Michelangelo, born and raised in a small seaside village in the province of Catania, discovered his homosexuality when he was just a boy. He has never openly addressed the issue with friends and relatives and has a probably out of the question consideration of Gay Pride: «We should not exploit our condition: gays are not a commercial product. Their sexual inclinations must be lived in complete freedom, but without showing off»
It was necessary to take a step forward about the protection of homosexuals, but we lived better sooner». An affirmation of this kind, at the end of a journey made of battles and many conquests, appears overwhelming without a doubt. Yet this is the opinion of Michelangelo, born and raised in a small fishing village in the province of Catania. Just him, who discovered his homosexuality as a boy and who has never openly addressed the issue with friends and relatives, says: «We should not exploit our condition: gays are not a commercial product. Their sexual inclinations must be lived in complete freedom, but without showing off».
Today, in the era of Gay Pride, such words may seem anachronistic. However, behind this point of view there is a story of fear and compromise.
NOT ONLY A GAME. The discovery of one’s own sexuality is something that characterizes the adolescence of each of us. Michelangelo, who prefers not to reveal his identity, realized he was gay at this stage of his life. However, everything happened for “game”. «One day a girl challenged me and my friend Gianni: I had to kiss him. That’s how I realized I was attracted to him». Then, as today, becoming aware of such a situation was not at all easy. «It was unthinkable to face the issue of homosexuality with our peers, we risked being excluded». Despite everything, the two began to know each other starting from a new perspective; when love broke out, Michelangelo and Gianni became inseparable. The two boys, who were about 14, already imagined living together in a small house not too far from where they had grown up.
A DESTINY JOKE. «One day my father caught us. He told me to be careful, because not everyone would understand». In the collective imagination, people like Michelangelo’s father, who lived in a “restricted” context, are considered to be scarce. Apparently, forty years ago this cliché had no reason to exist. In fact, the acceptance of the “different” does not pass only for the cultural origins, but also and above all for the mental schemes that characterize our way of relating. All this regardless of the historical periods. However, the chance of having such a far-sighted father does not correspond to the good luck of the relationship. The twenty-year-old Michelangelo leaves his home to join the compulsory military service. For Gianni it is the beginning of the end and he drowns the trauma of abandonment in drugs. The two are just in time to meet again: shortly after, Gianni is found dead in a bathroom because of an overdose.
THE JUDGMENT OF THE OTHERS. Perhaps this experience has been blocking the growth path of Michelangelo, who in fact has always maintained a certain privacy on his condition and has preferred to continue living with his family. Today he looks back with nostalgia to the past: «We hid ourselves, it’s true, but we did not need to show anything: our life was as good as it was». Can a person who has always avoided the judgment of others praise a historical period offering no guarantees to homosexuals? The answer is given by Michelangelo himself: «Do we perhaps ask ourselves the question of celebrating a “Heterosexual Pride”? Gays have become the subject of several advertising campaigns: in this way they are ghettoized further». Probably not everyone will share the opinion of our interviewee. In fact, we must keep in mind the goals that have been achieved. However, Michelangelo asks us a question that makes us think: «Do we really need to show off what we are or what we would like to be?».
Translated into English by Eva Luna Mascolino