem.
Joseph

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I HAVE A GAY SON WHO DOES NOT EVENT TALK TO ME

Hello Project, it made me good to read the story of that separate father waiting for divorce that has rediscovered his son, it’s a good story but unfortunately it will not happen like that to me. I am a 37-year-old mother, my son is only 19 years old and I have the impression that I’m losing him. It’s been a year since he stopped talking to me. I’m alone.

When he was born I was very young, a poor deluded girl ready to give confidence to the first come, I wanted to feel emancipated and you understood what happened. When I got pregnant he disappeared, I wanted to have an abortion and I told it my mother and she convinced me not to do it and told me that she would help me to move on.

Then Luca was born (let’s call him this way but it’s not his real name). I didn’t want to study and I started doing chores where I found. I had my mother behind me that gave me confidence and helped me. Obviously when you have a son at 18 with someone who he is complete disinterested in the fact of having a child, after, nobody wants you, because nobody wants the son of another man, it would not be a nice traditional little family. My mother took me to think about many things and to understand that I had to blame myself and certainly not my son for everything that had happened. I confess I assumed my role as a mother more out of duty than because I felt it was something really mine.

I tried to work to make Luca miss nothing, but of course my chances are quite limited even if I work as much as I can. Luca realized very early that he didn’t have a father. I didn’t tell him lies, but I told him right away how things were, maybe he was too young to understand and it hurt him a little. I know I’ve been impulsive and even stupid, but it happened many years ago. My son is a good boy, certainly much better than his mother and also much less stupid. He studies, he is always busy and tries to do everything he can. My problem, that one that makes me feel bad is another.

Luca, until last year had a girlfriend and it seemed like things were going well, he had brought her home a couple of times, she was a very taciturn girl but she cute up and had beautiful eyes. I was happy and he talked about her often, then at a certain point I noticed that something in my son’s life had changed, he didn’t talked anymore about the girl, when I asked him specifically he told me that it wasn’t my business and so far I could think that maybe they were in crisis for some reason, then it happens that he gets out in the afternoon while I’m going to do the shopping, the market is closed and I go somewhere else and while walking I see in front of me but at a certain distance, my son walking next to a gentleman I didn’t know, one dressed pretty well, who could have been 40-45 years old. I ask myself: who is this man? I begin to follow them from a distance. They go to the public villa and I watched them from afar. They stay there for an hour, then they go to the bus stop and my son takes the bus. I continue to follow that man and then I approach to see him more closely and I print his image into my brain.

I go back home, I ask my son what did he do all afternoon and he replies that this is just his business, I don’t know what to say, if I have tell him that I had followed him but in the end I don’t say anything. I try to change the subject and talk about school . My son has always been good at school, he tells me it’s all right and the speech ends there.

Then comes Christmas period and the time of talks between teachers and parents, I ask my son if he wants to come to the talks with me but he says no, and I go there alone. I know all the teachers, except for the math teacher who is new, I put myself in line, I go in, I look at him and I open my eyes in amazement: it’s him! He doesn’t wear wedding ring, it was the first thing I looked at. He speaks to me very well of Luca but in a clearly professional way. I don’t know if he remembers that for a moment we looked at each other the day I followed my son but he didn’t say anything, after five minutes he confirms that everything is fine and then the talk is over.

What was my son doing in the park with his math teacher? From there my paranoia began, I had to know it. I went to see my son’s cell phone but the memory card had been cleared, what, I think, was not at all random. Then I went to see into his PC, I know it is an unworthy thing to behave like me but I was and still am very agitated. I go to the “favorite sites” and find gay sites and here the world collapsed on me: my son plagiarized by his teacher!

I face him directly when he comes home , first I tell him about gay sites and there he already answers me in a violent way that I never expected, then when I tell him that I had seen him at the villa with his teacher he tells me that I’m crazy and I invent everything and in practice he denies everything but I had seen him very well.

I tell him that I would go to the headmaster to report everything, because people like that man shouldn’t be teaching in a school! He reacts like a viper and threatens me that if I had done such a thing I wouldn’t have seen him anymore. Practically since then I have not talked to my son anymore.

I went to the headmaster, certainly it wasn’t to accuse the teacher because in fact I had no proof but to request the transfer of my son to another Institute but the headmaster told me that since Luca was an adult the request had to come from him and hadn’t to be addressed to her but to the school where he wanted to go, I got angry and lost patience with headmaster and vented with her and told her the whole story but the answer left me stunned, she told me again that my son is an adult and that she had known the math teacher for years and he had never created problems of any kind. I raised my voice with the headmaster who didn’t even answer me, rang the bell and called the janitor to take me out. My son was in the corridor, saw the scene and understood what had happened. That day he didn’t come home and I got a terrible anguish, he didn’t even come back at night, he disconnected the phone and I was very uncomfortable, I think I have never been worse in my life.

The next day I went to school, my son was there and I calmed down a bit. I waited for the teacher instead but I didn’t see him, I thought the headmaster had called him and maybe he had taken a few days off. Then I see him coming up towards the gate, I stop him, he greets me warmly, gives me his hand and smiles at me. It was evident that he didn’t know anything about the whole scene with the headmaster, I don’t know what to do, I tell him that for some days I have problems with my son and that it is as if the dialogue between us was broken, he invites me to follow him inside, while we go up we meet the headmaster who behaves as if nothing had happened and greets us cordially.

The teacher had a free hour and we talk, slowly I begin to realize that the he esteems my son very much and that he talks with me so very direct, he worries about Luca’s future. I realize that I have only built a huge house of cards in which the only thing certain were my fears. I ask the teacher to help me to recover the relationship with my son, he assures me that he will, then he calls Luca to speak in three. Luca comes down with a face that would have bitten me if he could have to, then he realizes that with his teacher I have spoken only about school and he reassured.

The teacher tells my son that I asked him for help to recover the relationship with my son and Luca replies: “Teacher, I know you have a lot of good will, but these are matters that I have to regulate in private with my mother!” The teacher nods as if to say that Luca is right, sends Luca back to class and greets me. I come home calmly.

The school problem was over but the gay problem that kept me constantly agitated remained. Since then, 10 months have passed but nothing has been resolved. Luca is at home in the sense that he sleeps there and not always and sometimes he just eats there. With me he hardly ever speaks. What should I do, Project? I know that I did a lot of nonsense, but what can I do to recover a relationship with my son? Now I resigned myself to the idea that he’s gay, but at least I would like him not to consider me an enemy any more, even if I’m really afraid he can get into trouble.

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If you like, you can join the discussion on this post on Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-i-have-a-gay-son-who-does-not-event-talk-to-me