READER DISCRETION ADVISED. CONTAINS OFFENSIVE USAGE.
It’s been a while since I wrote anything for TGO. I’d like to say that my duties as Co-Editor in Chief has been keeping me busy, but nothing could be farther from the truth. The real reason why I refrained from writing anything was because I never found anything worth writing about. One topic seems good for a while and upon making headway, the interest would have long disappeared. But here I am, finally with a highly personal article serving as an introduction to a section launch.
Here, I talk about various conversations I’ve had with people over the last two years on the topic of the LGBTQIA+ community. I’m sure that you’ve heard many of these statements too, probably even worse ones. Oh, these are not even half as bad as the stuff that circulates our social sphere every minute. I’ve not written down every homophobic statement I’ve ever heard either, but just those which I deemed indicative to a certain problem faced by the LGBTQ+ community.
No interpretations would be given. If you are a smart reader, you will find much food for thought. You will also see that many aspects from the conversations below would be discussed in our future articles. So sit back, chill, and read with an open mind.
Disclaimer: All names have been changed to protect the identities of those involved. Also, this article is not informative. Terms, pronouns, and words used by the people in these conversations are not politically correct and should not be emulated in any manner.
We were walking down the Fori Imperiali, leading up to the Colosseum. The night was starting to get chilly, and I clung onto my Pull&Bear for dear life. Blabo seemed particularly talkative today, bit weird for a reserved guy who talks only in the company of some good hash.
“Yo Pach, what do you think about gay people eh?”
“What about them, man?”
“Just, what do you think about them? They good for you?”
“I guess. I’ve not met a lot of them in Kerala and I am not really close to most of those at Global.”
“No, Pach. That’s not my question. What do you think about their societal implications? You think people should be gay?”
The usage of “their” instead of “the” troubled me.
“I’m no social scientist, Blabo. I think there’s a lot of bullshit done to them and a lot of bullshit done by them.”
“Yea, that’s all true. But I believe that they take away something very integral from the society. That’s why their ways are not generally accepted.”
“What do you mean?”
“Ah Pach you’re just 18. You haven’t seen any life to understand this.”
As I come from India, I’m only too used to the age gibe when talking about social issues.
“Yea, maybe. But do tell me what you mean.”
“Would you accept a gay son?”
I gotta admit, I was starting to get pissed by his words at this point. I pondered where I should go with this and decided to go with tact. Stick to the basics: when in doubt, coax info out.
“I don’t think my children’s sexuality would really matter to me, bro.”
“That’s where you’re wrong, Pach. That’s why I say you haven’t seen enough life. You’ll only realize the evils of homosexuality when your son turns homo. And that’s a fact.”
I had too many counters to what he’d said. His choice of words bothered me, and I wondered whether I’d be friends with him after this. T’was a pity, as I’d only met him a month ago and he’d only been more than nice to me. We walked along Fori Imperiali, giving my greetings to Caesar as we passed.
Ah, I should have expected this.
“Children with gay parents? I believe that they would miss out on a lot of experiences with respect to normal kids. What about when they go to school on Mother’s Day? What will they say, ’Oh sorry Miss, I have two fathers’? That’s crazy!”, ranted Blabo in class, only two weeks after our last conversation.
It wasn’t a skill to piss feminists off, but I’ve never seen them so thrown off by something that doesn’t involve rape. Most LGBTQ+ community members were too stunned to even speak. The professor (not deserving of the title) was trying to regain decorum. I didn’t feel the need to react. One day he’ll get it, I told myself as I went back to Clash Royale.
Beer was flowing a bit too fast for any civil conversation to occur. This wouldn’t have been a problem in Kerala where we have jute sacks for livers, but here with Italian liver size being comparable to that of a cigarette butt, even time was starting to slow down.
Giovanni came over and made himself comfortable in the spot next to mine. He was drunk, and his attempts at the typical party mating rituals had gone in vain. The girl was with someone else. Time for some bro time, I guess.
“Yo bro, what’s going on man?”
“Ah man, it’s crazy that gay people can fuck so much.”
Whoa, where did that come from?
“Hahahah. Why do you say that?”
“I mean, you know when someone else is gay using the ‘gaydar’ and you just fuck them.”
“Um… bro, what about permission? What if they’re in another relationship?”
“Ah Pachuuuu, we know that all gay people just wanna fuck. I mean, yea there are exceptions maybe, like there is to everything, but I’ve never seen a gay guy who’s not a slut.”
Okay, he was drunk. I had to change the topic of conversation but maybe not too abruptly. I dunno why I said the following statement, but I just did.
“I heard that Francesco Grande just broke up with his boyfriend. After 4 years.”
“Hahahaha bro, imagine getting fucked in the ass by the same faggot for 4 years.”, his last laughing words as his brain lulled into drunk stupor.
Gio’s words provided my then-unreformed mind with a multitude of confusions. From this conversation, I knew he looked like the perfect right-wing straight white homophobic scapegoat for LGBTQ+ activists to tear apart, but he was a staunch leftie who chimed Bella Ciao to sleep. It would take me a year more to separate social consciousness from political affiliations.
“I can’t date someone who’s too into gay rights.”
It was a beer meet-up and we were talking about Aldo’s latest Tinder girl. They had hooked up already and things were going smoothly. Until she’d invited him to the Parade, of course.
“Why not, bro?”, Barmy chirped in.
“I mean, I’m not a homophobe (said every homophobe, ever). She’d be a perfect girl had it not been for this shit.”
“You have to explain more”, I said, not caring much for my semi-aggressive tone.
“Ah Pa, don’t latch onto this. You know me. What I’m saying is, one day if I were to marry her, I don’t want my wife running off to protests instead of taking care of the kids.”, he said, cracking up. Vai in cucina played in the background.
I was speechless. I wanted to get up and leave, and I hate myself for not doing it to this day. Did I join in on the laughter? No, I didn’t. Did I let another misogynistic homophobe get social confirmation? That I sure did.
“You’re homophobic!”, Gabriele screamed, his index finger shooting at Giacomo.
“No, I don’t think so. You had very similar views to mine until a few months ago before you started dating a leftie girlfriend.”
“Lele…”, Giacomo was lost for words, probably because the statement before was true.
“Hold on, Giacomo. I think Gabriele is onto something here.”, I said, because I truly thought that he was onto something over there. I needed to know whether the person I was spending my whole week with was truly homophobic.
“Thank you, Pachu. What I want to say is; I have no issue with gay people. If you like guys, fuck guys. If not, no issues. I am indifferent. My point is, if I see a guy kissing a guy on the street, I feel weird. Not angry, not bad, nothing. Just weird. Ehhhh, I am a Roman who grew up in Rome. All my friends are straight. Maybe you have gay friends, I don’t know. I’ve only been exposed to straight people, and when I see two guys kissing on the street, I feel weird. I think it says more about the Italian society than me.”
“What if you see two girls kissing?”, I had to ask it.
He didn’t reply to that. His discomfort and the fallacy in his argument was evident on his face.
What het-cis-male doesn’t like lesbian porn?
Bonus Conversation- June 2019
The mountaintops of Liguria lay before us. Our cute little Airbnb came with a lush vineyard. It was an emotional moment and I looked straight into Michael’s eyes as I held Athena’s shoulder for support.
“Bro, whatever your sexual orientation or identity is, I don’t care. I would never care. You are one of my best bros, and I am sorry if I ever made you feel that I wouldn’t accept if you came out. I am proud of what you have done, and will always remain my best bro.”
Michael’s words were priceless. With a teardrop that never left the eyes, I thanked the universe for this moment. For acceptance. On the mountaintops of Liguria.