I am deeply grateful to the reader of Parma who wanted to transcribe for Gay Project, authorizing the publication, some letters found in an attic of a farm he owned in the province of Parma. It is a touching document, a homosexual love story at the time of the great war and the od Spanish flu of 1918-1919. Text notes, that I added in order to make reading immediately understandable, are in square brackets. Homosexuality comes out of these letters as a value. There is also an absolutely exceptional figure in the panorama of the era, a heterosexual lawyer of Brescia, former captain of the army at war, who regards homosexuality as an absolutely natural thing and helps two gay guys, one of whom had been at the front with him, to realize their dream.
To make the non-Italian reader able to understand the climate in which events took place, I remember that the Kingdom of Italy completed its territorial unification only in 1870, with the annexation of Rome. Before 1866 Venice belonged to the Austro-Hungarian Empire and in 1866 it was annexed to Italy, which since 1861 had organized into a Kingdom around the King of Sardinia Vittorio Emanuele II. The city of Trieste remained an Italian language enclave in the Habsburg Empire until 1918, when was annexed to Italy after the end of World War I.
In October 1917, the Kingdom of Italy suffered the heavy defeat at Caporetto by the Austro-Hungarian army. The Austrians invaded Veneto to the River Piave. The commander in chief of the army, General Luigi Cadorna, was replaced by General Armando Diaz, who managed to stop the Austrians on Piave.
Vittorio Veneto is a city which assumed the name of Vittorio in 1866 in honor of the first King of Italy Vittorio Emanuele II. From Vittorio Veneto started the great Italian counter-offensive that forced the Austro-Hungarian army to surrender.
Quinto is a village in the province of Treviso, not far from the Piave front.
I translated the letters of the protagonists into English. Letters were written in a rather correct Italian, a sign that the protagonists, while being peasants, had a minimum of instruction, which at that time was not common. Venetian dialect expressions are scattered here and there.
“Quinto, Sunday, May 25, 1919.
finally, thank goodness, I can write you something good. It seems that this curse is slowly going [This is the Spanish flu, the most terrible pandemic flu that history remembers. In the world about 20 million people died of “Spanish”, at least 375,000 died in Italy, but if the aggravating effects of Spanish flu on other pathologies are considered, the number rises to 650,000. In some countries, in that terrible 180 days between the end of 1918 and the early 1919, some 70% of the population disappeared], I lost all my family, my dad and my mom, my two brothers and my sister, Antony of Aunt Bepa, has rescued because he went to Valdobbiadene before the start of this plague and stayed there. But here in the plain they have buried so many dead that the graveyard was not enough. I was still in the army and when and I was dismissed, my dad just ordered me not to go back to Quinto, that there were fevers and many people died, and sent me to Aunt Bepa and I was there for four months, but there too the fear was great, we didn’t even go to mass on Sunday. Every family with the beasts in the middle of the countryside and to speak, in the voice, just from afar. What happened in Quinto we knew from the parish priest who buried them next to each other. Then, about month ago, no one died anymore and the doctors told us that we could come back. And then Antony remained with Aunt Bepa and I went down to Quinto, but there was no one, I was in the graveyard to see the crosses, crying desperately that there was no one of my relatives, and even the beasts, there was nothing. The parish priest gave me some money that my father and given him for me. Joseph, for us the war was not enough, we had even to face this other disaster; we, born in 95, we had to fight throughout the whole war and, thanks goodness, we pulled our feet out of this curse. But now we are still alive and we still have the strength to go on. Do you remember the 15 (year 1915) when hell this began? We hoped to go to war together, but what could we know about war? They had told us so many stupid things, but we believed in those things and then to the front we had to get out of the trench praying all saints because they fired at us with the machine guns, Joseph, we survived the hell of Isonzo and Caporetto and be blessed Diaz be blessed Diaz because he was the one who saved our homeland, because we were fighting just for despair because Veneto, our land, just that of our own house, we already saw it in the hands of the Austrians. But when Diaz arrived for us it was terrible, you were sent on one side and I on the other, but these assassins who hanged Battisti [Cesare Battisti, Italian irredentist patriot, hanged from the Austrians in Trento on July 12, 1916] we threw them out from our homeland. We were on the Isonzo at the end of the 16  and do you remember when we were told that Cecco Peppe had died? [Dialect name commonly used for Francesco Giuseppe, Austrian emperor, dead on November 18, 1916] we all lifted the flag and thought the war would be over soon but it was not over. How I thought of you in the trench and I could not even write because letters were just for family, and I prayed God from morning to night to save both of us and if one had to be taken it would have been better to take me, because without Joseph I could not live. They have been bad years, Joseph, without you, and then in the evening of November 4 of the past year, they made us all arrayed and the colonel read the victory telegram, I just burst crying like a little child but all were crying, the war was over and we were alive! I was just thinking about you, praying to God that I could see you again. I tried to give me courage and went to the telegraphist and asked him for news of the soldier Joseph B. but he told me that the confusion was such that no one could have heard of a single soldier. I thought that they would dismiss us and let us go immediately and I would come to look for you but I did not know where and then I wrote to the parish priest to know news about you and he told me that you had written to him after the armistice and that you were alive and were at Vittorio and we would be soon back at Quinto but dismissing was delayed week by week and in the whole disaster it was a good thing, just in those days mom died and dad wrote to me that I did not have to go back to Quinto if fevers did not pass, then in five days they all died. When I read the letter from the parish priest I was so desperately crying that the captain saw me and sat next to me and I made him read the letter and he hugged me. Now I have only you and I know from the parish priest that you are still in Vittorio, fortunately the Lord did not take your mother even if he took your dear father. The war took away poor Angiolino, I knew this months ago, and also for you still remains only mom. I cannot wait to hug you, but you will not even recognize me because the war has made me ugly, I was wounded on my left arm but I move it well, I still have a big scar of a splinter and it’s already a great thing that I survived, so the surgeon told me, because it was a bad wound. I cannot wait for the moment that I can re-hug you, if God has done this miracle that we are alive, he has done this as a sign that we must love each other well. I love you, Joseph, like a brother and more than a brother.
“Vittorio, Friday, June 6, 1919
My dear Antony,
I had your letter yesterday and it would come much earlier if you had brought it to me on foot. You know well the happiness I’ve experienced, now we are alive and of those who no longer exist even the count is lots. Antony, how much I want to hug you, but I have to be here with the regiment, they say that they are finally dismissing us. Put a flower on my father’s cross and give a prayer to Angiolino because he does not even have a cross and who knows where he is, my poor brother, he died at 21 years, certainly he can look at us from paradise. What I passed was ugly but it was not really terrible, but what I saw was really terrible. I served a much earlier much earlier s a nurse and saw guys dying, they came with a wound that seemed a little thing, we did as much as possible but you can imagine the conditions, the wound was infected and the guy died, almost half of the wounded soldiers died in a couple of days. If I remember those things I lose the desire to live, I cannot forget such things. We went to war without understanding anything and we saw hell, the real hell. Antony, now I would cheer you up and kiss you because I do not want to think about the dead that I will not forget forever but I want to think of my Antony. The medical captain told me that as a civilian I could work in a hospital in Treviso because if you has been in the army in health services the place is up to you, but I want to go back to Quinto and I want to be embraced with you the rest of life, you have a beautiful big farm, mine is just nearby and this is the sign that we too must be one. What will people say we do not know, but we should not be afraid of anyone and then to you only Aunt Bepa has remained in Voldobbiadene and to me it was only my mother who is almost sixty years old. My mom can stay with us, the other relatives are far away and they are all old, or we can sell everything away, yours and mine, and go to another place even though my mom always says she wants to die here. We are only two and in addition we have my mother but we are young and we like to work, and then you at your home and I at mine with my mom but all day we’ll work together, there is a little money for a few beasts and I think that we could live well. But there is one thing that makes me feel bad, the parish priest has written to me that there is Gina’s daughter, who is twenty years old and who would like so much to know me, and wrote me just so “if it is not she will be another, but be sure we’ll find you a wife.” And this thing worries me, it is something that should not happen, and here in the country there are few men, and in particular few young men, or there aren’t at all, and there are a lot of women. I do not like this story, if I want a woman, I choose her and if I don’t I’ll remain single without marrying, it is not a duty to have a wife and I’m not going to get married.
