João, in his own words: “I had my sexuality stamped on me by other people when I didn’t even had traces of some kind of sexual drive. When I first noticed that I was different from the other boys, when I finally understood the looks, the giggles, the bullying I had nothing to do but to deny to myself who I was and do my best to fit in that world that I had been told that I didn’t belong to. I had to be straight. That goal made me put so much effort and energy trying to be something different that I ended up stuck in an unhappy middle.
My coming out was a long and calculated process. It started with me proving to myself that I was no worse than anyone else based solely on being gay and ended after some tequila shots in the arms of a polish guy in a club in Barcelona. That moment, when I finally allowed myself to touch a man in a sexual way, that was my coming out. I was 22 and I finally felt free.
Telling my friends and family that I was gay wasn’t hard. Again, it took me a little while and some planning to absorb everything that was I going through before spreading the word. I was happy and I wanted to share that. I have the most amazing supporting family and, as I predicted, they could not have had a better reaction.
During my so called coming out process, I surrounded myself with friends that I knew that wouldn’t make a big deal out of my sexuality. Most of them weren’t surprised and some couldn’t wait any longer for that moment.
For people to deal with my sexual orientation naturally I also try to deal with it as naturally as possible. In Rio, especially in Ipanema where I live, I feel safe and always walk hand in hand with my boyfriend. I never hesitate to hug or kiss him in public places. In these moments, the “I don’t belong here” feeling that I mentioned vanishes completely.
When you asked me if I could give any advice to myself before coming out, I’d say:
Man, surround yourself with kind people and be kind!”