GAY ANXIETY AND SOCIALIZATION

Following the publication of a post on anxiety [the one that precedes this one] in Gay Project Forum, a user (Serpy) added in the following comment. 
 
Thanks, Project, for this post whose topic really touches me very deeply. Above all lately it happens that the agitation catches me even at night; this involves waking up and turning very often in the bed, feeling very tired in the morning. Reading what you wrote, I came to doubt that the very strong homophobia in the environment in which I live is the cause (if it is not the only one, certainly the most important) that brings me to this state of constant anxiety. You wrote:
 
1) Being submitted to the questions of parents and relatives like ”Do you have a girlfriend?”
 
Here, this situation happens to me frequently, all family members ask me such questions; practically every night that we meet together by my grandmother comes out the name of a girl who could fit me, according to them, and I inside gnaw my liver because I cannot be honest. Then you wrote:
 
4) Finding themselves temporarily in situations of close cohabitation with other people with whom one inevitably comes to talk about emotional relationships and sexuality.
 
This happened to me last year with my ex-housemates (all homophobic) and just this is why I could not feel at ease with them at all. Regarding the fifth and the sixth situation, well, even those have done their part in the past. You wrote also:
 
“When the mind concentrates on the research at all costs of an answer to a problem connected to sexuality, it ends up neglecting and minimizing other fundamental aspects of social and relational life.”
 
Project, how true this thing is! I still have to get out of this stalemate, but I just cannot! Also because what I miss is a sincere affective relationship, which I have never had either by friends or especially in the family. According to you and according to the other users of the forum it is I who don’t really have the will to get out of this whole situation by myself, despite the advices, or maybe there are cases as desperate like mine of guys who, like me, to come out of this, really need an emotional support without which even the best psychologist in the world can’t do anything for them?
 
I responded so to this email:
 
I would like to try to tell Serpy what I think about going out of anxiety by yourself or not. I am deeply convinced, because I see it every day, that everyone needs important affective relationships and I don’t speak of love stories, but above all of family relationships and friendships that, despite being lived in an unconscious way, form the basis of the interior serenity of a person.
 
Precisely in relation to Gay Project it happens to me practically every day to talk in a chat with some guys and to also maintain exchanges of letters that last over time, even for years. I have often wondered why I spend my days on the Project and the answer is simple, because, through the Project, relationships are created that have a serious emotional value, it is not a professional activity but the creation of authentic human relationships, mediated by mail or msn, but authentic, all this gives me a basic tranquility, allows me to feel useful and I happen to think that just as I enjoy receiving an email from those who write me,
 
the same way, who writes to me can feel happy to receive a serious answer, I say serious but I mean not technical. Sometimes I have the impression that even exchanging an email can have a stabilizing value and can clearly move us away from an anxious vision of things. In fact, what I do in the Project does not consist in finding solutions to real problems but in dissipating the anxiety that is often created around issues that are objectively not problems but that become problems because are lived with fear.
 
I received an email today from a guy I had not heard for some time, I felt him serene, even proud to be gay, well, I’ve never met this guy in person and probably I’ll never meet him but I cannot deny that the email has me immensely pleased. If even an email can create certain effects, it is obvious that feeling the emotional warmth of others has enormous value. I give an example.
 
On the day of his birthday a guy receives a gift from his classmates, a group gift, but made with the heart, whether they are gay or straight, it matters little, what matters is that they are authentic things. Such a thing has an enormous value in terms of self-esteem and is a natural anxiolytic with no side effects. You don’t live well alone, you can accept loneliness as a temporary situation because we all need others, or better than others, we need those who love us, at all ages. My dream about the Project is that it can contribute a little to reducing the sense of loneliness and to putting finally aside anxiety in the prospect of a future considered with greater serenity.
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If you like, you can join the discussion on this post on Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-gay-anxiety-and-socialization

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
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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

THE CRY OF PAIN OF A YOUNG GAY

Hello boys … Since I joined the forum I attended it very little, although I stay most nights chatting. Often I just talk in chat and I feel a bit better, because here I met really fantastic people who can accept me despite my quirks (which go well beyond my homosexuality, as those who know me a little know very well). However, tonight letting off steam in the chat didn’t produce any effect because I felt bad as I haven’t felt for a long time.

Tonight the ghosts of the past have come back as violent as a hurricane, ready to drag me away another time … I don’t know if I have already spoken about it on the forum before (in the chat definitely yes), however I live in a mountain village, not far from the city (which anyway is a town of only 60 thousand inhabitants … can one call it city? …) but my village is not well connected to the territory given the reduced number of bus rides and so often it is difficult for me, being a minor, to go to the city. This causes me a very strong feeling of unease.

Here everybody knows everything about everyone … I hate being here, I feel completely out of place, I feel like those caged canaries that would fly and cannot escape. I also feel as a silent tiger, which roars but no one hears the roar. I cry my suffering but it is not understood. I compare to too many things that I’m not, actually … Here, as already mentioned, the Law of Jante, that collection of sociological maxims according to which those who are different from the community are excluded and ridiculed, is widely spread ad dominant.