If I sell everything away and go far away from Quinto, what will you do? I thought about going near Parma and buy some land there, then we could work hard with beasts and we know how to do it. Please answer me as soon as you receive this teller because I’m too eager to wait. I love you as a brother and more than a brother. I give you my wishes for your name-day that is in eight days! I think I can be at Quinto at the end of June, now it seems certain.
“Fifth, Friday, June 13, 1919.
Thanks for the wishes I can only receive from you because now you are my whole family. I thought about the things you wrote and, from some things that he says and that make me understand his thoughts, it seems to me that the parish priest aims to find a wife for me too, so we really have to go because we would not be able to live here. I cannot wait for the time and the moment I can re-hug you. As soon as you come here we have to get advise by a captain I met at the front, who is lawyer in Brescia, I wrote to him and he told me he will help us for all the legal problems of the contract, he is a good person and I trust him, he said he does not want to be paid because when you saw war and death close, when you are dismissed, things are no longer as before. We will not say anything to the parish priest as you come to Quinto, first of all we have to write to the captain, we go to Brescia and give him all the documents and he will care about, and then I think there is already a wealthy man who wants to buy the land, because he already has a great piece of land on your border and mine, he is a rich man and we cannot deal directly with him, he has already made me hear the voice from the parish priest. However, we have to sell the land, we do not have to throw it away. Joseph, then, God be blessed, we’ll meet in to two weeks at most, what a beautiful thing, I can hug you, I want to keep you close to me! Blessed God we are still alive!
“Brescia, Tuesday 4 November 1919.
today is a great day for us. And do you know what price we sell? We had said no less than 30 thousand lire mine and no less than 20 thousand yours, but the captain did everything very well and we got exactly one and a half, 45 thousand lire mine and 30 thousand yours. But now I tell you all about it. The captain wrote to Mr. F. telling him that he was aware of his intention to buy our land, but with a paper printed as a lawyer, and told him that had been commissioned by us to handle the sale. Mr. F. answered him asking him for the price but he did not tell him and invited him to Brescia at his studio to meet me too. That’s why he got me telegraphed to go running. Then he explained to me all I had to say, gave me a beautiful dress and the most beautiful shoes I have ever seen, sent me to the barber, and they also cared for my hands and nails, I looked like a great lord. Then we went into the living room with carpets on the ground and paintings on the walls and the waitress brought us the coffee when Mr. F. arrived. We presented ourselves, the captain said that we were friends even before the war and that our families had been attending each other for generations, in practice he did everything himself, then after a while we got to the point, we sat at the table and the captain said that our proposal was a hundred thousand lire for both lands together, they had to be sold together because I would go with my partner to open a farm in Parma. Mr. F. widened his arms and said that at that price he just did not feel like buying it, and here came the master shot of the captain, the maid came and told him that lawyer T. was on the phone for the sale of land of Quinto and he raised the phone and replied that as the other possible buyer would not buy the deal could have been concluded in a couple of days. When he put down the phone, Mr. F. felt caught in a counterattack and demanded what price lawyer T. was willing to pay but the captain replied that negotiating with lawyer T. was something between us and lawyer T., it was up to Mr. F. make his proposal and the vendor would evaluate the best conditions. Then Mr. F. said 70 thousand in all. I would have told him ok right away but the captain took time and told him he would let him know. Mr. F. would stay in Brescia one more day to get the answer. Then Mr. F. left, and the captain explained to me that lawyer T. was a friend of his and they agreed that he would call him at that time, but lawyer T. had nothing to do with the land, in short, was a combined thing. In the afternoon the captain called Mr. F. at the hotel and told him that he might agree for 75 thousand and Mr. F. eventually accepted and we met again in the evening and the lawyer made him sign a card, not the contract itself, but a commitment to buy, and there was also a deposit of 15 thousand lire and Mr. F. made a check to the captain of 15 thousand lire. The final act will be signed in November, meanwhile the captain has tried to see for a great piece of land in Parma, a bit on the hillside and it seems we have found it and that it’s a very good pasture. We have to go see it in two days. Then you have to know that another thing happened, I told the captain about the two of us, you have understood me well, and he told me we’re proper people, and if he can do something for us, he’ll certainly do it. I asked him how we could repay but he said that what he did, did as a friend, otherwise he would not have been a friend. He is married and has two girls about ten-eleven years old and said that the fact that the Spanish flu did not take away any of his family makes him feel in debt to those who were less fortunate. Joseph, good Lord willing, at the end of November or at most at the beginning of the year, we will really be together. And with 75 thousand lire we can set up a beautiful farm and we can start a new life that belongs only to us. I think of you every moment! Joseph I think no one feels better than I feel at this time. I love you so much.
Today is exactly one year since the day of the victory, Live Italy!
(1) Quinto, Domenica 25 di Maggio 1919.
finalmente, ringraziando il Signore, ti posso scrivere qualche cosa buona. Pare che piano piano questa maledizione se ne sta andando [Si tratta della febbre influenzale spagnola, la più terribile pandemia influenzale che la storia ricordi. Nel mondo morirono di spagnola circa 20 milioni di persone, in Italia ne morirono almeno 375.000, ma se si conteggiano anche gli effetti aggravanti della influenza spagnola su altre patologie, il numero sale fino a 650.000. In alcuni paesi sparì, in quei terribili 180 giorni, tra la fine del 1918 e i primi mesi del 1919, circa il 70% della popolazione], ho perso in pratica tutta la mia famiglia, mio babbo e mia mamma, i miei due fratelli e mia sorella, Antonio di zia Bepa s’è salvato perché era andato a Valdobbiadene prima dell’inizio di questa piaga ed è rimasto lì. Ma qua in pianura han portato via tanti morti che non bastava il camposanto. Io ero ancora alle armi e quando m’han congedato babbo mi ha proprio ordinato di non tornare a Quinto, che c’eran le febbri e moriva tanta gente a mi han mandato anche me dalla Bepa e son stato là quattro mesi, ma anche là la paura era grande, non s’andava neanche alla messa la domenica. Ogni famiglia colle bestie in mezzo alla campagna e per parlare, alla voce, da lontano. Quello che è successo a Quinto lo sapevamo dal parroco che li sotterrava uno appresso che l’altro. Poi un mesetto fa ha cominciato a non morire più nessuno e i dottori ci han detto che si poteva tornare. E allora Antonio è rimasto con la zia Bepa e io sono sceso a Quinto, ma non c’era più nessuno, son stato al camposanto a vedere le croci e mi sono messo a pianger disperato che non c’era più nessuno, e anche le bestie, non c’era più nulla. Il parroco m’ha dato un po’ di soldi che eran di mio babbo e lui glieli aveva dati per me. Giuseppe, a noi non ci bastava la guerra, anche quest’altra sciagura ci voleva, noi del 95 la guerra ce la siam fatta tutta e grazie di Dio che ne avemo tirato fora i piedi e poi quest’altra maledizione. Ma adesso siamo ancora vivi e la forza ce l’abbiamo ancora. Ti ricordi il 15 quando è cominciato l’inferno, che speravamo di andare alla guerra insieme, ma che si sapeva noi della guerra, c’avevan contato tante balle, ma noi ci credevamo e poi al fronte a uscire dalla trincea a pregare tutti i santi che ci sparavano a mitraglia, Giuseppe noi siamo sopravvissuti all’inferno dell’Isonzo e a Caporetto e benedetto sia Diaz che la Patria l’ha salvata lui, che noi ormai combattevamo proprio per la disperazione perché ormai in Veneto, la terra nostra, proprio quella di casa nostra, la vedevamo già in mano agli Austriaci. Però quando è arrivato Diaz per noi è stata tremenda, tu da una parte e io dall’altra ma a questi assassini che hanno impiccato Battisti [Cesare Battisti, patriota irredentista italiano, impiccato degli Austriaci a Trento il 12 luglio 1916] li abbiamo cacciati fuori dalla nostra Patria. Noi stavamo sull’Isonzo alla fine del 16 e te lo ricordi quando ci dissero che era morto Cecco Peppe [Francesco Giuseppe, imperatore d’Austria, morto il 18 novembre 1916 ] abbiamo tutti alzato la bandiera e pensavano che la guerra sarebbe finita ma non è mica finita. Quanto ho pensato a te nella trincea e non ti potevo neanche scrivere che le lettere erano solo per la famiglia, e pregavo Dio dalla mattina alla sera di farci salvi tutti e due e se uno se ne doveva prendere che si prendesse me, che io senza Giuseppe non ci potevo vivere. Sono stati anni brutti, Giuseppe, senza di te, e poi alla sera del 4 Novembre dell’anno passato, che ci hanno fatti mettere tutti schierati e il colonnello ha letto il telegramma della vittoria, son proprio scoppiato a piangere come una creatura ma piangevano proprio tutti, era finita la guerra e eravamo vivi! Io pensavo solo a te, pregavo Dio che ti potevo rivedere. Mi son fatto coraggio e sono andato al telegrafista e l’ho pregato di chiedere del soldato Giuseppe B. ma mi ha detto che la confusione era tale che nessuno avrebbe potuto avere notizie di un singolo soldato. Pensavo che ci congedassero subito e ti sarei venuto a cercare ma non sapevo dove e allora ho scritto al parroco per sapere tue notizie e mi ha detto che tu gli avevi scritto dopo l’armistizio e che eri vivo e stavi a Vittorio e ci saremmo rivisti a Quinto tra poco ma il congedo ritardava di settimana in settimana e nel disastro è stata una cosa buona, proprio in quei giorni è morta mamma e papà mi ha scritto che non dovevo tornare a Quinto se non fossero passate le febbri, poi in cinque giorni sono morti tutti. Quando ho letto la lettera del parroco mi son messo a piangere disperato che m’ha visto il capitano e s’è seduto vicino a me e gli ho fatto leggere la lettera e m’ha abbracciato forte. Adesso ho solo te e so dal parroco che sei ancora a Vittorio, per fortuna la tua mamma non se l’è presa il Signore come il tuo caro babbo. Angiolino poveretto se l’è preso la guerra, ho saputo anche questo, e pure a te ti resta solo la mamma. Non vedo l’ora di riabbracciarti ma non mi riconosci che la guerra m’ha fatto brutto, sono stato ferito al braccio sinistro ma lo muovo bene però m’è rimasta un grossa cicatrice di una scheggia e già è molto che sono sopravvissuto, così m’ha detto il chirurgo, che era una ferita brutta. Non vedo l’ora e il momento che ti posso riabbracciare che se Dio c’ha fatto questo miracolo che c’ha fatto campare questo è segno che noi ci dobbiamo volere bene. Ti voglio bene, Giuseppe, come un fratello e più che un fratello.
