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Be Yourself
Hello Project

I’m a gay 21 year old South African, who prefers to identify as queer and have been dealing with selective mutism for my entire life, I have been treated poorly and inhumanely for what seems like an eternity. Which made my struggle with selective mutism worse. When I opened my heart both platonically and romantically, I found rejection. One day a friend helped me realized how I had always cursed my lot in life, how I felt cheated by the hand fate had dealt me.

Nine years ago I started to realize that I wasn’t attracted to women, but to men and like my selective mutism, I have been struggling with my sexuality for years. I did everything to hide that fact from everyone including those closest to me, especially my homophobic father.

For the past few months, I came out to a few of my family members (my little brother, two cousins, an aunt and recently an uncle) and a few friends. I have decided to identify as queer, because I, like many others, I do not like labels. But I still felt like I’m not meant to have anything good in my life. That I’m meant to be alone, misunderstood and made the mistake of making the first people I came out to a guy I had or might still have a crush on and when realising I had feelings for him. He decided to play with my heart, making it seem like he was romantically available. 

But eventually told me that they didn’t feel the same way about me, apologizing to me and that his reasons were you help me feels the same kind of joy and happiness he felt. I told him that I forgave him, because I too want everyone to have love and happiness. But inside I was heartbroken and  I thought to myself: "How do I move on from the pain? How do I cope?" And when I thought I had finally moved on, fate as it would seem decided to be more cruel, as I saw him dancing with someone else one night at my first gay club. 

What I witnessed brought back all the pain that I thought I had let go of. But now I felt more hollowed out inside than ever before and started to ask myself questions: "Did he feel sorry for me? Was I his charity case? Is that why he shown any interest in me?"....But do you know what really sucks about falling for a guy, you know you’re not right for? You fall in love anyway because you think/hope that things will turn out differently.

I decided read other people’s coming out stories, watching movies like “Prayers for Bobby”, “Call Me By Your Name”, “Alex Strangelove”, “Love, Simon” and listening to songs like  Keiynan Lonsdale’s song: “Kiss The Boy” and “Preach”,  For any kind of guidance to help me in my journey in life and to give me the courage to come out. To express myself even further I decided to write my own blog called 'Expressing Anonymity ( and have already decided that I would have Charlie Puth's song : "The Way I Am" play in the background as I come out has a proud queer man to my friends, family and the world. 

Life isn't easy and it won't be and there will only be more hardships, but have hope – have hope that your friends and family will love and support you on your journey as you continue to find both acceptance and yourself in this world, and hope others will do the same…
…Embrace who you are, all of who you are and you will be free. Because freedom is power
Hi Simon, your post refers to two fundamental elements: homosexuality and selective mutism. On selective mutism, even at the level of specialists, ideas are not too clear. The closure in silence in some situations but not in others obviously has a component of social anxiety, but individual stories are so varied and complex that looking for general rules or definitions doesn’t make much sense. What is certain is that the school, in all its components, including psychologists, is totally unprepared to accept in the correct way the children and the boys who present selective mutism. The suffering of these children and of these boys can be very profound and what you say offers clear testimony of it. 
To get a clearer picture it would be useful to know in which contexts selective mutism is manifested and in which not, and in particular if the selective mutism manifests itself in relation to the interlocutors and / or also in relation to the arguments. However, the suffering of those who live these experiences should be respected above all, especially when one is unable to understand it and to operate in a competent manner.
I can tell you that the fact that you registered on this forum and spoke explicitly about a subject that caused you so much suffering is truly remarkable, because it indicates an authentic and active search for dialogue.
I must underline that children and guys with selective mutism, except in some environments and with certain people with whom there is not, subjectively (and even objectively) any possibility of dialogue, manifest elsewhere and with other people a very rich and complex personality that even if has been humiliated by suffering, often through that suffering has matured a singular ability to understand the suffering of others, I’m talking about a sensitivity and about very special skills to which, however, for the widespread ignorance and pervasive biases people don’t give the right value.

You say that you have fought for years against your sexuality as well as against selective mutism. It is likely that you have been blamed for your selective mutism, it is unfortunately something that happens often, as if you were the cause of your suffering, and the guilting pushes people to fight against themselves; analogous unconscious mechanisms also operate against homosexuality, if it is demonized by the social environment and by the family. But there is certainly no fault either in selective mutism or in being gay, both of these things must be accepted: homosexuality should in no case cause suffering if you were in a non-homophobic environment and selective mutism, which is basically a defense tool, could still be a useful thing in front of a very aggressive social environment.