I’ve never been part of my country, nor even of the neighboring city. I’ve always been a case apart, lost in the Franco-German novels and in Japanese comics, while listening to English and Icelandic music. Jante’s Law is also applied within the homosexual community. Given that there are very few gays here … that is, there are very few gay people, and the mentality is so closed that many don’t even accept themselves as gays. therefore …

I don’t exaggerate if I say that in my area don’t exist more than 20 gays, and in any case I’m the only one in my village. About those 20 in any case now has been made a malevolent word of mouth, I don’t know how or why but everyone knows me but I don’t know them, they know absurd things about me – sometimes true, sometimes not, I wonder how, from what, from whom they came to know such things.

I cannot live here anymore … relationships with the gay community don’t exist at all because of the negative reputation that someone has created about me (such things really happen only in “terronia” [= “land of terroni”. The Italians of the south use to call with contempt those of the north with the nickname “polentoni”, that is, eaters of polenta, those of the north use similarly call those of the south “terroni” i.e. workers of the land, peasants.] … this regardless of sexual orientation, if you are a little bit different you are anyway excluded and considered crazy), as for the relationships with heterosexuals … with the guys I cannot tie,

I’m afraid of being judged, ah no ops… they judge me because I’m not visibly like them … not that I’m very effeminated but I certainly don’t have the interests: pussy, motors and football the straight guys talk about here. I point out, I don’t have this opinion of all straight guys. Outside of my area, when I was lucky enough to live in France, but also in the north of Italy, I saw heterosexual guys very open (I point out it because I don’t want to look like heterophobe). Regarding the straight girls, eh, it’s a minimum positive point. With them I can tie, as long as they are not bitches or little geese [stupid persons] … as a result, I only have a close female friend (which everyone calls alternately “Satan” or “Zoccola” [bitch] and this clearly demonstrate how the south of Italy is open …) and three other female friends with whom I’m not as close but I feel at ease and I love them. Then I have a lesbian friend, but lately I attend her less. In short, all women.

I don’t even know what I’m writing and why I’m writing. Maybe to make sure that one day I’ll remember these things. I had started with the intention of describing in detail the word-of-mouth aggression perpetrated against me, but I realize only now that I cannot do it, for the simple fact that I don’t have the faintest idea about. And I have to say that I have been already the victim of another word of mouth, when in eighth grade someone called almost all the parents of my classmates to tell them that I was gay. I would like to know who did so just to say “I’m sorry for how much you are a piece of shit …”

So, I’m angry with everyone tonight. I’m angry with Calabria that doesn’t offer me opportunities, with the Calabrians who have a very narrow mind, with my mother who instead of helping me pushes deeper the knife into the wound with the acid jokes, stressing the fact that I don’t know how to defend myself, but above all I’m angry with myself because I’m not able to send everything and everyone to hell and move on by myself. I’m proud of myself only because in all this I have never seriously thought about suicide, because I firmly believe that there is a better life outside of this hell. But I see this situation depressing, to put it mildly … not committing suicide here is a demonstration that I give myself every day that elsewhere I could really be worth something …

Here people don’t have a minimum respect, I have been called “bog”, “crazy”, “Satanist”, “poof” and many other cute nicknames since I was THREE years old, they already hated me in kindergarten. Do I have a face of cocks? Maybe, but is it my fault? With people who don’t stop at the first impression I can bind so much to give them my soul … but often it seems that people next to me don’t realize it, they think I’m crazy and then I behave accordingly :/ What to say? How to conclude? I don’t know. I’m disheartened. I’m depressed. I say lies every 3×2 [usually], just because I say lies I delude myself to get away from this unsatisfactory reality. I’ve been doing it since I was 9 years old.

Sometimes I’m terrified that even if I’m going to attend university elsewhere, everything will be equally disgusting, that the world is really disgusting like Calabria (although I have tangible evidences that it is not). But my father with his fucking motto “the whole world is village” would make me want to swallow 50 pills of Valium and finish the games forever … I don’t do it because I want and I can resist … because I know I’m worth something … but believe me sometimes, for a few nanoseconds, suicide seems to me the only way out. I resist. I keep fighting and resisting. But for how long? How much do I still have to suffer before finding happiness? Does happiness exist for me?

What then my happiness is? … A goodnight text message would be enough for me or something like “my love … for me you are all” from a boy and this post would never have been written. I would need a “I would like you next to me now” if not a guy waiting for me in the room nearby ready to … kiss me, hug me, tell me that no matter how I suffered and I will suffer but he will always be there for me. Because this is my greatest cause of suffering: the fear of never finding a boyfriend. I don’t have particular passions, yes I like French, Icelandic, history and psychology. But I would never be able to make my work a reason for living, I’m rather “two hearts and a hut”, so far I’ve only had almost exclusively online relationships (live, I’ve only have had stupid, without feeling and also few relationships) yet in those online relationships I gave my all, often I canceled myself to receive a little word of affection, sometimes things went better, sometimes worse (they have always lasted little, anyway).

