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Hi Project, some time ago I thought of sending you an email about gay couples, because the topic interests me personally, but this email has a completely different origin. I’m 32 years old, I'm gay, I don't know if I have a partner or not, and I thought that my so to speak "problem" was a particularly serious problem, but that was until I realized that I can consider myself very lucky. I have a group of friends, whom my "partner" and I have been dating for years now. We always thought we were the only gays in the group. The others know it, or at least I think they understood it, no one has ever talked about it, neither us nor them, but they should have understood it, I think. Among the friends there are some very outgoing, both guys and girls, and some a little more reserved. I and my "companion" we are radically secular, I mean that we are not believers, the Church seems to us something completely foreign and even hostile. With this Pope, perhaps a little less, but it is still a world very far from our way of seeing things. In the group of friends there are also Catholics, let's say so "normal" that is without too much enthusiasm but who still recognize themselves in those environments, but there is also a guy, whom I will call Paul here (because he always mentions St. Paul!) With whom the speech, both on my part and on the part of my "partner" has always been very difficult. He had had a girlfriend for years, always known in a Catholic environment. I would like to make a premise: my "companion" and I don’t feel Catholics but we don’t hate anyone and don’t have radically secular and priest-eating presuppositions. We also met priests worthy of the utmost respect, I mean worthy of the utmost respect even from non-believers like us, because in the end what matters is not what you say but what you do. I say this to clarify that we don’t have a spirit of repulsion towards all Catholic circles, because saying Catholic can mean everything and the opposite of everything, as on the other hand also saying gay can mean everything and the opposite of everything.
I go back to Paul. Ever since I met him, Paul has shown me a kind of detachment, let's say of splendid isolation. There was also talk, every now and then, but only about trivial issues, he, in the group, had his friends, the most radically Catholic ones, and since he had heard me say my opinion and didn’t like what I said, he kept me at a distance, but it was only he who behaved like that, with his "Catholic" friends I had an excellent relationship, we joked and talked about everything, with him no, the dialogue was minimal and limited to obvious things, he did not mix with those whose thoughts were more or less different from his opinions. Then my partner joined the group and Paul had a minimum relationship with him, because my partner is much more prudent than me, and having understood immediately who Paul was, he was careful not to say what he thought. My partner considered Paul a somehow closed guy, a little fixated on religion, but all in all a "pretty nice" guy. With our group of friends we didn't say we were a gay couple, I think most of the friends didn't care about it, so we didn't talk about it, but we had with each other a behavior a bit too loose to be just a couple of friends. Paul always came with his girlfriend but he did things that I didn't understand and that bothered me, he scolded his girl in public for things that seemed completely meaningless to me, he silenced her by making her look stupid,
I asked myself why the girl tolerated all this, if I had done with my partner the tenth part of what Paul did with his girl, my partner would have made me fly out of the window. One day we begin to talk about life as a couple, "normal" Catholic friends said things that were all in all acceptable or almost even for me and my partner, but those things at a certain point triggered Paul who left in a hurry against a girl who dared to argue that premarital experiences are fundamental and can avoid "bad marriages". Paul jumped at the very expression “wrong marriages” and began to quote Saint Paul. At which my partner and I exchanged a look of understanding, as if to say: "But this really comes from the Moon!" Then the girl told him that one must not passively suffer the attitudes of parents and at this point Paul got really warm saying that "honor your father and mother" is a commandment and that we must never forget it, etc. etc.. A girl said to him: "if my mother wants to meddle with my business and wants to tell me what guy I have to put up with, I can't sit and listen to her ruining my life, she has had her life, mine is mine!" Then Paul slipped on the gay topic and said really absurd things, that straight couples must be "serious" because they have to collaborate in God's plan by putting children into the world and they cannot do "like gays" who only think about "having fun". This expression really got on my nerves, I exchanged a knowing look with my partner and then I said to Paul: “Do you realize what a nonsense you are saying? But do you have gay friends? " He looked at me and said, "I've never had gay friends!" and I said to him: “No! It's not true! You have a gay friend and it's me!" My partner intervened and said:" You have two gay friends, the other is me!" Project, you won't believe it, but Paul thought we had agreed to make fun of him and he didn't believe in the slightest that we were gay… for him, gays are just another zoological species. Then, carried away by his incredulity, the others also considered our declaring ourselves as a way of making fun of Paul. All this happened about two years ago. For a few months now, things have changed a bit, Paul considers my partner and me to be two jokers friends, but 100% straight, otherwise he would never have accepted our friendship, but we had the opportunity to talk to him even a little more seriously. Project, my partner and I are really thinking that Paul may be gay. He always goes around with the girl behind him, or rather in tow, but I see our straight friends what behavior they have with their girls, well Paul's behavior is totally different: never a caress, a cuddle, but never even a nice word for the girl, who evidently doesn't count for anything in Paul's world, or rather counts as something that brings him back to a heterosexual model, with whom, however, it is evident that he has nothing to do. My straight friends, both guys and girls also talk about sex, they don't talk too much about it but it happens and they talk about it as the most obvious thing in the world, Paul never talks about it, he avoids the topic in a systematic way. The others talk about homosexuality as well. In Paul's speeches the words: gay or homosexual never appear, not even by mistake and the call to religion is only seen in terms of restraint and limitation, never in terms of liberation or enthusiasm. I talked about it with my "partner" and we came to the conclusion that we could "maybe" tell him about us, assuming something that wasn't