My earliest memory as gay was from my childhood when I was in love with a boy at school. Of course, I didn’t even understand that feeling since I was just a five-year-old kid.
As I got older, I noticed that adults often treated me differently from other children. They had already realized what I still couldn’t understand. It happened at school, in the family, and on the street. They treated me differently, but no one talked about it. It was homophobia practiced in silence. And it still happens today.
Unlike those who yell curses and insults, silent homophobes are usually the closest people annoyed by the mannerisms, comments, and opinions of those who are gay, even if they are still a child.
Family conversations are an excellent example of it. The question I heard most as a teenager was whether I would get a girlfriend. It was a hell of a pressure. At thirteen years old, I wasn’t interested in dating anyone, girl or boy, but that’s what everyone wanted to know.
Not liking football was another problem. How do you not like soccer? Nobody got straight to the point. Nobody came and talked openly about it. Not enjoying soccer was almost coming out as gay in the 80s. I see the excessive pressure fathers and mothers put on their sons to have a team they love. I see in this an attempt to teach boys things that boys must like. In these parents’ minds, this would save the child from choosing to be gay. These people have a mix of masculinity and other ignorance in their heads.
Imagine if we had children, boys and girls, who like sports, yes, but who were more interested in politics than the soccer championship? Well, that’s a subject for another post.
Going back to silent homophobia, whole families erase that individual, so they don’t have to deal with what bothers them. The gay of the family is excluded from conversations about life. In order not to hear what they don’t want, people stop asking us about our love life, our opinions, whether we are happy or not. And when asked, they quickly deflect if the matter takes any direction that is not within what these families consider normal.
Even when you come out of the closet and expose your life on social media to free yourself from the erasure, it keeps going. The likes and cute comments on photos you post with your new boyfriend or about acceptance serve as a showcase for these silent homophobes. They try to show the world that they are free from prejudice. However, they are still not talking about it in the depths of family and friends groups on WhatsApp.
I did not make this text out of a need to receive support or blame people from my past. At 46, I had to learn to deal with it all, and today I am fully aware that I did nothing wrong. But it is necessary to talk about these issues so that more boys and girls can live their lives in freedom without facing any homophobia, even in silence.