If I think back to those few messages that I now remember BY HEART from those guys, it’s enough for me to be less worse. I think of what they wrote to me and I repeat “Yes, Rox, you are strong … you can overcome everything!” But then I think that even if, yes, I can do it, I wonder WHAT IS THE POINT OF DOING IT… I feel lonely, terribly lonely, I don’t know people to talk to about such things. I’m here to talk to you. I talk about it on other forums – even about other subjects – on which I’m writing. And I don’t even want to end writing this post, because ending it would mean going to bed crying and listening to depressed music. I want to write here everything that passes through my mind. At the beginning I had titled this discussion “gay and in an isolated mountain area” but right now I have changed to “my cry of pain”. I cannot take it anymore. Life goes on and I look at it from behind the glass of my window. Time runs and I spend time waiting for it to continue to pass as fast as possible. I leave you with the song that most I listen to when I feel so much down … Everything passes, of the Huga Flame.

Everything goes, it’s true, but when will all this pass even for me? Reading about 13, 14 year old boys who already have a boyfriend … it makes me so angry and sad, also because they are all from Turin, Milan, Bologna, at most Rome … I’m here … I don’t know what to write. I won poetry and philosophy contests, I think I’m a sweet, shy and sensitive guy … but maybe this is not enough today to be liked, but I’m not going to change because of the others … because I love to be exactly like I’m, and this is the most important thing. I have beautiful eyes (according to others … otherwise I would not let me say) and anyway the rest of my face and my body although I’m not really a model doesn’t even disgust, yet this is what I provoke in many people, DISGUST. I suck them. And although I try to ignore it, and in fact it is waning compared to a few years ago when I didn’t reason on the basis of ME but based on the OTHERS, anyway all this hurts me.

I feel alone, fuckily, damned alone. And I would just like someone who now, right now as I’m writing, would lock my hands and bring them around himself and to my slightest protest would give me a kiss so long as to cancel everything that is around me, around him, around us. I don’t know what I expect as answers. The answers you’ll give me will probably not change my situation, but I wait for them impatiently anyway, as a child waits for Santa. MAKE IT STOP, LET THIS END … I feel a lot, too much, like in this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XP4clbHc4Xg

Oh, I add, since in the end I stayed at the computer even if it’s 5.09 a.m. and I hear the birds chirp (but what does it matter to me, if the birds are chirping?), now more than resigned I’m pissed off. I always alternate those two states of mind … a little I’m pissed off a bit I’m resigned. What a sadness! Right now I was thinking about the fact that so far, although I have had some (very few) relationships (mostly online) it’s been me the one who did EVERYTHING. The others stayed passively with me (not in the sexual sense, but in the sense that they didn’t consider it too much important if they were with me or not), except for a boy. I feel so different, different from anyone. It doesn’t matter if gay or straight, If male or female, I feel different, almost on another planet. And this sensation it’s not very cool, it’s really distressing … sorry for the strange expression. Feeling so different … feeling that I can never really like someone … makes me want to disappear …

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If you like, you can join the discussion on this post on Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-the-cry-of-pain-of-a-young-gay

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

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

1) Family conflicts related to homosexuality

Speaking with gay guys of all ages, it’s easy to realize that many of them think that often the homosexuality of sons is perceived, within the family, both by sons themselves and parents, as something disruptive and dangerous, capable of undermining even the most profound emotional relationships.

This fear, widespread at all ages, generates both for parents and boys attitudes of closure and defense. The boys, but also the adult men of 40 years, who live in their family of origin or who are still in close contact with the family of origin, not only generally avoid in any way any behavior that can push parents to consider them homosexual but, what is worse, they sometimes end up renouncing their sexuality altogether, even in the most sublimated forms: they don’t invite friends home, don’t go out at night, make a seemingly irreproachable life but totally unnatural and forced.

The fact that a boy should systematically renounce his sexuality to avoid family problems causes feelings of deep frustration and resentment towards parents who are seen as conditioning and castrating. There are gay boys who arrive at 40 years old not only without ever having had sexual contact with a boyfriend, but without ever having even experienced a serious falling in love. Such a thing cannot remain without significant psychological consequences. Gay boys living in this way feel defrauded of their own life and their deep identity by their more or less unconscious parents.

Such things create forms of family coexistence that hide profound recriminations and are merely formal. For gay guys, even at 25, 28 or 30 years, the problem of the relationship with the family is generally not yet solved. This means that these guys, who are now fully adults, are still suffering, often in a heavy way, from the crisis of family relationships due to their being gay. The parents of these guys, who are even 60 years old or older, are unable to give them any support and often misunderstandings accumulate and consolidate, and come to produce a total separation between the sons and the family that is terrible both for sons and parents and leaves a sense of deep failure of emotional life.

But at 25, if it is true that one can go into crisis, it’s also true that there are also resources to manage the situation, but at a very young age it is not at all said that it is so. I often notice, even in gay guys twenty-five years old, the deep desire to escape from home, not in order to get who knows what, but simply to find a privacy that for a guy 25 years old is absolutely necessary, especially if he is a gay guy.

That a gay boy can have good relations with the family it’s not very common and often, after the coming out in front of the family, the ostentatious acceptance of the homosexuality of the son by his parents is only just a semblance and the son feels that ”anyway” something has changed . In such a situation, the son is instinctively brought to consider his parents hypocritical.

