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I was “straight” until I was 20 years old, I even had girlfriends and everything. When I was 20, I “found out” and had a major crisis. The fear of being rejected, of being “talked about” in town. I was still a boy scout, student council president, model and a member of the church’s youth group. I had in my mind that it would be a global scandal.
I moved to Rio, where I didn’t know anyone, to study psychoanalysis in Rio de Janeiro’s Federal University and, of course, for the beautiful city I fell in love with.
Today I feel that my entire family accepts and respects me, my siblings are the best in the world and I feel a lot of remorse for the friends I pushed away before they could push me away. I believe that our generation was like this: the prejudice was so remarkable that the possibility of being made fun of or being talked about because of our sexuality was appalling. To this day I think about how I could have hidden from myself something that even the others had already realized. Prejudice generally starts within ourselves, we are taught that being gay is something dirty, decadent, a target of jokes, mockery and ridicule. Think about it in a teenager’s mind, in which being accepted by their group is one of the main priorities.
In Brasil, gay young people kill themselves 7 times more than heterosexuals. Religions that spread the idea of sin carry a certain guilt: although I, in my 9 years experience in the marist movement, do not remember a single word against anyone’s sexuality.
Nowadays, I feel a certain courage in the young people, the same courage we all had to grow during many years to come out of the closet in another decade. Boys come out of the closet at school and the others end up admiring their courage. Is there violence, prejudice? Of course, unfortunately schools are still an opportune environment for bullying, but these boys have a courage that was rare to us. Slowly, the world evolves.
People always ask me if I advise them to “come out of the closet”. I never know what to say: I don’t know who their friends are, the environment in which they are inserted, the values and the prejudice that guide them. But I forged the closeted boy’s path, the one described on Wikipedia as gay.
Freedom is an indescribable sensation, I remember how terrible the six months I lived inside a closet were. The decision should be up to each person. Collectively, I believe that if every gay person showed the pride in fighting for their desire, in facing the world for what we are, how “tough of a guy” they need to be to go through it, a little more respect would be given to us.