Alessio, in his own words: “For me being gay just means being romantically attracted to men.
I think I felt very different growing up, but my family saw that and were very supportive in everything I did. It was hard leaving home and moving to New York City and being confronted with a vibrant and immense gay community, and then to decide how much I wanted that to be a part of my life. I think I’m still figuring that out, but it becomes easier the longer I’ve been here. I’m dating my best friend, whom I love very much, so I’d consider that a success as far as being gay goes.
(The gay community in New York City is) Vibrant and immense, like I said, and almost overwhelming. Almost. I’ll never forget my first Pride and the feeling that the entire city was celebrating, not just gay men and women. New York in general is pretty gay too, so the I’ve never been able to easily separate the “gay” community from my community at large.
(With regards to a coming out story) Eh, I don’t really have one. I suppose I told my father first, but both of my parents knew at that point (I was a very imaginative and often effeminate child, but a really early fascination with Leonardo DiCaprio probably tipped them off first). I was going to see my boyfriend at the time and needed a ride to the train station, and I explained it as such and there was no problem. It didn’t come up in conversation with my mom until that relationship had ended. I’d always hoped that my experience would become more common in the future. For many I think it’s still important to be able to claim “gay” as an identity, to allow it, in some part, to define who you are, but it can’t be the only thing, and I certainly didn’t want my friends and family to think I needed them to see me as “gay” before anything else. I just needed them to understand that so-and-so was my boyfriend and that was how I liked it.
(With regards to advice to my younger self) I wouldn’t interfere. My parents knew what they were doing, and it was almost to a fault that I was encouraged to be different. I was very comfortable not always being liked, very comfortable making closed-minded people uncomfortable, and very, very comfortable pursuing what I wanted. If I could talk to a more recent younger self I think I’d encourage him not to lose that, but we’re working back up to it I believe.”