Often the sons perceive that in the family the sex is intended like a taboo or something forbidden, this fact discourages from the beginning any form of dialogue of the guys with their parents and more generally with the adults on this topic, that is confined for class of age only to the peer group.

The idea that sex and sexual affectivity can be topics of which one can speak in a serious and open way, without taboos and without scandalism, is unfortunately very far from being a common heritage. Often even talking about masturbation is a taboo. In such a climate, a gay guy experiences in fact in a state of total isolation. Being gay becomes not a taboo like any other but the taboo par excellence.

2) Religious conditioning

The attitudes of the Church, which sees a serious sin even in masturbation and that condemns homosexuality a priori, contribute to the idea that being gay is something very negative that one must be ashamed of, a kind of disgrace, a stain, an outrage especially towards one’s parents.

Parents reticent about sex, hyper-moralistic parents, parents who speak of sex only in a derogatory tone, spread the idea that sexuality is a negative thing rooted in their son’s minds, and this is even more true for homosexuality.

3) Dialogue between parents and sons

In order to allow a form of mutual respect and genuine emotional contact between parents and sons, parents must put aside all the predetermined roles and must get involved without hiding behind attitudes of convenience that actually prevent to the sons to get to know their parents.

Generally, for a gay guy, perceiving that his parents assume a role in front of him, even apparently positive, but nonetheless they are not themselves and are not sincere, is equivalent to feeling rejected. And that perception is objectively correct. In a serious dialogue, and especially about sex or even homosexuality, there cannot be a priori presuppositions. If the answers to be given to the son already exist before any comparison, dialogue is only apparent.

Whenever a parent tries to talk to his gay son by trying to convince him of something, that is assuming what he will say to his son, regardless of the dialogue with his son, the parent is offending the dignity of the son and is creating a false dialogue. With sons, and in particular with gay sons, it is essential to be 100% honest. In most cases the sons do not talk with their parents about their homosexuality and, I add, in most cases they are right not to talk about it. What I am saying comes from the fact that sons often fear parents’ reactions and when fear takes over the relationship, the relationship is heavily degraded.

The guys I met through Gay Project and with whom I often chat, want to hear from me the confirmation that being gay means having a dignity, a morality, a high human dimension, no less than that of any other condition of life. Often the less informed or less seriously informed parents about the gay world, have an absolutely prejudicial vision of it, they identify it with the most screamed and most spectacular stereotypes that are seen on television … but no! Gays, the real ones, have nothing to do with these things, I know so many of all ages and they are very serious people, who work, who try to believe in what they do and often live in conditions of non-freedom because in the world in which they live being gay is not accepted.

There are people hiding (the vast majority!), I call them ”the invisible people”, and they hide because they are afraid, not because they have something to hide. I have seen gays falling in deep forms of love, with or without sex, this doesn’t matter, with those who gave them a serious emotional response. I have seen young boys literally destroyed by their parents’ misunderstanding and a thousand times repentant of having got out in family. The coming out with parents, in general, arouses anxiety and big hesitations because very often the relationships between parents and sons are formalized and are reduced to relationships between roles rather than between people.

4) Parents and role of support

What should a parent do when he realizes that his son is gay (no matter whether his son told him or not)? The answer may seem trivial but a parent who realizes that his son is gay, if he loves his son, must help him to be gay. A guy told me: ”after all I had a lion’s courage to talk about it with my parents … but they took it well only in a sense and say that I have to cure myself”. Such an attitude for a gay boy is equivalent to abandonment and non-acceptance.

Accepting does not mean trying to change the situation and not even hoping it will change, if there is an attempt to change things or the hope that things will change it means that there is no acceptance. Being gay is not a choice but a basic quality of a person about whom there is nothing to decide but everything to accept. Refusing the fact that one’s son is gay means rejecting him from every point of view. Loving sons means loving them as they are!

5) Parents and sex education of gay boys

The parents of gay boys, usually, even in good faith, believe they have nothing more to say about the emotional and sexual education of their sons. Nothing is more wrong. A gay boy must learn from parents to be seriously gay, to consider sexuality as a fundamental thing and to live it in an affective dimension characterized by honesty and respect for oneself and others. But beyond the moral principles, parents can have a great importance also in guiding the boys towards responsible sexual behavior in order to put aside any risky behavior. The parent’s insistence on this point is generally considered by teenagers as a form of positive interest and, in essence, as something gratifying.

A twenty-three-year-old gay boy, who had a very good relationship with his family, told me about an episode that I report below trough a passage of his e-mail.

“At one point I had a fight with my boyfriend or maybe I was just a little tired of him and even though I kept seeing him I started to go to clubs and look for guys to have fun without him knowing it and my father did something for which I will never stop thanking him. One evening he waited for me until I returned home, practically until morning, and he told me clearly that between loving a guy and going to behave stupidly to have fun there was a huge difference but if I wanted to get along with him I had to do things seriously, he told me: you have to respect your boyfriend, because he’s a guy like you and you’re cheating him now, and if you behave with less respect to a guy that you say you love you, are lacking in dignity. And he ended up like this: a gay guy must be a proper guy! I think I will not forget this anymore!”

