We’ve all certainly heard the stereotypes, the rumors and the innuendo. If you’ve listened to any of the rhetoric from the religious right you’ve heard it, too: Gay men are sexual predators, promiscuous and diseased. The prejudice-laden stereotype of gay male sexuality has done real damage to our movement for equality. It stands at the crux of many folks’ beliefs on LGBT equality and, in particular, marriage equality.
With North Carolinians facing an up-or-down vote on an anti-LGBT constitutional amendment this May, there’s no doubt the religious right will put its full anti-gay rhetoric on parade. There’s no better time, then, to quash hatefullness and, to the chagrin of many a zealot, get a healthy dose of reality: Not every gay man is a sex-crazed maniac. Like all people, there are gay people who chose to wait — for that special someone, that special moment, that life-long companion.
Matteo, a 24-year-old professional in the Chapel Hill area, is a virgin and just one of many gay-identified men who actively bucks popular notions of gay male sexuality. A native of Texas, Matteo grew up in a traditional, Latino Catholic family. The values he learned there formed the initial basis of his views today.
“Growing up in this culture and in this religious atmosphere, there is a period where there is fear and when you are scared,” said Matteo, who asked us to use a pseudonym for this story. “But, once I got comfortable with who I was and who I am, I started thinking about this idea of would I be able to find a special connection with someone. I realized that was something beautiful and something I did not want to overlook.”
But, don’t be confused. Matteo’s views aren’t a call for abstinence-until-marriage for all. For Matteo, the decision is a personal commitment.
“For me it means just waiting for a very special person — that’s what I’m about,” he said.
Matteo also thinks the community and nation has come a long way on issues of sexuality and equality. Choosing to have sex or choosing to remain abstinent isn’t right or wrong, he said, but “just an option.”
Social pressures — on TV, in other media and even in the community — haven’t much affected Matteo. Though he’s never openly discussed his preferences with friends, he’s never felt ostracized by them either.
“I’m really just being me — this is what I want,” he said. “I like to be honest with people. If I don’t think a relationship is going to go anywhere, I don’t like to prolong things” — or complicate things, he said. Waiting for the “right one” is a path often overlooked in gay culture. In his family and culture, however, Matteo said it is upheld.
“It is a value that the person who you chose to love or be with should be the first and only person,” said Matteo. “That might be outdated in these times — people are a lot more free and liberated and think about sexuality in a different way. But, for me, I just want to make sure it is something I want to do and not wake up the next morning and regret something.”Matteo added, “It’s not so much about tradition or family values or anything like that. It’s about being conscious of the choices that I make — decisions that will stay with me for the rest of my life.”
When the right person comes along, Matteo thinks he’ll know. Whether such an encounter leads to marriage or just a passing special moment, he’ll leave to destiny and fate.
Matteo concluded, “There’s just something important about having an honest moment with someone.” : :
— Matt Comer is a former editor of qnotes.