Michele, in his own words:“Being homosexual means self-confidence and bravery.
We’re not superheroes or flawless; what I’m trying to say is that thanks to our personal and wearying stories, we can truly appreciate the value of freedom, respect and the priority of happiness.
It is a hard climb, but I wouldn’t change my nature for any reason in the world, because the vibe, the warmth and the magic you get by loving your mate is something inexplicable, that goes beyond people’s judgements.
At the age of 17 I can’t talk about veritable challenges and successes, I have all my life in front of me. As my biggest successes I would say defining who I am and who I want to become and finding the fierceness to face society.
Everyone at school took the announcement easily, more than I’ve expected, I guess because it was rather evident. The hardest part of my coming out story deals with my parents. One night, this fall, I came back home with a new bright hair colour: I was very glad about it, it aired the emotional equilibrium I finally reached, but my parents didn’t feel the same. As soon as I passed through the door my dad said: “Run to the bathroom. I’m shaving that mess off your head”.
It may sound melodramatic, but this was the straw that broke the camel’s back: it was the nth time I had to conform to people’s churchy ethic, the nth time I felt forced to conceal. I wanted them to be informed about my homosexuality and understand that their every trial would never be able to change that, because it surpasses the simple appearance.
Since then our relationship hasn’t improved: I knew it would go this way; I only wanted to be honest with them (but yeah, at the bottom of my heart I always hoped that the love for a son could beat this disagreement).
Here in Oderzo there isn’t a gay community in the real meaning of the word: most commonly you find small firmly defined groups that are not very keen on hanging out with new guys (it sounds pretty elite).
Furthermore there are boys in the closet, sometimes homophobic on the outside, that hide themselves behind body pictures on Grindr, looking for sex and then avoiding one another when walking down the street.
The lack of gay places, beyond the cultural background, has probably worsened the situation, but at the end of the day this feeling of individuality doesn’t seem to bother many people.
“You can’t be tamed”, that’s what I’d love to say to my younger self. As a human being you’re free to establish what the best is for you, in every perspective of your life, whether it is professional or sentimental.”
Rocco, in his own words:“*Cosa significa per te essere Gay?
-Poter avere la possibilità di essere ciò che sono, di credere in quel che credo. Mi da la possibilità di avere il libero arbitrio nella gestione delle mie emozioni.
*Quali sfide e successi hai dovuto affrontare nella vita?
-Di fronte a questa domanda sorrido, e realizzo di non essermela mai posta. Credo che la sfida più grande per me sia stata quella di affrontare mio padre e acquisire la mia indipendenza da lui e dalla mia famiglia, lui è un uomo del Sud Italia nato nel 54• con una mentalità molto ristretta. Primogenito di tre figli, sono stato da subito amato, se non altro a modo loro ci hanno provato. Nel corso del tempo i “segni” della mia “diversità” (mi vien da sorridere nell’adoperare questa parola) a cui non si voleva badare d’apprima, diventavano più evidenti. Lui ha iniziato a staccarsi da me col tempo, fino al giorno in cui ho dichiarato la mia sessualità. Nel tempo siamo arrivati ad odiarci, l’ho denunciato per percosse e sequestro di persona e ho dovuto affrontare un processo. Sono passati dieci lunghissimi e bellissimi anni. Il successo arriva poco per volta, forse per chi sa aspettare o per chi sa affrontare! Oggi vivo a Milano e posso dirmi una persona felice a tratti: non credo nella felicità assoluta. Lui (mio padre) ogni tanto mi chiama, nelle nostre telefonate si parla di molte cose, ma più d’ogni altra cosa inavvertitamente mi racconta che i ruoli della vita si sono capovolti. Oggi lui è quel bambino desideroso d’amore, ed io quell’uomo severo che teneramente comprende la totalità dell’amore.
*Qual’è la tua storia, come hai fatto coming out?!