With this example I mean that a parent can and must have a role towards a gay boy and that role consists in transmitting to the boy the sense of dignity and respect for others, which are fundamental values for all.

6) Medicalization of homosexuality

Parents, who almost always act in good faith towards gay sons, in the vast majority of cases, not only don’t have the faintest idea of what homosexuality really is but are totally unaware of their ignorance in the matter and therefore don’t seek information, don’t try to understand but only to take cover, assuming attitudes that can also violently condition sons, such attitudes are manifested in two main ways: the medicalization of homosexuality and the violation of privacy. The medicalization of the homosexuality of the son is aimed at solving the problem with a psychological or even psychiatric treatment. A serious psychiatrist will never accept to take care of a boy just because he is gay. A serious psychologist can also take care of a gay boy but to help him to be gay, certainly not to try to change his sexuality.

A gay boy, forced or kindly forced to go to a psychologist when he doesn’t want to, will perceive such a thing as a heavy violence against his person, because this way his parents don’t show acceptance but rejection of the his deep identity, and attempt to transform it. I add a very important observation: the medicalization of the homosexuality of the son by the parents is, in fact, a total discharge of responsibility as well as an explicit renunciation to try to build a dialogue with the son on the affective level.

7) Privacy of gay sons and parental intrusions

As to the violations of the son’s privacy on the part of the parents in order to understand if the boy is gay, let us remember the most common ones: reading the private diary or correspondence of the son, entering his computer to check the contents, attempting to control his friendships and especially to demand from him the confession of his homosexuality as if it were a moral obligation of the boy towards his parents. It is clear that parents are not easily aware of the seriousness of the violation of the son’s privacy and often believe that their intrusive behavior is not only justified by good intentions but is dutiful and even represents a meritorious way of exercising the parental function.

For a parent it can be very difficult to understand that the son is an independent person, different from the parent, and that no presumed good intent can justify violating the son’s privacy. For a young boy, and even more for an adult, there is nothing more private than his sexual sphere. An invasion in this area by parents is rightly experienced by the son as an intolerable violence. If a boy wants to come out in front of his parents, this is and remains in any case an absolutely free and personal choice of his, not an obligation, because boys who don’t do it avoid the coming out because they are afraid of the reactions from their parents.

I often speak with 25/30 year old guys who explicitly say that they will never come out in the family. If one of these boys felt somehow forced by his parents to talk about his homosexuality he would live it not as a simple lack of respect but as a very serious aggression to his dignity and his person.

8) Affective education of gays and family homophobia

The bad relationship of a gay boy with his parents, and worse the disapproval of them, radically prevents every form of dialogue. The model of affective life assimilated through the family life, that is through the observation of the behavior of the parents remains deeply imprinted in the mind of gay boys.

Gay guys who have had family relationships characterized by respect and affection between their parents certainly have much less relational problems in their emotional life. Unfortunately, the reasoning is also valid for the negative.

I spend my days, and very often my nights, talking to gay guys and many of them don’t have clear relationships with their parents, this doesn’t only mean that they are closeted gays in family but that between parents and sons there is no real dialogue and that parents don’t have and often have never had emotional contact with the sons: some boys are literally afraid of their parents and their judgment and others prefer not to put at risk even the fragile family peace by addressing dangerous discourses without any useful prospect.

These boys have often felt a homophobic atmosphere in their family, have heard scornful judgments about gays and realized that parents are too much conditioned by prejudices to be able to really understand what it means to be gay. In some cases, parents’ comments on television broadcasts or journalistic news concerning gays have permanently removed their sons from the intention of speaking openly with their parents, in other cases the a priori moral condemnation of homosexuality, on the basis of the attitude of the Church, provoked similar reactions. In these situations, a boy clearly perceives that for his parents, what people say or what the Church says matters more than the son and that there is no effort on the part of parents to understand what it really means to be gay. Often even attitudes that may seem to be of acceptance, in reality, can hurt boys very heavily, when they understand that there is a discrepancy between the parents’ words and their actual behavior, when they perceive the hypocrisy of the parents and their playing a role without getting really involved.

A single word out of place (I love you ”also” like that) can show anyway a profound non-acceptance, but often even the tone of the voice is sufficient or the fact that the topic is frozen in a definitive way. The boys would like to talk seriously with their parents, they would like to understand the difficulties of their parents and help them solve their problems. The real difficulties emerge when mutual trust is lacking, when parents and children don’t esteem each other as persons. In such situations, the fact that the son is gay is not the real problem but brings out the misunderstandings and underlying diseases of the parent-child relationship.

9) Parental victimhood

Often a parent’s interest in homosexuality, after the coming out of the son, is manifested through the search on the internet of sites deemed useful, but almost always the parent avoids serious sites dedicated to gay guys and instead seeks sites where a parent may have contacts with other parents of gay guys, this means that often the parent doesn’t try to understand the point of view of gay boys but is looking for someone willing to support him or allow him to feel victim. It is much easier to be welcomed by the thoughtful arms of a site ”for parents” of gay sons than by those much more tough of a gay site dedicated to gay guys. The parent who prefers dialogue with other parents rather than with his son is not honestly trying to solve the problem of the son but only his own! These things are the clear sign of an immaturity on the part of the parent. The lack of dialogue between parents and children is not eliminated by making parents talk to each other, but by pushing them to talk with the boys and get involved in the first person, without hypocrisy and without a prejudicial role-taking.