Sometimes, hiding one's homosexuality is an absolute necessity, especially when, as you say, you have a homophobic father who wouldn’t accept his son's homosexuality, in other situations, or at another age, declaring oneself before the one's family can be a liberating behavior of enormous value, but evaluating things from the outside always means trivializing issues that are fundamental to an individual's life.

From what I see, in Europe, and in Italy in particular, gays publicly declared, that is declared also at the social level and in the workplace, are very few, less than 3% of the total, because homophobia is still widespread and can cause serious damages. While the totality of gays does what you do, that is they talk selectively to some relatives and especially to some reliable friends, because this allows in the meantime to distinguish true friends from those who are not, and still creates a small group of reliable people with which one can be oneself.
When a gay guy falls in love, he usually has high expectations, but, admitted and not allowed that the other guy is gay, the "Gay + Gay = Love" theorem doesn’t usually work and the disappointment is just around the corner. Every day I see guys who have loved and dreamed so much, who in the end see all their expectations disappointed. Disappointment is an ordinary aspect of affective life and one must learn not to be overwhelmed by it. You forgave the guy who broke your heart and you saw dancing with another guy, you certainly did well. I can only advise you not to ask too many questions about the motivations of that guy's action, in the first place because you will not be able anyway to know the real answers to those questions and also because knowing the true answers would not change anything anyway. It is essential to consider the couple relationship as an eventuality that may arise but is not the basis of a person's equilibrium.
I really like the conclusion of your post that I fully agree!
Hi Simon,
as I wrote to you last night, I resume the speech to get a little more specific about homosexuality. About the fact that it is not a disease but a normal variant of human sexuality, now, there are no more doubts for years, The World Health Organization has been saying this for decades, but prejudices, despite the practically unanimous opinion of the scientific community, resist and are widespread.

I can tell you that I see things from a European and more specifically Italian point of view, but, also in Europe, local variations in the ways of dealing with homosexuality remain substantially enormous. In Southern Europe, homosexuality is still not accepted as a normal reality and this still causes problems related to coming out, problems that in Northern Europe, where sexual education is serious, secular and obligatory, no longer exist.

A significant thing, which is a very sensitive index about whether or not gays are integrated, is the presence in the various countries of the gay-themed OCD, that is of obsessive compulsive disorder centered on the obsessive fear of being gay and on the tendency to undergo continuous tests. (erection and masturbation) to seek confirmation of one's sexual orientation. In Southern Europe the gay-themed OCD is quite widespread and the guys with gay-themed OCD who have contacted me are many, they are 100% hetero guys but strongly influenced by the OCD. In Northern Europe, where the idea of being gay is not demonized, the gay-themed OCD is practically absent, and the OCD is structured on other cores of obsessive thinking, depending on age and education.

I have seen that you speak of coming out as an important achievement, this means that you feel the coming out as a possible thing, without really serious consequences to the point of being unmanageable, but I have seen in Italy, and moreover in Northern Italy, that is in one of the most economically developed regions in the world, parents who kicked out their sons because they were gay, brothers who didn’t invite their gay brother to their marriage, apartment owners who, once they became aware of having rented a house to a gay couple, have done everything to make life impossible for that gay couple, so as to force them to go away. These phenomena unfortunately exist and so I have to advise the guys who are going to come out to everyone to be extremely cautious. It is not a matter of being afraid but of objectively evaluating individual situations. 

Obviously a coming out aimed only at some people is almost always the best choice. In particular, the coming out in the workplace is risky. To declare yourself gay in the workplace means to deliver a loaded weapon to other people, who probably will not use it immediately and will abstain for opportunity reasons from demonstrating homophobic attitudes, but, if the opportunity arises, they could very well use what they know. There are environments where things are different, and even very different, but declaring themselves gay publicly represents in any case a risk to be valued carefully.

From what I see every day, I’m led to think that for the individual well-being, rather than a general coming out it is useful to have a group of serious gay friends with whom it is possible to be oneself without pretending to be straight.

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