-La mia vita è un continuo intrecciarsi di storie, ogni giorno. Il mio coming out l’ho trovato abbastanza buffo, avevo 16 anni e vivevo a Milano (con mia zia e la sua famiglia) in un pomeriggio di Gennaio a tavola i miei familiari e mia madre si facevano delle domande sulla mia sessualità mettendo me in difficoltà, in quel momento capii che il problema non era il mio, ma il loro. Decisi di raccontare quello che era il mio sentire, il mio essere! Ad ogni modo la mia storia personale è quella di un ragazzo che è sempre stato alla ricerca di una famiglia, e che nel tempo ha imparato a trovarla nelle persone che ama.
*Com’è la comunità LGBT a Milano?!
-Io personalmente non tendo a ghettizzarmi, preferisco avere a che fare con comunità eterogenee. Se mi devo basare sulla comunità LGBT Milanese con cui ho avuto a che fare inevitabilmente nel corso degli anni, posso dire di aver avuto a che fare con tanti generi contrapposti… Ho incontrato persone senza scrupoli che pur di ottenere quello a cui aspiravano avrebbero fatto carte false, a volte ho conosciuto persone con scarsa personalità che spesso e volentieri si adeguano alla massa perché insicure, altre volte mi sono imbattuto in personalità frivole il cui unico scopo dell’essere è vivere costantemente in una festa senza fine, ed ho anche conosciuto persone meravigliose che mi accompagnano nel corso del mio tempo ancora adesso. Non amo dire la mia su quel che riguarda la comunità LGBT, il problema non sono le comunità o le “razze” il problema sono gli individui singoli. Di bestie ne ho conosciute di tutte le razze e di tutte le categorie, nessuna esclusa!
*Quale consiglio daresti tu ad un giovane?!
-La vita è un viaggio meraviglioso, anche quando non ne cogliamo il senso. Qualsiasi essa sia, vale la pena di essere vissuta! Non fatevi scoraggiare da nulla, amate la vostra pelle, amate i vostri panni, è la vostra storia. Siate voi stessi, sempre… Nella vostra diversità. Non abbiate timore.”
Rocco, in his own words: “Being gay means having the opportunity to be I am, to believe in what I believe. It gives me the opportunity to have free will in the management of my emotions.
What are the challenges and successes you’ve had to face in life?
Addressing this question makes me smile, because I realize it’s a question I have never asked. I think the biggest challenge for me has been to deal with my father and gain my independence from him and my family, he is a man born in Southern Italy, 54 with a very narrow-mind. Being the eldest of three children, I was immediately loved, if only in their own way. Over time the “signs” of my “diversity” (it makes me smile in saying this word) became more evident. He started to break away from me over time, until the day I declared my sexuality. It’s been ten long and beautiful years. Success comes gradually, perhaps to those who wait, or for those who can cope! Today I live in Milan and I can tell a happy person at times I do not believe in absolute happiness. He (my father) sometimes calls me, in our phone calls we talk about many things, but more than anything else inadvertently tells me that the life roles have reversed. Today he is eager to love his child, and I tenderly am stern that that includes the totality of love.
My Life is a continuous interweaving of stories every day. My coming out I found quite funny, I was 16 and I was living in Milan (with my aunt and her family) in a January afternoon at the table, my family and my mother were asking about my sexuality, putting me in a difficult situation, that’s when I realized that the problem was not mine, but theirs. I decided to tell them what I was feeling, my being! However my personal story is that of a boy who was always looking for a family, and that in time he learned to find the people he loves.
I personally do not tend to ghettizzarmi, I prefer to deal with heterogeneous communities. If I have to rely on the LGBT community in Milan with whom I had to deal inevitably over the years, I can say I had to deal with so many genres … I met people opposing unscrupulously to get what they aspired–those who would make false papers, sometimes I met people with little personality that often adapt to the mass because of insecurity, sometimes I came across frivolous personalities whose sole purpose of being is to live constantly in an endless party, and I also I met wonderful people who accompany me during my time even now. I do say this only concerns the LGBT community, the problem is not the communities or the “races” the problem is the individuals. Of beasts I have known of all races and of all categories, without exception!