(2) Vittorio, Venerdì 6 di Giugno 1919
Carissimo Antonio mio,
la lettera tua l’ho avuta ieri che facevi prima a venire tu a piedi a portarmela. La felicità che ho provato la sai bene, adesso noi siamo vivi e di quelli che non ci stanno più se n’è perso il conto. Antonio, quanto ti vorrei abbracciare ma io devo stare qua col reggimento ma dicono che tra poco ci congedano definitivamente. Metticelo tu un fiore sulla croce di mio babbo e dilla una preghiera per Angiolino che lui non c’ha manco la croce e chissà dove sta, povero fratello mio, lui è morto a 21 anno, possa guardarci dal paradiso. Quello che ho passato io è stato brutto ma non è stato proprio terribile, quello che ho visto invece è stato proprio terribile. Io facevo l’infermiere e ne ho visto di ragazzi morire, arrivavano con una ferita che sembrava poca cosa, noi facevamo il possibile ma puoi immaginare le condizioni igieniche, la ferita si infettava e i ragazzi morivano, quasi le metà dei feriti moriva in un paio di giorni. Se mi ricordo di quelle cose mi passa pure la voglia di vivere, non me le potrò più scordare. Noi siamo andati alla guerra senza capire niente e abbiamo visto l’inferno, proprio l’inferno. Antonio adesso t’abbraccerei e ti bacerei perché non voglio pensare ai morti che non me li scorderò più ma voglio pensare a Antonio mio. Il capitano medico mi ha detto che da civile potrei lavorare in ospedale a Treviso perché se hai fatto la guerra in sanità il posto ti spetta, ma io voglio tornare a Quinto e voglio stare abbracciato con te il resto della vita, tu hai un podere bello grosso, quello mio sta attaccato e quello è il segno che pure noi dobbiamo essere una cosa sola. Che dirà la gente noi non lo sappiamo, ma noi non dobbiamo avere paura di nessuno e poi a te è rimasta solo la zia Bepa a Voldobbiadene e a me è rimasta solo mia mamma che è vecchia e ha quasi sessant’anni. Mia mamma può stare con noi, poi gli altri parenti sono lontani e sono tutti vecchi, oppure si può vender via tutto, il tuo e il mio, e andare in un altro posto anche se mia mamma dice sempre che lei vuol morire qui. Noi siamo solo due e in più dobbiamo pensare a mia mamma ma siamo giovani e la voglia di lavorare non ci manca e poi tu a casa tua e io a casa mia con mia mamma ma tutta la giornata si lavora insieme, un po’di soldi per compare un po’ di bestie ci sono e io penso che si potrebbe vivere bene. Ma c’è una cosa che mi fa stare male, il parroco m’ha scritto che c’è la figlia della Gina, che ha vent’anni e che ci terrebbe tanto a conoscermi, e m’ha scritto proprio così “che se non è lei è un’altra, stai sereno che ti accasiamo.” E questa cosa mi fa stare male, non ci voleva proprio e qui in paese di uomini specie giovani ce n’è rimasti poco e niente e di donne ce n’è tante. Non mi piace mica questa storia, se la voglio io una donna, me la scelgo io e se non la voglio sto senza, non è mica un dovere e io non ne ho nessuna intenzione. Se io vendo via tutto e me ne vado da Quinto tu che fai? Avevo pensato di andare dalle parti di Parma e comprare un po’ di terra lì, poi ci si potrebbe dare da fare che noi con gli animali ci sappiamo fare. Ti prego di rispondermi appena ricevi questa mia perché sto troppo in ansia ad aspettare. Ti voglio bene pure io come un fratello e più di un fratello. Ti faccio tanti tanti auguri per il santo tuo che è oggi a otto! Penso di poter stare a Quinto alla fine di Giugno, ormai sembra una cosa certa.
(3) Quinto, Venerdì 13 di Giugno 1919.
grazie degli auguri che ormai posso ricevere solo da te che sei la mia famiglia. Ho pensato alle cose che hai scritto e, da certe cose che dice e che lascia intendere, mi pare che il parroco abbia pensato ad ammogliare anche me, quindi ce ne dobbiamo proprio andare perché qua non riusciremmo a vivere. Non vedo l’ora e il momento che ti posso riabbracciare. Appena tu vieni qua ci facciamo consigliare da un capitano che ho conosciuto al fronte e che fa l’avvocato a Brescia, gli ho scritto e mi ha detto che ci aiuta lui per tutte le cose degli atti, è una brava persona e me ne fido, ha detto che non vuole essere pagato perché quando hai visto la guerre a la morte da vicino quando torni civile non è più come prima. Noi al parroco non diciamo niente, quanto tu vieni a Quinto, la prima cosa scriviamo al capitano, andiamo a Brescia e gli portiamo tutte le carte e ha detto che ci pensa lui e poi io penso che ci sia già uno che la terra se la vuole comprare, perché ce ne ha già un pezzo grande al confine tuo e mio, è uno ricco che non ci possiamo trattare noi, lui già m’ha fatto arrivare la voce dal parroco. Comunque la terra la dobbiamo vendere, non la dobbiamo buttare via. Giuseppe, allora, benedetto Iddio, ci vediamo da qui a due settimane al massimo, che cosa bella che ti posso abbracciare, ti voglio tenere stretto a me! Benedetto Iddio che siamo ancora vivi!