granted at all, that is that he was able to understand that our statement was not a joke. We also tried, but every time he noticed that something like this was about to happen he disappeared immediately. My partner and I don’t go to church, but a couple of our friends who go to the parish instead told us about a sermon given by one of the priests who said that “marriage is the remedy for concupiscence” but did not refer the speech to straight people, as usually, but he generalized it by saying that “marriage is also the remedy for homosexuality”, an expression that manifests the most radical ignorance in matters of sexuality. The couple of our friends who were present had the impression that the speech was not generic but that it was meant for Paul who was there in the front row and didn’t move an inch until the end. My two straight friends probably thought what my partner and I had suspected, but in a similar situation what do you do? Do you face Paul directly? Or do you tell the girl to be careful and figure out whether or not it’s worth going further? My partner and I talked about Paul with this couple of friends and they told us that the priest who had said those things was considered a "somewhat strange" and problematic character even by the parish priest who had tried to limit his sphere of action. Everyone in the parish avoided him, except Paul, who was enthusiastic about him. What evidence did we have? Virtually no hard evidence, but the four of us had the same feeling. We concluded that taking Paul head on was not feasible and that we could only bring the discussion to these topics to see Paul's reactions, and we did, but there was no reaction at all. The straight couple of friends started from the need for absolute honesty in marriage, saying that each of the spouses must know everything about the other and that deceiving the spouse means using him/her and ruining his/her life, but Paul was a rubber wall, he didn’t even listen. We noticed another thing, for quite some time, every now and then Paul made some shots at gays even in our presence because at the beginning he thought that we were actually straight, then the phrases about gays disappeared completely and the topic was 100% censored. The straight couple tells me that Paul says the same things that the somewhat strange priest says and that the idea of marriage as an "ideal of chastity" is starting to become one of Paul's workhorses. One day my partner and I talked seriously about it and decided to take action, but before putting our project into practice, the straight couple of our friends told us that "during mass" the priest a little strange announced the date of the marriage of Paul with his girlfriend. At which, after having meditated for a long time, thinking that by now Paul was no longer recoverable, we decided to desist, and we said to ourselves: “Can we prevent an announced disaster? … Unfortunately not! Everyone is free, even to make mistakes and do damage.“ We also told ourselves that basically we didn't have any proof or admission from Paul, but seeing his face after the marriage banns, the answer was more than obvious. A guy who's about to get married should be beaming but he wasn't like that at all. Paul somehow knew he was going to trap himself and was going to throw the girl too into the same trap. Paul told us that he intended to limit the ceremony only to close family members, evidently he knew well that for his friends, and in particular for four of his friends, going to the wedding would be embarrassing and therefore he avoided any embarrassing situation a priori. The wedding was officiated outside the parish by the somewhat strange priest. Of course, our assessments can be completely wrong ... we will simply never know, because " What God has joined together, no person is to separate!" Although sometimes this phrase is a real blasphemy. After the wedding we didn't get any news about more about Paul and his wife. They have disappeared into thin air.
This email (some contents of which have been deliberately omitted for privacy reasons) would not in itself require any comment. I will therefore limit myself to a very few lines. As I read the story, I was reminded of the romantic relationship between the poets Fitz-Greene Halleck and Joseph Rodman Drake. Fitz-Greene Halleck (July 8th, 1790 - November 19th,1867) was five years older than his friend Joseph Rodman Drake (August 7th, 1795 – September 21 th, 1820).
Drake in 1816, still very young, married Sarah (daughter of Henry Eckford, a naval architect) with whom he had a daughter. He died of consumption at the age of 25. Halleck never married, he fell in love at the age of 19 with a young Cuban, Carlos Menie, to whom he had dedicated some of his first poems. Hallock, 1) Halleck's biographer, hypothesizes according to the common sense and a lot of evidences, that Halleck was in love with his friend Drake. James Grant Wilson underlined the way in which Halleck, who was present at the wedding as the best friend of the groom (a formal role at the time), described the wedding:
«[Drake] has married, and, as his wife’s father is rich, I imagine he will write no more. He was poor, as poets, of course, always are, and offered himself a sacrifice at the shrine of Hymen to shun the ’pains and penalties’ of poverty. I officiated as groomsman, though much against my will. His wife was good natured, and loves him to distraction. He is perhaps the handsomest man in New York, — a face like an angel, a form like an Apollo; and, as I well knew that his person was the true index of his mind, I felt myself during the ceremony as committing a crime in aiding and assisting such a sacrifice.» 2)
Here we are dealing in all likelihood with a homosexual who has chosen the path of marriage for essentially economic reasons, in the case of Paul's story the marriage "seems" to be due to religious reasons, but it is really obscene in the first place that a priest encourages a homosexual guy to marry a woman with the idea that marriage is even the remedy for homosexuality! But perhaps it is even more obscene that attempts are made to consecrate such a union, with the words "What God has joined together, no person is to separate." A phrase that has a very important meaning that has been distorted and abused to justify an abuse of the marriage piloted by a priest. If it is true that the parish priest had noticed that something was wrong, it is also true that he didn’t do anything to avoid such an obscenity. “He who has ears, let him hear.”
1) Hallock, John Wesley Matthew. "The First Statue: Fitz-Greene Halleck and Homotextual Representation in Nineteenth-Century America." Ph.D. Dissertation, Temple University; DAI, Vol. 58-06A (1997): 2209, Temple University. And also Hallock, John Wesley Matthew, "American Byron: Homosexuality & The Fall Of Fitz-Greene Halleck" (Madison, Wisconsin: U. of Wisconsin Press, 2000).
2) James Grant Wilson, "The Life and Letters of Fitz-Greene Halleck". New York: Appleton and Company, 1869: 184.

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