(Advice to my younger self) Life is a wonderful journey, even when you do not grasp the meaning. Whatever it is, it is worth living! Do not be put off by anything, love your skin, love your shoes, it’s your story. Be yourself, always … In your diversity. Do not be afraid.”
Romano, in his own words:“(Being gay is) just I who am (we all gay are) different. And this difference is not something I really feel as a human being. I mean I am just like anybody else, I’ve got two legs, two arms and so on. I’ve got feelings and needs like anybody else, I live my everyday life without thinking “Gosh, I am gay so I am different”. Being gay is a natural condition like being blond or brunette… It’s this social taboo that makes me feel different. When I was a child there was nothing worst than say to somebody “frocio” (fag in Italian). Nowadays nothing has really changed. That’s it! I think it’s time to get over this taboo in my country. I do hope the next homosexual generations won’t have to suffer for discrimination and social exclusion. I dream about a better Italy in a better world.
Talking about my gay condition, the most important challenge has been the self acceptance. I mean, I felt really so guilty and scared about this. Firstly I even hid to myself my real sexual instincts. So the first challenge was to come up with myself. This process has taken many years but finally I slowly ended feeling so guilty and I began to live my real life.
Well, once I began to feel comfortable with my gay condition, then I did not care much if somebody knew about it. I’ve never talked about this with my parents, friends and relatives. It just happened that slowly everybody realized I was gay. And I’ve never experienced problems with any of them.
The one who surprised me a lot is my father. He never felt comfortable with gays, and I heard him over the years revile gays. Well, one day he came to my place and said “Look son, I just came to say to you that I think everybody has the right to be straight, gay or whatever he wants!” Suddenly I blushed and he hugged me so strong. Tears on our faces and this made me feel so proud of him as a son and as a gay man!
The advice I’d give to the younger myself is: Do not care about the others; opinion, do not care about yours and others sexual orientation. Just care about feelings. Respect everybody and claim for the same respect!”
Alessio, in his own words:” Being gay means to be my self, as a free person who can have sentimental decisions without any pressure by anyone.
Sometimes it made me feel very proud of myself… A little bit lucky as a guy man I could be brave and love who I want. But sometimes I said to myself: “it is normal and easy” and at the same time I say, there are and there were many people who cannot be themselves and cannot be free to love who they want.
One day I said to my parents: “Mamma, Papà, io sono innamorato di Francesco”. And the rest was not so easy and joyful to tell you…
Sometimes it is really nice the opportunity that a huge city like Milan can offer to you but sometimes it can be really ugly and cruel in general.
For me since I came from a very little country this LGBT community is often strange.
(Advice to my younger self) Be brave.”
Matto, in his own words:” Bein’ gay for me, it’s to be free feeling always myself, with everybody and in every situation of my life.
I don’t know exactly, but my idea of success is to basically and consciously choose to have positive feelings.
When I realized that I fell in love with my first boy-friend I needed to talk to my mom but she told me “I know”, then she cried for my secret: I was 22 years-old.
Milan’s a crossroads of many kind of gay people, so the community is numerous and well integrated to the rest of the citizens. Being the city of the fashion, it answers to the rules of the fashion-system. I am not a very worldly person, I prefer to be with the people that I love.
(Advice to my younger self) be always honest with yourself, first, and don’t be afraid to be free.”
Jiaqi, in his own words: “Being gay. Well, what does it mean for me? I’m not sure that I’m able to answer this question, it sounds too difficult. Being gay for me is everything, it is my reason for living. To be gay is something that completes me, I can’t imagine a me that loves girls. To be attracted by boys is a wonderful feeling, I’ve known this feeling since I was six years old even though I didn’t know what being gay meant. That feeling has become more clear over the time.
The greatest success that I had in my life has been accepting my sexuality, I swear that it wasn’t so easy. I felt it was wrong and I tried to be straight, I also tried to have a girlfriend but, luckily was unsuccessful because I’m not a good liar and I couldn’t lie to myself and I couldn’t cheat on my true nature.