(4) Brescia, Martedì 4 Novembre 1919.
oggi è una giornata grande per noi. E sai a quanto la vendiamo? Noi avevamo detto non meno di 30 mila lire la mia e non meno di 20 mila lire la tua, ma il capitano ha fatto tutto lui e ci facciamo esattamente una volta e mezzo, 45 mila lire la mia e 30 mila lire la tua. Ma adesso ti racconto tutto quanto. Il capitano ha scritto al sig. F. dicendogli che era sto informato della sua intenzione di comprare i nostri terreni, ma colla carta stampata da avvocato, e gli diceva che aveva avuto mandato a trattare per nostro conto. Il sig. F. gli ha risposto chiedendogli il prezzo ma lui non glielo ha detto e lo ha invitato a Brescia al suo studio per incontrare anche me. Ecco perché m’ha telegrafato di andare di corsa. Poi mi ha spiegato tutto quello che dovevo dire, m’ha dato da mettere un vestito suo bellissimo e delle scarpe che non ne ho mai viste così, m’ha mandato dal barbiere, e mi hanno sistemato pure le mani, sembravo un figurino. Poi ci siamo messi nel salotto, coi tappeti per terra e i quadri e la cameriera ci ha portato il caffè, quando è arrivato il signor F. ci siamo presentati, il capitano ha detto che eravamo amici anche prima della guerra e che le nostre famiglie si conoscono da generazioni, ha fatto proprio tutto lui, poi dopo un po’ di convenevoli siamo arrivati al punto, ci siamo seduti al tavolo e il capitano ha detto che la nostra proposta era di cento mila lire per tutti e due i terreni insieme, che dovevano essere venduti per forza insieme perché io sarei andato con il mio socio ad aprire un’azienda agricola a Parma. Il sig. F. ha allargato le braccia e ha detto che a quel prezzo non se la sentiva proprio, e qua è venuto il colpo da maestro del capitano è entrata la domestica e gli ha detto che c’era al telefono l’avvocato T. per la vendita dei terreni di Quinto e lui ha alzato il telefono e ha risposto che siccome l’altro possibile acquirente non se la sentiva di procedere all’acquisto la cosa si sarebbe potuta concludere. Quando ha messo giù il telefono, il sig. F. si è sentito preso in contropiede e ha chiesto che prezzo era disposto a pagare l’avvocato T. ma il capitano ha risposto che la trattativa con l’avvocato T. è cosa tra noi e l’avvocato T, che lui facesse invece la sua proposta e poi si sarebbero valutate le condizioni migliori. Allora F. ha detto 70 in tutto. Io gli avrei detto subito sì ma il capitano ha preso tempo e gli ha detto che gli avrebbe fatto sapere. F. sarebbe rimasto a Brescia un giorno in più per avere la risposta. Poi F. è andato via e il capitano mi ha spiegato che l’avvocato T. è un suo amico e che erano d’accordo che lo avrebbe chiamato a quell’ora, ma l’avvocato T. con i terreni non ‘entrava per niente, insomma era una cosa combinata. Nel pomeriggio il capitano ha chiamato F. in albergo e gli ha detto che si sarebbe potuto concludere per 75 e F. alla fine ha accettato e ci siamo rivisti tutti e tre in serata e l’avvocato gli ha fatto firmare una carta che però non era il contratto, ma un impegno ad acquistare, e c’era anche una caparra di 15 mila lire e F. ha fatto un assegno all’avvocato di 15 mila lire. L’atto definitivo si farà entro Novembre, intanto il capitano ha cercato di vedere per un pezzo di terra grande a Parma, un po’ in collina e pare che lo abbiamo trovato e che deve essere pascolo ottimo. Dobbiamo andare a vederlo tra due giorni. Poi lo sai che è successa pure un’altra cosa, ho detto di noi due al capitano, hai capito bene, e m’ha detto che siamo persone come si deve e che se può fare qualcosa per noi lo farà certamente. Gli ho chiesto come potevamo sdebitarci ma ha detto che quello che aveva fatto lui un amico lo deve fare se no non è un amico. Lui è sposato e ha due bambine grandine e ha detto che il fatto che la Spagnola non si sia portata via nessuno della sua famiglia lo fa sentire in debito verso chi è stato meno fortunato. Giuseppe, se Dio vuole, alla fine di Novembre o al massimo all’inizio dell’anno venturo noi possiamo stare veramente insieme. E con 75 mila lire possiamo mettere in piedi una bella fattoria e possiamo cominciare una vita veramente nostra. Ti penso ogni momento! Giuseppe io penso che nessuno si senta meglio di come mi sento io in questo momento. Ti voglio un bene immenso.
Oggi è un anno dalla vittoria, Viva l’Italia!
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I’m a student of engineering at the Michigan University and I’m proud of this. My parents, grandparents and brothers, did work hart to let me go to this engineering college. Now I’m here and have to show them that I will be able to come back home graduated. Here everything seems perfect, our tradition has to be honored and for a student who is less more than a stranger here, life is very hard, I have to deal with teachers who are scientist and with students who come from the best schools of the country, some of them are geniuses and I’m afraid I could not be at their level. When I arrived here everything was new for me: buildings, teaching organization, laboratories, but also how to deal with other students. I was on the verge of coming back home because everything was difficult for me, also writing in a correct English , or speaking English fluently like other guys. But the real treasure of this college are the students and living together with such guys is really fantastic, they will became engineers and well refined engineers but they hare clever guys also in many other things. I’m gay, ok, nothing special, but till now I have experienced a lot of disgusting situations because of this. Here, in college, my roommate knows but for him there is no problem. I have to underline that a lot of guys seem indifferent to the homosexuality of a friend of theirs but when they are in private with just other hetero guys, they let out a lot of criticism about their gay mate, they are somehow double faced: the politically correct face in public and that one really spontaneous in private with other hetero guys. My roommate Andrew is not this way, we chat a lot, also about sex. His thoughts on this subject are very similar to mine, clearly he speaks about hetero love and I about gay love. But the two of us talk about love, not just about sex. Andrew is not only a clever guy but also a very handsome one and perhaps he doesn’t understand exactly how I can react in some situations that are for him absolutely neutral. Is he so open minded exactly because he is not able to understand what being gay exactly means? It’s a question to keep always in mind! But yes, Andrew is handsome and his behavior with me is the same that he holds with hetero guys. For example he gets out of the shower completely naked and I have to turn my eyes elsewhere. I’d like him get out completely dressed but obviously I cannot tell him such a thing because for him nakedness is quite natural. Nevertheless I like Andrew, we use talking a lot at night about science big problems like the second principle of thermodynamics or the strange laws of quantum mechanics. We talk also about religion, the big questions about God. I’m fascinated by the brain of Andrew, he doesn’t repeat what he has read or learned somewhere, on the contrary tries to get reed of too much complicated calculations, he has to see in his mind, to imagine how things have to be, to change and to find their own settings. That’s why he’s an engineer, something more directly related to material things. Well, Andrew has a girlfriend, another student of the same engineering college but in different sectors of engineering. Sometimes, on the weekends, they go out of campus , I think they have their sexual life and I’m happy for them, But I’m gay and I have to stay alone in the weekends, to study and to get acquainted with a lot of things. There are also a lot of gay guys here, but they, so to speak, are completely out and I don’t like to be considered gay. In my old country I had to keep calm in the closet, now I could feel free but for me it’s too much difficult. My friends in the university are also my principal sexual interest, but they are completely unaware of all this, and I prefer so. Only Andrew knows about me, but I trust him completely and got a lot of proofs that he holds this secret for himself. The life of a gay student is very complicated here. Many many guys and a lot of handsome guys and also of gay guys but I’m here to study and I don’t want to deceive my family.
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I have to try to understand what to do because if I don’t I go crazy, my name is Marco, a simple but true name and I’m not ashamed to use it here because it is very common, so at zero risk. I’m twenty, almost 21, I live in a city in central Italy. I have always had two strong passions, since I was a little boy, one are guys and the other is the sea.