10) Parental attitudes about masturbation

When a boy is 14/15 years old, and sometimes even before, begins to have a sexual life, discovers masturbation and, in the 21st century, he invariably begins to use online pornography. Simultaneously at the beginning of sexual activity, this boy feels two different needs, first of all the need for privacy, that is to have his own reserved spaces and times when he is sure not to be disturbed, just to devote himself to the exploration of sexuality, then the need to find serious information about sexuality, that can provide answers without putting him in embarrassing situations. For a boy who has just begun to masturbate, an absolutely natural and necessary activity for the development of his sexuality, there is nothing more humiliating than being caught red-handed by his parents while masturbating or worse that his parents let him know that they know that he does it.

When a boy grows up, a parent must understand that it is absolutely inevitable that the boy has a ”very private” sexual life in which ”nobody” has the right to enter ”for any reason”. The first rule for a parent is to avoid the intrusion into the sexual life of the son and know how to stand aside by maintaining a role of ”possible” (and only possible) reference point for the son. A parent shouldn’t ask the son questions about his sexuality, he should never embarrass him. And here, because we talk about boys and not girls, a fundamental role belongs to fathers rather than mothers. A mother doesn’t fully know the development of male sexuality because she has not experienced it in the first person and, for a boy, talking about his own sexuality with a person of the opposite sex, especially if it is his mother, can be very embarrassing because the speech must be explicit.

A father, if he thinks it makes sense to mention masturbation by talking to his son, should not start from the son’s sexuality but from his own, mentioning the topic as something obvious, which doesn’t constitute a taboo, and accompanying the mention of the topic (which must remain only a mention if the son doesn’t continue the speech) with a joke of lightening or with a winking smile.

Below is a fragment of a dialogue between a 45-year-old father and his 15- year-old son.

The father and the son have just seen together a television service on the approaches to sexuality on the part of the very young people.

Father: Anyways, they are so amazed that at 14/15 years the boys know what sex is, when I was a boy, maybe we didn’t really have relationships as guys do nowadays but, in short, oh … (looks at his son, smiling) … what have you to laugh for? … Yes… I did what everyone does when the sexual urges awaken! … I’m not a Martian!
The son smiles. End of the speech.

This fragment is a non-invasive approach that plays down and doesn’t create embarrassment but almost a form of complicity. I emphasize that in the father’s sentence there is no reference to sexual orientation (he doesn’t talk about girls, which would create alarm and embarrassment for a gay son).

11) Mother’s approach to gay son’s sexuality

The mother’s approach to a son’s sexuality is much more problematic, especially if he is a gay son. If a boy ”explicitly” wants to talk to his mother about sexuality without involving his father, the mother’s task is not to investigate and understand but to listen carefully and not anxiously, to give the son a certainty, avoiding to involve him in her anxieties . When a mother doesn’t know what to say to her son or is embarrassed she can reassure him in a very simple way: when the discourse on sexuality is over, the mother doesn’t have to resume it, which would be a sign of destabilizing anxiety, like an underlining that there is a ”problem” to be solved, but must continue her relationship with the son as if nothing had happened, in order to give sexuality a dimension of naturalness and normality. I emphasize that naturalness and normality should always accompany any discourse concerning sexuality.

12) Parents and sexual anxiety of the son

A particularly delicate situation occurs when an adolescent boy experiences the approach to sexuality in an objectively problematic way. These are typically situations in which parents enter into anxiety states connected with their son’s discomfort. A parent who sees his son’s discomfort must ask himself whether it is more important for a parent to alleviate his son’s distress or ”know” how things are in order to ”help” his child. I state that, despite appearances, these are often irreconcilable situations. To help a son overcome discomfort, one has to put aside the will to know the real life of the son. If my son wants to talk to me about his sexuality he does it spontaneously, if he doesn’t I don’t have to force him in any way, I can stay close to him through normal family care: accompany him to his friends without asking too many questions, leave the dinner ready for him when he comes back late, welcome him with a smile.

13) ”Helping” a gay son

A parent cannot claim to help a son if this one doesn’t want to involve his parents because a boy is entitled to his privacy. There is much more value in a loving and constant presence that doesn’t deal with sexual themes than in a harassing presence that aims to ”know” and ”understand” how things are, a behavior this latter that can lead to a sudden and abrupt blackout of communication with the son, followed by a reactive behavior on the part of the boy leading to his radical and irreversible detachment from the family.

If a parent has doubts about the sexual orientation of the son he must avoid harassing him and must instead reassure him without involving him in an embarrassing way in direct speeches but through indirect hints of respect towards gays, hints that should not be too insistent, because otherwise they would sound fake.

A boy understands perfectly if parents have a true respect for gays or pretend, so for parents the key thing to not affectively destabilize their gay son is to arrive at a true respect for homosexuality. The parent should first question himself and his own preconceptions and only after he should think how to talk with the son about sexual matters.