Now, my main challenge is to come out as gay. It’s not so easy so I’ve decided to come out step by step. First I came out to some close friends and then to my classmates. I love the feeling after a coming out because you can finally BE and feel free to express yourself. The difficult part of this huge challenge is to come out to my parents and to my relatives. They are Chinese and in my family nobody has ever said the word “gay”. Right now I’m not ready to take this important step, I’m still too young and I need more self confidence. But I’m sure that I’ll win this battle.
I live in a small town in the close minded North East of Italy, so there isn’t a true gay community around me. It’s not easy meeting gay people, or having a relationship. I’m going to move to a bigger city for my university studies and I hope to find an environment that lets me express myself completely, without judgments, without discriminations.
I have never kissed a boy, I have never had a boyfriend and I have never had sex. I’m seventeen and this situation is very frustrating. I used to be sad and depressed every time that I saw a photo of a happy gay couple on the web. Now I have changed and the advice that I could give to my younger myself is: take it easy and don’t rush.”
“The story of my coming out is very strange, but let’s start from the beginning.
When I was a little boy, I thought of being attracted to girls, because this was the only reality I knew and so I started love relationships, but whenever the situations became intimate, I gave up (unfortunately I broke so many hearts). After that, I started to give a look around during the end of my second year at high school and I discovered that there was a hidden world, lived by wonderful, particular but common people, who were scared to show themselves. But I didn’t want to believe it. I said: “No, this is impossible. I can’t be gay, it’s wrong. Maybe I need to find the right girl”. So I tried to force myself not to be gay.
After a while, the desire of having someone by my side, with who share also stupid things, began to be felt. So I thought back to my sexuality. I thought: “It still is impossible that I’m gay, but maybe I’m bisexual. Yes, it has to be this. If I’m gay, how can I explain it to my parents?”. I decided to talk about my sexuality to my best friends (at that time they were 4 girls) and they gave to me their support, they said: “No matter if you like boys or girls, you ‘re special and we will always love you”. They were my strength, they were the reason that I came out to my parents, because I knew that if the situation got bad, I could count on them. Always.
I came out to my parents about 4/5 years ago, when I was 16, but not spontaneously, I had to do. I was so scared, because I knew what my parents thought about gays.
There was a blog about my school (called GossipGirl Frattamaggiore) and one day the anonymous writer wrote about me and what I did at a gay party ( I kissed a boy). My mum have a facebook account and she saw that I post the article on the wall of one of my bestfriends. After reading it, my mum called me in the living room and she said: “There is something you want to tell me?”
“Emh no, why?” But inside I knew she knew.
“I’ve just read an article about you.”
“Really? I don’t know what you are talking about” and my heart started to beat so fast that I thought it would have stopped.
“Ok mum” I said “What you read, it’s true. I’m gay. I know that I’m a disappointment as a son, but what else I can do? That’s what I’m and believe me when I say that it’s difficult for me to admit that”
Unexpectedly my mum told to me: “Bebe, I’m your mother, I’ve always known. I put you into the world, you’re my son and my love for you is unconditionally.”
My life’s begun with my coming out. My mum helped me to told what I am to my father and my brother (they also accepted my situation, with some difficulty of course, they are men, I know that it’s hard for them to understand).
I know that Italy is not ready for us, but the situation’s changing, I can feel that. I changed minds of the guys in my school (now I’ve a lot of straight people that approve my cause). My first relationship ended so badly. After a month, my boyfriend left me, because his parents had known that we were togheter. They didn’t take it well. But now I know that people around me are open-minded, I can see in their eyes (not everyone, the road is still so long).
From my outing (and since my boyfriend left me, breaking my heart) I’ve alway tried to be helpful to other gays in difficulty, giving to them some advices (to show themselves always strong, no matter what, also with their parents they have to have the closed fist), that my house is always open for them, that we need to show to the world, more than ever, that we are not sick, we are not clowns, we want to give love and recieve love cleanly, as everyone in this world.”