Nobody knows about me, no one at home, no friends, no one at all. I do not pretend to be straight and my friends, who have all a girlfriend, never made themselves into my own facts. Since the high school till now at university I have three friends, let’s call them Luca, Carlo and Enzo, we all study at the same faculty and we study together, there are no stupid jealousies for questions of school grades or things of this sort even if we have to pass the same examinations. They are good guys and I trust them except on a single point that I do not even want to consider with them. We spend a lot of time together both in the morning and in the afternoon to study, for the rest each one has his own life and practically we never talk about it. This year, for the first time, my parents allowed me to leave on holiday for my own and I agreed with my three friends and rented a little apartment, just a single room and kitchen in front of the see, near [omissis]. The place is gorgeous, for a sea lover like me it’s the best. The house was cheap, indeed I would say very cheap, and that’s why we got it immediately, it had some problems, but at the end we had to stay there for only 5 days and so it did not even make sense to look for another. It had only one room and we were four, then it was exposed to the south, the sun warmed it in full from dawn to sunset, in the evening, the temperature reached 33°C and there was only a single window that by the way had a dense mosquito net, so it could be opened only in a very relative way. All this should give the impression of an unbearable torture but for me it was not like that at all. In the center of the room, there was a table, because the kitchen was so little that two persons standing couldn’t even get into. In the evening we moved the table in one corner and added two camp beds because there were just two single sofa beds on both sides of the room. There was not even a fan, just nothing! The heat was such strong that the sweat poured on drops on our face. The first day we arrived at eleven o’clock in the morning, we only thought about getting ready to go to the sea, we did not even have the problem of cooking because we had brought lunch from home. We have spent our time in the water, between low water and swimming, practically until eight and a half in the evening and we were fine there, or better divinely, there were very few people although it was the week before August 15th, we were sitting in the low water to talk, then we were engaged in swimming race, then in a little race between us, in short, it was fine and the time was flying, then sunset came and with it clouds of mosquito (there was a cane thicket nearby) and we had to run into the house, we told each-other that fortunately there was the mosquito net. When we entered, we had the impression of getting into a furnace, a disagreeable feeling, we opened the single real window and the two half windows in the bath and in the kitchen, but the three windows were all on the same wall and had dense mosquito nets, and no air stream was moving. First instinctive solution: the cold shower, 5 minutes each one. The bathroom was small, no key to the door, shower in a corner without box and no curtain, but it did not create the least problem. One went in the shower, it was just for 5 minutes, then the others knocked on the door because they could not wait to cool them as well. We were all shirtless after the shower, but after ten minutes, the heat again became unbearable and then another shower was needed. We ate that little bit of dinner we had brought from home that had been baking on the table, because there was not even a fridge! Then Luca tried to turn on his PC but there was no internet connection, so no PC was available. There was no TV, just a half-broken radio, we heard it for a while but it was an old archaeological device that warmed up like a stove and that could not stay switched on for more than a minute because it croaked a lot. Luca and Carlo at one point said that they could no longer resist within their shorts, they pulled them off and remained in their underwear, or rather in their briefs, those classic white ones. Enzo has resisted for a while, then he too followed them. I did not know what to do, I kept my bermuda shorts on that were a real torture because they were all wet and glued to the skin. I had in front of me in a few square feet my friends in briefs who were still sweating like fountains. We opened the camp beds. From left to right we were: Enzo, I, Luca and Carlo. I had a good time because Carlo is a bit overweight and frankly does not attract me. Enzo is not bad, a handsome guy, but he is not exactly my type, but Luca has always been my secret dream. Project, I’m still one of those gays, so to say, stupid, who fall in love with their straight friend even though they know very well that he is straight. In short, we went to bed and turned off the light. Near the window there was a street lamp and the light filtered the same and once you were used to seeing in that weak light, you could see everything quite distinctly. Carlo noticed the rather strong light of the street lamp and said, “Guys, I close the window because there is too much light”, but I stopped him right away and said, “No! Come on! There is already an unbearable heat here!” And Carlo left the window wide open. After about ten minutes he collapsed like a chunk, Enzo turned and turned on the bed, but then began to collapse. Luca went to pee, then threw himself on the camp bed, he seemed very agitated, pulled his briefs down without saying anything, put himself belly down om the vamp bed and slowly fell asleep. I frankly did not really sleep at all. I had Luke sleeping completely naked at 30 cm from me. In practice, I did not take my eyes off him the whole night long. Of course he did not sleep all night belly down and for me it has been a show absolutely unique and amazing, he had also the morning erection, but in practice I was in constant erection from the evening before. At about seven o’clock in the morning, when Carlo rolled over a little, before getting up, Luca put on back his briefs in front of me, but with the utmost naturalness, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world, then he took the phone and went out to call the girl because there was no signal inside the house. Sometimes I think that his girl is really lucky! Wow, let’s go on! I was shocked by the fact that for Luca to sleep naked in the room with his friends was a very normal thing. That’s why for a straight guy the locker room is neutral and does not produce any effect. In practice for a straight guy being naked with friends is not something that has to do with sex neither has something to do with the idea of being naked with a girl. In the following days, he came out naked twice from the shower and wiped out in front of us and no one did a wrinkle, of course neither did I! Eh eh! He is a sportsman and you see that he does not have any conditioning in these things. In fact we stayed in that house for only four nights and for four nights Luca slept close to me completely naked without any embarrassment. You can’t even imagine what a shocking effect this thing did to me, or perhaps you can, rather… certainly you can. But how can a straight guy be so uninhibited? It’s just something I can’t understand. But why all the straight guys take it for granted that all their friends are straight? In the days we’ve been there I did not hear a gay joke, not even minimal. We were friends, we were fine with us, we did not even talk about girls. Who knows what the value it could have for them that holiday all for men! Maybe every five minutes they thought of their girls, but to me it seemed they were fine without having to think about their girls. I was fine, certainly, because I was with Luca and “that way”, but they also, in my opinion, were all fine. I think, although without sexual intercourse, because such things were absolutely impossible there, even straight guys like a short “only male” vacation. Every day we stayed there I pretended to be totally disinterested in these things, by day, “but not by night!” To use Arbore’s [an Italian showman] words. Since I did not sleep in the night; in the morning I was completely upset and my friends told me I seemed really upset, but I said I had not slept because of the heat, although the reason was Luke. Now the white-nights period is over, we’re back in town, for them nothing happened, did you understand, Project? Nothing happened! But for me it happened in a shocking way! Project! I’m really upset! Perhaps I do not get it from my head anymore! Even though I found him sleeping naked near me for four nights one behind the other, I know very well that he is straight, and now I know it much better than before! What a desperation! What happened to me has really upset me! Before this vacation, I fantasized about Luca, you understand when, but now it has become my total obsession! Project, what should I do? I cannot avoid thinking about Luca! I have him in my blood! If you want, you can post this mail on your forum, because my friends will never open a gay site!
I have been your fan for years and in practice I look at your forum every day searching for something new, for a while it seemed that there were few people and the news were rare but I saw that the activity is now resuming and it really makes me happy, so I think I can make my contribution telling my story. I say that it is not a story related to forms of discomfort or serious problems, I would say that my contribution is light, but I think it might be interesting.
I am a physiotherapist, a true physiotherapist, graduated with a five year degree and I have done several professional rehabilitation and physical therapy courses, I am 28 years old. After the early days, when no one knew me, I began working with elderly people and traumatized patients or with disabling illnesses, I had my satisfaction, but I must say, I also feel melancholy when I see very poor people, and since all of them are badly old, it happens that sometimes someone is missing and it makes me a terrible effect because they are persons I’ve known very closely. Let’s say that this kind of activity is not exactly what I wanted to do. I recently did a qualification course for the use of DAE (semi-automatic defibrillator) and another course on first cardiac rescue and I sent my curriculum to some sports companies. I thought no one would answer me, but something happened. A semiprofessional company in my area contacted me for an interview, I went there and brought my titles. There was a doctor, the president of the company and two other people. They did not have anything to say about the titles, and they immediately told me they could have hired me, but with very limited remuneration because their budget is just down “to the bone”. I asked what the conditions and times would be and they told me I would almost always work two mornings a week, Thursday and Sunday for 4 hours each time, so about 30 hours a month for 9 mornings. I asked what would be my net remuneration and they answered me little more than 600 euros, but with the obligation to follow the team for away games one Sunday yes and one no, but in this case the expenses of moving, eating and housing would be the responsibility of the company. I did not think twice about and accepted it. I signed a contract after giving it a quick read, but it was a standard AIC (Italian Football Association) model so I could trust it. It took me a week to rearrange appointments with my patients then finally on the following Thursday I made my first entry into society. The appointment