14) Relationships of gay boys with the psychologist

Given for granted that it is always good to take care of sons in the first person, without delegating fundamental tasks to anyone, it sometimes happens that a parent, seeing the situation of discomfort of the boy, addresses him to a psychologist who could provide support. Here a very delicate point must be clarified: the relationship between a psychologist and his patient must be absolutely ”confidential” i.e. ”reserved”, a serious professional, even in a relationship with a teenage patient, has the professional obligation of secrecy.

Unfortunately this obligation is not always respected and the psychologist ”in the interest of the patient” or rather in the alleged interest of the patient but objectively yielding to direct or indirect pressures of the parents, arrives to communicate to the parents the homosexuality of their son ”without his knowledge”, violently breaking a relationship of trust that could be important for the boy, such a thing has devastating consequences for the boy who feels betrayed in a dimension that should be completely confidential. In this way the psychologist, carefully chosen by the parent, becomes in substance a spy of the parent, and this behavior indicates not respect for the boy but the will of the parent himself to ”know at any cost” , even violating the privacy of the son.

The parents don’t have to choose the psychologist and they don’t have to go to his study before the interviews with the son and not even after, the relationship with the psychologist is not an appendix of the parent-child relationship, but a completely different and separate relationship in which parents must not enter, worse than ever if the psychologist is a family friend. It is a good rule to have the name of the psychologist from the general practitioner and never ask the psychologist ”any” information about the son nor ask the son any judgment on the psychologist.

It happens to me several times to talk with guys who, sent by the psychologist from their parents, don’t trust the psychologist. In these cases the psychologist’s approach is not only emptied from the inside but is counterproductive. In full respect of the dimension of privacy of the son, we must keep in mind that if a parent has doubts about the sexuality of the boy, he must keep those doubts for himself, already talking about it with the spouse can be a negative fact, but talking about it with the separated spouse is anyway to be absolutely avoided , especially if he is a person who does not have a good relationship with the boy.

15) Undue interferences in the lives of gay sons

A parent must not interfere in the son’s relationship with his classmates and friends, when the boy makes a party at home and invites his classmates, the parents, if not directly called into question by their son, must maintain a marginal position, low profile, they must avoid to get into confidence with friends and classmates of the son and for no reason should try to obtain information about the son from his friends or his companions. Putting a son in a state of embarrassment with his schoolmates or friends creates a breaking in the parent-child relationship that is difficult to repair. Terrible and hateful, even if not very rare, are the situations in which a boy who has trusted in his parents in an absolute way realizes that his other relatives ”know about his sexuality” and that the source of the news are precisely his parents, unable to maintain confidentiality.

16) False acceptance

I have often seen parents terrified by the fact that the son had made his coming out but not at all worried about creating or maintaining a substantial dialogue with their son, in these cases, the most typical reaction of false acceptance consists in saying that ”It is only a transitory phase that will pass and then everything will return to normality”, but there are also other typical non-acceptance reactions, such as the classic: ”Go to the psychologist and see what can be done”, or the most common: ”But are you really sure?”, Or even the unpleasant expression: ”But you’re not gay, you only say this to provoke me!” this latter statement highlights strong long-standing contrasts between parents and son. In these situations it is obvious that parents should solve their problems about the rejection of homosexuality before thinking of being able to ”help” their son. The verb ”to help”, used in relation to gay boys only emphasizes the problematic dimension of being gay, a problematic dimension that exists only to the extent to which being gay is seen as a problem. The difficulty of the problem of being gay is proportional to the ignorance of the issue and to levels of anxiety of the parents who want at all costs to ”help” the son to solve a ”problem” that doesn’t really exist and also want to ”save” him from an indefinite series of dangers of which parents nevertheless don’t have the faintest concrete idea.

17) Education for prevention

If there is one thing a parent has the sacrosanct duty to do, it is to make the son understand that his own health must be safeguarded also in sexual activity because it is an absolutely fundamental value. Prevention should not be approached in a generic way with a vague ”be careful” but in a competent way. Talking with the parent must help (this time it’s the right verb!) the son to obtain reliable and accurate information. If a parent doesn’t feel sufficiently informed, he can update himself specifically on the Ministry of Health website or on the Gay Project website which has republished the most important ministerial information on AIDS.

18) Gay boys and family violence

A growing boy, and in particular a gay boy, shouldn’t be involved for any reason in aggressive situations, especially if it comes to aggressive situations related to his being gay. Sometimes I still talk with worried mothers who don’t want their husbands to know about their son’s homosexuality because they would react violently. A scene, and worse than ever, a slap given to a gay boy by the parent because the boy is gay, involves the comprehensible break-up of the relationship between father and son.

We are still amazed at how, even today, there are violent reactions of parents to the idea of the homosexuality of their sons and also of parents with high levels of education but who are obviously completely ignorant of sexuality and are not even able to restrain themselves from violence and to face a reasoning as civilized people. The essence of this speech can be condensed into two principles that parents of a gay boys should never forget:

1) A parent, before addressing the issue of homosexuality with his son, should ask himself what his personal attitude is. He must ask himself seriously if he knows what homosexuality really is or he only presumes to know everything, and if he realizes that he in the first person, has no clear ideas, he must try to clarify them first. He must look first to clarify whether his attitude is really of acceptance or if behind seemingly conciliatory words are hiding homophobic conceptions (homosexuality as a pathology to treat, as a defect to be overcome, as a sin to be avoided).

