Gino, in his own words: Being gay means to have the understanding that love and lust have no boundaries when it comes to a gender.
I feel very fortunate to not have faced many challenges being gay. The only challenges I’ve faced are my own internal battles of what people would think of me if they knew I was gay (family, friends, coworkers, social circles).
The gay community here in San Francisco, I feel, is strongly rooted as the mecca; this is where we know much of our history happened; this is where we know we can live and not be judged. Being able to see the broad spectrum of gay archetypes coexist with the diverse culture of people built into San Francisco’s DNA, with respect and acceptance, is something I haven’t seen or felt in any other location, and it makes me proud to know I live here.
(I came out) Thanksgiving of 2003, and I was finally living on my own in my small studio apartment, post university. My mom and younger brother had driven across statelines to spend my first Thanksgiving with me as a “grown up.” My little bro went to meet up with some friends that were also in town and it was just my mom and I watching TV, letting the tryptophan from the turkey push us into the traditional after T-Giving meal nap. Thing was, I started crying because I was planning to tell her that I am gay. I couldn’t spit it out because I was too scared to shatter her heart and vision of what I thought she wanted me to be. 30 minutes passed of me sobbing and my mom started to worry because she didn’t know what the hell was wrong with me. Finally I mustered up the courage and blurted it out. She hugged me immediately and said, “Even if you were an axe murderer in jail, I’d still love you.” (Thanks mom…cause being gay is equivalent to being an axe murderer). Her comment made me laugh so hard, and I finally felt the huge burden lifted off my shoulders, and for the first time, felt free. She let me know she had her suspicions when I was a child, but knew I’d tell her when I was comfortable and ready. Gotta love her.”