was for 8.00, I arrived at 7.30 and there was no one yet. I went to the bar to have a cappuccino and there were several guys with the football handbag, I braved and asked if they were there for the workout and then I said I was the new masseur. They replied that they had never had one, however they were nice and offered me the cappuccino. Shortly before 8 am we entered, but the coach had not arrived yet, at 8.05 the guys of the team were all at the gym, the coach arrived at 8.30 with a super car, practically he was perpetually on the phone, in one of the few moments of pause I introduced myself but he just said “Well” and went back to his phone calls; he sent the guys to change and then in the field to do “a bit of heating”, practically the guys did it all by themselves and the coach kept thinking about just his business. I stayed on the field board and did not know what to say, then the coach, hardly at 9.00, told me: “Let them make something, I have to run away, when you’re done, pull the door.” And went away. When the guys saw that the coach had gone, they would go as well, but by contract I had to stay there for another three hours and I did not know how to stop them; and there I had an idea: I called all the guys in the gym and said they had to learn to use the defibrillator, which was one thing that could save their life. I asked where the defibrillator was, they knew there was somewhere, but they did not know where, then we found it in a closet, totally unloaded, we found the place where it was supposed to be and put it there and it started loading, but it took time. It was a defibrillator I had used in the course and I knew how to make it work. I told the guys to seat down on the floor and talked to them about the defibrillator, what it is, how it works and how to use it, heart massage, first cardiology, and so many other very concrete and very useful things. They were listening to me, I said we did not have to waste time and we could do simulations. To break the ice, I assumed the role of one who needs cardiological rescue and I asked them how they would behave. They came close to me, did some maneuvers but were not the right ones and then I explained what they should do, how to arrange the patient, how to take pulses, how to facilitate breathing, and I explained all with the help of one of them who played the role of the unfortunate, then we heard the defibrillator beep, a sign that it was loaded, I showed them the spies, the button and the signals, and said that the defibrillator verifies if you really need defibrillation and step-by-step gives directives to the operator. I asked one of the guys to take off his shirt because I wanted to show them where exactly the electrodes should be placed, the one lying down, I applied the electrodes and the guy got scared and got them away, he thought I could make a dangerous shock, then I lay down, put the electrodes on me and told the guy to start the defibrillator, he was afraid to do so, then I did it in his place and the defibrillator replied that no defibrillation was needed. I explained that the device makes a quick diagnosis and decides if it is the case to give the shock and gives it only if it is the case, and then gives instructions for reviving and heart massage maneuvers. The guys were very impressed, and they told me it was like in American first aid movies. I asked if there was a medical room and one for the massages, they took me to a small room, with a table and two chairs and they said it was all there, I asked for the massage table and they laughed as to say that I had not realized where I was. I asked the guys why they did not shower after training, they made me sign to follow them, opened a door, there was the showers room with eight boxes but it was evident that they had not worked for years, beyond a second door there was also four toilets but only one working. They told me that society has no money, and then I launched the proposal: “We can ask for permission and put everything in place, we will have some work to do, but we are so many.” They were puzzled, they said that we had to ask the coach for permission, I replied that it was not a matter of coach but of the president and I said I would try to talk to him, they looked at me as if I were a rare animal fallen in there by mistake. It was past 11.00 and I let the guys go, but not without taking all their cell phone numbers and giving them my. After they left I made a quick tour of the building, which if put back in place, would not have been bad, I took the measurements of the medical room and other rooms and I drew a map with all the data. Then I called the president’s secretary and told her I wanted to talk to the president. She asked me: “Are there any problems?” I answered “No!” resolutely, and after a few seconds she made me talk to the president. I told him that I was at work and that I had found myself very well and then I launched my proposal: “I would try to work to put start up showers, toilets and other things… Do you think such things can be done?” He replied, “You can do what you want, but do not expect money for you or for any other expenses, because there is no money.” I replied, “President, I’m not asking you for money but only for permission to do it.” He told me that he had nothing to add but that he had spoken clearly and I would not have any money in any case. I bought rags, brooms, brushes, anti-limestone and detergents. The coach gave me the keys and I spent all my free hours cleaning the shower room, the water was present and the drains worked, it was just all dirty and encrusted. Sunday was a day of play, I was with the guys before the start, but no massages could be done because there was no massage table, in the interval I did lie down on the ground one who had been kicked on one foot and I worked hard on that foot and he told me it was better and he came back to play, at the end of the game (unfortunately the game went wrong) I told the guys to go to the showers, they opened the door to the showers and everything was all clean, they showered for the first time with hot water, when they came out they asked me where were rags and detergents because they could not leave everything dirty. They cleaned up everything and I asked them to give me a hand to bring a massage table and a locker that I had at home and that I had never used. One said he could take one van for an hour but that he needed to do it immediately because usually his family used it for work. We went to pick up the van, then to my house, we loaded the massage table and the locker and went back to the stadium and arranged things. I asked why the coach did not go to the match and they answered by raising their arms. I said immediately: “But a lot of things can change!” One told me: “The coach no!” I said that even while he was formally the coach many things could change, then I said hello to them: “See you Thursday and we’ll try to do a little bit of real work.” On Thursday they found the medical room perfectly clean, there was also blood pressure measuring instrument, the pulse oximeter, and a little bit of ointment for the muscular tears. The coach had warned me that he would not come. I proposed to the guys a minimum of preparation before training, we brought the massage table to the gym and they all got around, I asked a volunteer and Marcello lay on the couch. I told them that they are football players and that the preparation should mainly concern the leg muscles, I have shown them some maneuvers for the muscle relaxation and the dissolution of the joints, I did the movement on Marcello and they did the same two by two, we stayed there for almost 40 minutes doing exercises, then we went to work out on the field (without the coach). I had prepared a whole series of exercises from a book about football training. The guys looked surprised: they wondered if I was a footballer, but I said I was just a physiotherapist. We did more than one hour of athletic training and then a little full match based on technique rather than strength. After the match they showered and cleaned up everything. One told me he had so many technical books about football and said he could bring them and maybe they could be useful.
In conclusion, Project, over time, with these guys beautiful relationships have come up, we have become friends. I had the opportunity to massage them, but I did it very professionally and with the guys who were wearing briefs anyway. Every now and then someone comes out naked from the showers but the thing is normal for me as well, what I like is the absolutely magical atmosphere of the stadium, the fact that we are practically as brothers and that if there is any problem we help each other to solve it. I’m gay and I’ve always been, for me to be among these guys is the top, is happiness! I wondered several times if there was a gay among these guys, but I guess not. If there had been one, I would have been a lot less casual, because a gay in some situations might feel uncomfortable and that just does not have to happen. That’s the story, there is nothing porn, there is only the fact that with these guys, who are almost certainly all straight, I’m fine, I do not feel a repressed gay who is content with hetero friends. I have not fallen in love with any of these guys, that would be another story, these guys, for me, are friends, but they are so important that I’m okay at least at the moment. I make my fantasies about them, well, this is human, but such fantasies remain my own private things. When I’ll fall in love, things will be different.
I’m very happy to have spoken to you last night. I have found confirmation that the situation of gays is objectively changing and that the idea of homosexuality as normality is slowly breaking. I thought I would summarize in a short writing my experience on this subject, which then I think is not at all a rare thing.
After graduating from a university in the South of Italy, I I changed my university to attend higher level courses in one of the North. In the new university I found that didactic and research are of medium level, I actually expected something better, what literally shocked me was the level of normal life of gay guys within the faculty, something really unimaginable in a southern university. Here where I am now, being gay is no longer a taboo, the guys are not hiding, or at least there are many that do not hide and they are not just the extreme defenders of the gay movement, here do not even hide the normal gay guys” (it looks like a strange association of words). I was determined to safeguard my privacy, but then, without the need to admit or declare anything, a little group of guys (at least a dozen) has been created who were mutually sympathetic and understood each other at another level. After about six months I had a clear evidence that the guys in the group were all gay and here, dear Project, I have to say that it was far beyond the classic 8% that you consider the percentage of gay guys on the total population. Our graduation course was attended by 51 guys, and more or less from about twenty girls, out of 51 boys 11 are gay! More than 20%. And I’m sure they’re gay because they told me that. I wonder how these abnormal gay concentration could be possible in a specific degree course, which is of a purely technical-scientific orientation. Perhaps the explanation is that gay people are far more than 8% and that their number is largely underestimated just because, apart from the gay friendly environments, gay guys do not go out? I wonder if, in other gay friendly contexts, there are percentages close to 20%, that is, essentially the same of my faculty.