2) A parent, even after reaching a full awareness of what homosexuality is, must respect ”without exception” the privacy of the son, remaining present and available but never in invasive terms and understanding that the sexuality of the son belongs to the son and not to the parent and that the will to protect the son is likely to make him incapable to react autonomously or to bring him to a position of open break with the family.

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COMING OUT AS A DANGEROUS TEMPTATION

Hi Project, my name is F., I am 26 years old and I am Sicilian. I discovered your site a few months ago and immediately put it among my favorite sites, to be able to come back to it when I have some time to read it calmly. After doing it today, I decided to write to you to tell you my story and to do something good for myself …

Project, the more I get older the more I realize that I always knew I was gay, even at an early age. The first memories that come to my mind date back to when I was about 6 years old, and I was fascinated by my brother’s best friend, a beautiful boy who is almost 10 years older than me. I have in mind a flash of that period when he, my brother and other boys, were outside my house, he joked and cuddled a schoolmate of mine and I wanted to be in his place.

This guy (my brother’s friend) has always embarrassed me (even today) when I see him but I never had any fantasies about him. Today he is father of 2 beautiful children, is a great person and in a sense I’m glad to think that since I was a child I had a great interest in the right people. Seriously, I don’t really have a good nose at all but exactly the opposite.

Puberty and adolescence have been two important crossroads for the knowledge of myself. I discovered sex (the one concerning pornography) very early at the age of only 12, as soon as I began to feel the first sexual impulses, I discovered some of my brothers’ porn movies and then I began to look at them secretly. Right from the beginning the attraction was towards the male body while I tried to pretend nothing, in hindsight I believe that inside me I never truly repressed my real nature even if with the rest of the world I did and keep doing the exact opposite.

There was a period, around 14/18 years old, in which I imagined and prospected a sentimental future with a hypothetical girl (or even real girls) then I began to imagine with some resistance, in the future, a relationship with a hypothetical boy. Step by step year after year I stopped asking myself if there was something wrong with me, I stopped blaming myself, I stopped hating myself, I stopped feeling ashamed and I learned to understand myself and above all to love myself.

Basically, today I have no problem with myself and every day that passes I feel more and more the need to take off this mask and live my life freely. Yet I don’t do it … with my family, my friends, even my business colleagues I pretend to be what I’m not, that is a “normal” straight guy with an overflowing sexual life, they consider me almost a womanizer for the crazy things I tell them. Anyway I have never had sex for the simple fact that I never had the balls to be myself to the end. Yet theoretically I’ve never had problems with sex, I often came close to have sex with girls, but my gay “conscience” has always held me back, while I have never had the opportunity to have a relationship with a guy, even if I would like it better.

I wasted too much time, too many years in this stalemate, Project, I would throw my head to the wall for the remorse I feel for this reason, for having lost so much precious time. If I could, I would go back and change everything. I try the strength to change today and yet I cannot or simply I’m too cowardly to really want to succeed. I thought the problem were my parents, two wonderful people, but they would not understand and would suffer in an absurd way for my “confession” and the last thing I want is to make them suffer.

I am afraid that my friends can look at me with different eyes, and I have fought all my life for not being considered different and I would not bear it. I thought that changing city, being alone, could help me but now I cannot afford it, so what to do? Have I to stay that way and get to 40 years full of remorse and exhausted? No! I do not even think that it should end like this, I want to love, to be loved because I know that I have so much to give and I deserve it too.

I believe that the greatest sin that can be done in life is precisely that of not living life to the full, not falling in love, not making love, not creating something that lasts and remains, otherwise what one has lived for? I’m afraid I can never try all this … I know what it means to fall in love with someone, I tried it 20 years old with a friend of mine, I’m sure he too felt something for me, but we never deepened, he was engaged I was very far from a possible coming out.

My city is a city that does not help homosexuals, in the sense that this reality is lived in private, totally repressed, everyone knows if “X” is gay and hides it, or at least he doesn’t make it public pretending nothing. This is more or less the reality in which I live.

When I go out, if I’m having coffee at the bar or dancing etc., I happen to realize more and more often that a guy looks at me with insistence and then I think, well, maybe he is gay and I could try … but no, I never dare to do it, also because I think the famous gay radar, as far as I’m concerned, can really work badly, I will have made the right choice at most a couple of times. I am also afraid of not finding what I am looking for, that is, a guy who is male in the true sense of the word, not effeminate, or various things. In short, I’m afraid that what I actually am can never get out.

Project I wrote you this long email to understand more, I need your help sincerely because it is neither in heaven nor on earth that I have to live all my life like a shadow, I don’t want and I cannot think about it.

P.S. if you want, publish my mail, if you think it can useful for someone, please just keep anonymity, my msn address is [omissis] if you want, add me. A hug F., and forgive the excessive length of the mail, but I had a lot to say.

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