But there is another thing to note: gay dialogue is becoming more and more free and spontaneous. The burden of erotic chat and dating sites, at least at the highest cultural levels, tends to decrease, slowly, it is true, but progressively. For so many good hetero guys, the fact that a friend is gay does not devalues the friendship, But there is something else, in the surrounding social environment there is no gossip about homosexuality, here at least, the topic of homosexuality is perceived as absolutely neutral. The gays themselves have the pleasure of being together but do not lock in a ghetto. Their being together comes from sharing their experiences and feelings in some way homogeneous and is not aimed at sex. Gay friendships last in time. Gay couples last in time. The break of a gay couple relationship does not diminish the relationship of esteem and friendship; solidarity is perceived very strong. I also can see something else, within the gay group of our degree course, the boys talk very little about sex, not for embarrassment or self-repression, but because they consider sexuality a private dimension to be preserved, but if we don’t talk about sex, we talk about love using typical categories of affective life and couple relationships. Today a gay guy, at least in my faculty, does not feel embarrassed when talking about gay love. I met several couples, and were couples who, at least at the origin, were born as couples destined to last. Relations with the hetero world are here, at least, never in terms of contrast, and the strong friendships between a gay and a straight guy is by no means a rarity, and I speak of friendships in which the straight guy is aware that his friend is gay. Even relationships with girls are very quiet and it happens quite often that a girl does not matter if her boyfriend frequents a gay friend. I have the impression that the person is evaluated as such, and without any reference to general categories such as heterosexual, gay or bisexual. Another thing struck me too much, here almost a half of my group, 5 out of 11 gay guys came out with their parents and, more surprisingly, they did not find any obstacles on the part of their parents. In my city of origin gays are completely invisible and the coming out in the family is an absolute rarity. In these things the North is actually at another level. Being gay for so many guys is not a problem. Living for many years in the South I did not realize how much the situation of gay guys was different in different regions of Italy and I did not even think that there could be so favorable situations for gays. Here the places labeled gay are very few, I didn’t imagine such a situation, there is no separate gay subculture, but among the elderly people there is still the apparent tendency to ghettoize gays as a group, I say it’s apparent because elderly people make strange talk but only occasionally when they feel more or less compelled to do so, that is, when there is social expectation in that sense, but also grandparents who make statements of greater closure about gays, in the end have gay nephews, love them and no problem is created for that, but in public it’s hard to avoid the homophobic comedy. Among the guys in my group (the eleven gay guys in my course) I did not even find one objectively concerned or distressed by his being gay, but for the truth I did not even find one special proud of being gay, they are all absolutely quiet guys and they live in a very natural way. One of these guys, when I still did not know he was gay, had sent me an email that I think is very interesting. I copy it down here in full with his permission:
I was very happy to talk to you this morning, I would bet you were a smart guy, as well as a phenomenon in the studies. There are so many universities in the South but, seeing you, I guess they are not so bad, you have a very theoretical and scientific training, we are much more engineers, you tend split hairs over and build precise mathematical models, we linearize everything, and at most we do some laboratory tests. I (Fabio, called Failed genius), Andrea (called the Minister) and Marco (said the 1st Thin) began to study together and we are very well. If the thing for you is fine we could even study in four rather than three, they all agree. We are all gay guys, but we do not have any prejudices against intelligent straight guys. Let me know what you think about.
Fabio (Failed genius)
Gay Project has just published in Italian a “Manual of homosexuality”: http://gayproject.altervista.org/manuale_di_omosessualita.pdf, that is a guide to know and understand the real problems of gay guys. The manual has 22 chapters. I present here the first chapter in English, in the coming weeks I will publish the next chapters.
CHAPTER 1 – UNDERSTANDING TO BE GAY
Let’s start with a concrete example.
A boy 12 year old (seventh grade) experiences for the first time the spontaneous swelling up of his penis (erection) while he is in the locker room along with his mates and while concentrating his attention on one of them who is undressing. The experience is pleasant, the guy comes home, sits back to think about his mate, goes quickly erect, the feeling is newly nice, the guy starts a long manipulation of his penis (masturbation) at the end of which he feels a strong contraction of the testes (orgasm) that makes a white substance (semen) squirts up from his penis (ejaculation), immediately after the guy experiences a strong feeling of relaxation, as if all the tension caused by sexual arousal had been discharged (post-orgasmic phase). Throughout all this procedure, the imagination is concentrated on the image of the mate undressing in the locker room (masturbatory fantasy).
Let us now analyze this example. It is the discovery of masturbation, that is the first real sexual experience. In this experience, there are two different components linked together, the physical one (erection, masturbation, orgasm, ejaculation, post-orgasmic phase) and the imaginative one (masturbatory fantasy).
It is usual to call masturbation also the whole physical-imaginative process we have just described. During masturbation the guy brings to mind the images that had caused the erection spontaneously, because focusing on those images (masturbatory fantasies) he can easily get an erection (sexual arousal through masturbation fantasies) and the erection is more vigorous and all the process of masturbation is strongly addictive. If the masturbatory fantasies of a guy are directed towards other guys we use to say that masturbation is gay oriented, if masturbatory fantasies are directed towards girls we use to say that masturbation is hetero oriented. When the masturbatory fantasies are really spontaneous, they represent the fundamental indicator of sexual orientation: a guy who masturbates in an exclusive and consistent way with gay fantasies is to be considered a gay guy.
Now we go further with exemplification.
The same guy that we talked about before, listening to his mates about masturbation becomes aware that they experience something similar to his own experience in the physical aspect but different with regard to the masturbatory fantasies, and realizes that his mates, during masturbation, don’t focus attention on other guys but on girls. Back home, the guy tries to masturbate focusing on a girl, that is, using the same masturbatory fantasies used by his mates, but those fantasies do not produce results and are on the contrary experienced as something alien and not really exciting. The guy then comes back to masturbation fantasies focused on his mates and the physical response is rapid and convincing.
Let’s analyze the example.
This is the first perception, by a gay guy, of the fact that his sexuality is not similar to that of other guys. The thing in itself would not cause any problem, but the guy, speaking with his mates, becomes aware, with a growing awareness, that his sexuality is considered by his mates as an object of ridicule and as something quite offensive to joke about and begins to connect to his sexual orientation words like gay, fag, queer, fagot and so on, that people use as an insult. This way the guy perceives for the first time the discomfort of being gay, which is not caused by the fact of having a sexuality different from that of the other guys but by the contempt shown by other guys.
But let us proceed with the examples.
The guy that we talked about in the previous examples starts to feel the presence of the guy who is the object of his masturbatory fantasies as something very pleasant, he is happy while being beside that guy, talks to him for as long as possible, appreciates his voice, his physical presence and smile and tends to create a relationship with him. At first that relationship seems to have the typical characteristics of friendship but really differs from friendship because that guy is also the subject of masturbatory fantasies.
All the process described above represents a typical gay love affair, in which there are two components: one affective, which consists in creating a relationship of proximity and affection with the other guy, and the other strictly sexual, which consists in being sexually involved by the other guy assuming him as object of masturbatory fantasies.
For the other guys, who leave similar experiences, but oriented towards girls, the natural outcome of being in love is the declaration of love to the girl they love, that statement is usually taken by the girls like something however flattering. The gay guy understands on the contrary that, for him, declaring his love for another guy carries the risk of being identified as gay and thus being branded with offensive epithets by his mates and also by the guy he is in love with. In essence, the gay guy realizes that he’s a gay guy in a group of guys who have a different sexual orientation and concludes instinctively, that not to be labeled as gay by his mates, he has to pretend to be straight.
So far we have presented a very simple model of getting aware of being gay applied to a 12 year old gay. In reality, this scheme can be complicated by many disruptive factors. Let us therefore examine the most important factors that interfere with the awareness of homosexuality. Consider an example.
A guy 11/12 year old is involved in sexual games with a girl slightly older than him, his first erections are not really spontaneous but are induced by the interplay of sexual manipulation by the girl, which is especially rewarding because allows the preadolescent to perceive himself like a man. The guy will repeat on his own the handling of the penis and will arrive at the discovery of masturbation and, at least apparently, his masturbatory fantasies will be oriented toward girls, but in this case during the masturbation the spontaneous sexuality cannot emerge just because the first erections are not spontaneous but are induced by a girl through explicit sexual advances (the manipulation of the penis or the intimate caresses). The sexual imprinting , that is the first real sexual or para-sexual experience, in this case, has been experienced by the guy “in a straight atmosphere” due to external elements (the girl) and thus was not the result of the sexual spontaneity of the guy, but nevertheless such sexual experiences are not superficial. The hetero imprinting can induce quite easily masturbation fantasies related to the imprinting, i.e. hetero fantasies, rather than to spontaneous sexuality. Following an hetero imprinting, even a guy who, if he could spontaneously develop his own sexuality, would manifest a gay sexuality, can present a straight masturbation for years. Gay guys sooner or later come certainly out of the constraints that derive from the hetero imprinting because in the long time spontaneous sexuality comes always afloat.
Much more complicated and problematic is the situation of guys who have been subjected to violence or sexual abuse. I would simply point out that sexual abuse can leave on anyone who has suffered it very heavy consequences, particularly if it was committed with physical or psychological violence or by a close family member.
Let us consider now much more common disturbing elements that can interfere with the process of getting aware of being gay. We start here with an example.
An 8 year old guy is part of a larger group of friends and hears them speak with great interest about pornography on the Internet. For him, 8 years old, genital sexuality is still something to come, but he is induced by what he heard to go and see what it is. In this way, the guy discovers pornography, which means, in the vast majority of cases, heterosexual pornography, before having sexual maturity to understand the real meaning of sexuality. In this way, the guy gets a form of pre-orientation toward sexuality almost always towards heterosexuality, which tends to stabilize the guy because using pornography he feels integrated with the group of older guys. Over the years the tendency to imitate the sexuality of the older guys leads that guy to the discovery of masturbation that takes place in a straight atmosphere and therefore manifests a heterosexual orientation. This not spontaneous hetero orientation, precisely induced by the described mechanism, just because it is not spontaneous, may not coincide with the deep sexual orientation and therefore, also in this case a young guy with an exclusive hetero masturbation may be, with the passing of time, having to deal with the subsequent emergence of a spontaneous gay sexuality.
We come now to another important point, namely the education that a guy receives about sexuality, and as usual we consider a concrete case.
A guy has been accustomed from childhood to attend Catholic circles, typically the parish. In that environment he feels comfortable, the family has confidence in the priests and is happy that the child attends that environment because even the parents grew up in that environment and feel it as safe and suitable for the growth of the child. Gradually, from childhood on, that guy has assimilated the values typical of a Catholic environment that are related to the idea of family (father, mother and children), seen as the center of the life of an individual. This model does not create any problem to the guy before his first contact with sex life and indeed is regarded as quite natural because, before discovering sexuality, a guy identifies himself only in the role of child and not in a possible role of father. But there are also other things to take in account, a guy, before discovering sexuality considers as natural the idea that sexuality, which he still does not know concretely, is aimed exclusively to the procreation and that any other use of sexuality is wrong. When the guy discovers masturbation and the horizon of real sexuality, he is brought automatically to suppress the new feelings and to feel guilty about the fact of not being able to do without what he believes to be absolutely to avoid. Up to this point the conditioning of sexuality operated by the religion is practically the same for both gay and straight guys, but for gay guys there are also other problems. In religious circles in general people tend to take for granted that all the guys are heterosexual and the existence of homosexuality is considered as a manifestation of disease and sin. The priests who care for older kids only talk about relationships between guys and girls and these behaviors lead gay guys to stay as far as possible away from homosexuality, considered like a very serious sin but avoidable. Let us pause to reflect on the situation we have just described.
The Catholic Church considers heterosexuality as the only natural form of sexuality and considers homosexuality as a pathological tendency, something against nature, which must be repressed. The Church considers a grave sin every homosexual act, that is, all forms of sexuality shared with someone of the same sex and also considers masturbation a grave sin. The World Health Organization has recognized for several decades homosexuality as a “normal ” (i.e. non-pathological) variant of the human sexuality and homosexuals has been recognized in many states the right to join together to form a family, a family formed by same-sex partners, in some states, it is also granted to homosexual couples the right to adopt children exactly as it is granted to heterosexual couples. The same World Health Organization has explicitly acknowledged the value of masturbation not only as a fundamental element for the formation of sexuality in adolescence but as a positive element that produces pleasure, accompanies the entire sexual life of an individual and also involves married man and women, who clearly have also a sexual life as a couple. The World Health Organization has included education to masturbation as part of sex therapy aimed at the well-being of the person as an individual and as part of a couple.
The teachings of the Catholic Church in matters related to sexuality and especially homosexuality and masturbation, are not only not universally shared but are completely incompatible with what the scientific community says about the same subjects.
Sexuality education in accordance with the dictates of the Catholic Church or other religious groups with similar attitudes, promotes feelings of guilt and leads to the repression of sexuality and especially homosexuality, which is seen only in the dimension of sin and not as a natural and spontaneous behavior.
What are the consequences of all this for a homosexual guy? The guy tries to force himself toward heterosexuality and considers homosexuality as a vice to be eradicated, seeks to create a relationship with a girl that can reassure him by giving him the illusion that his homosexuality will disappear if he will be able to resist temptation particularly avoiding masturbation, so in fact the feeling towards a girl will grow “pure” that is not tainted by sex. In repressing masturbation, which would inevitably be gay oriented, and in building a relationship with a girl chastely, that is, without any trace of sexuality, the guy sees a merit, a victory over himself and the sign that his “heterosexuality” is true love and not vice because it is not contaminated by masturbation. In fact the apparent “pure” falling in love with a girl is not really falling in love because is missing entirely any sexual involvement. That apparent falling in love allows the guy to pretend to be straight, relegating homosexuality to the rank of marginal vice that will pass easily, over the years, when he will go to the wedding. It is in essence a problem of removal of homosexuality that is denied and minimized. In some cases, starting with these concepts, when the first attempts to couple sexuality with a girl are successful, the guy can get easily even at the wedding.
The expression “sexual imprinting”, in the strict sense, is used to denote the first sexual or para-sexual experience (nudity, physical contact) that induces, through sexual arousal, the initial orientation of masturbation towards guys or girls. It is quite common to speak of sexual imprinting also about the discovery of pornography and even about the educational pressures. While the discovery of pornography, particularly if very early, can effectively determine the initial orientation of masturbation, and therefore can constitute a real sexual imprinting, the educational pressures act mainly through deterrence. In general, the removal of homosexuality as a result of education does not lead a gay guy to hetero masturbation but to abstinence from masturbation, in this case we can speak of sexual imprinting only in very general terms.
Here it should be clarified that as a guy who lives a straight imprinting can masturbate, for a period of time at least, with heterosexual fantasies, even if he is not straight, so a gay guy, in situations of particular emotional involvement, can have a sexual intercourse with a woman. It should be borne in mind that the true sexual orientation is the “spontaneous” sexual orientation of a person, therefore a guy is gay if, without any conditioning, his sexuality is focused on guys, and similarly a guy is straight if, without any conditioning, his sexuality is focused on girls, but that does not mean that a gay guy, that is a guy who, without any conditioning, focuses his sexuality on guys , cannot, under specific conditions, i.e. with strong constraints, respond to heterosexual stimulation. Similarly, a straight guy, who is spontaneously led to a hetero sexuality, in some particular situations, may also respond to homosexual stimulation. It is precisely for this reason that, in the presence of strong environmental constraints, when the orientation of masturbation does not coincide with that of couple sexuality, the true sexual orientation is what emerges from masturbation because during masturbation the weight of the constraints is enormously less and there is no expectation to satisfy on the part of the partner. The fantasies that accompany masturbation are, for these very reasons, the fundamental index of sexual orientation.
It should be noted that, given that 92% of the population is composed of heterosexuals, environmental pressures that push toward heterosexuality are very strong, while those that push towards homosexuality are virtually nil. That’s why there are many gays who have problems, even for long periods, about their being gay, while it is very rare to find a straight guy who has problems about is being hetero.
About 30% of the guys who end up recognizing themselves exclusively gay have had before periods in which they considered themselves to be heterosexuals and some of them, and not a few, also had sex with a girl and also with more than just one. Those guys are not heterosexuals who have become homosexuals but they are homosexuals who have been induced to pretend to be heterosexuals by environmental pressures or by an education for nothing respectful of sexual spontaneity and typically have lived long and troubled periods of uncertainty about their sexual orientation. It is significant that most of these guys, even when they have a girlfriend and have sex with girls, continues to practice masturbation with gay fantasies.
Let us now deal with elements that can appear but are not indicators of sexual orientation. Let’s consider an example.
A 11 year old guy goes for swimming and compares his penis with that of his peers. In this case it is true that there is an interest in the penis of other guys but it should be clear that for the guy this is only an element of comparison for assessing his own sexual maturation in relation to that of other guys, the same is true when considering physical development, height or strength in relation to the similar characteristics of other guys. All this has nothing to do with homosexuality.
Let’s move on to another situation which is incorrectly related to sexual orientation or gender identity, that is the feeling of being a man or woman. A child about 5 or 6 year old sometimes puts on mum’s shoes, plays with dolls with girls and not at soldiers with his male mates, is at ease with the girls better than with his male mates, does not like to play football and so on.
Such situations are not indicators of sexual orientation or gender identity (feeling of being male or female) but can sometimes express forms of discomfort to integrate into the peer group, often caused by a very rigid education or simply by shyness. Adults should avoid to negatively emphasize these behaviors with attitudes amazed or worried that can really cause insecurities that are likely to remain unexpressed and unresolved.