Examines Gay Life
By Ernest Barteldes
Special from Brazil to GayToday
Last week, one of Brazil's most reputable newsmagazines, Veja www.uol.com.br/veja published a cover story showing how Brazilian gays and lesbians cope with coming out and how their families often greet the news that a member of their own clan has become "unconventional."
According to the six-page report, there has long been a time during which people who've discovered that they were not heterosexuals opted to leave both their homes and home-towns, living as they desired, but concealing their preferences.
Today, more and more Brazilian homosexuals not only reveal their homosexuality to their families but live their lives openly, minus old-fashioned feelings of shame or regret for being the persons that they are.
Veja reports on several youngsters who've come out to their families and how relatives reacted. One young man, editor Pedro Zarur, tells the magazine how his sisters stared at him after the revelation.
Laura Bacelar, a 39-year old businesswoman dealt with her own guilt for desiring another woman, and struggled within herself, thinking she might be diseased. It was "only after traveling to Europe and seeing how same-sex love is accepted there " that she developed courage to come out.
Antonio Santos Silva, the father of 18-year old Alex Silva was at first concerned that his son would shame him by being effeminate.
As time passed, however, he noticed that Alex's behavior did not change, and today the father and his son share a healthy relationship in which there's mutual respect for each other's preferences.
There is also a psychological discussion in the Veja article which reveals how, at first, parents often feel as if they've done something wrong whilst bringing up their children But, in time, most families adapt to real life circumstances, some quite effectively, such as did the families of Fabiana Ferreira and Christiane Lorca, whose relatives now meet regularly at this female couples' home.
There is a small box in the Veja article containing a simple "self-help" guide for families with relatives who've come out, suggesting steps for coping with their shock and learning to live with the plain facts in greater comfort. Although brief, it is enlightening.
The article concludes with the addresses of Brazilian gay web sites including GLS Alibi tours (www.alibi.com.br) and Gay Pride (www.geocities.com/WestHollywood/Stonewall/9658/abertura.html), now involved in the organizing of a pride parade similar those which take place throughout the United States.
Veja's groundbreaking report provides an eye-opening challenge to Brazil's huge homophobic populace that is generally given to seeing gays as stereotypically effeminate inasmuch they portrayed as such in TV and movie dramas.
The report is geared to creating a genuine appreciation in Brazil's citizenry for the nation's gay population, portraying gay men and lesbians as ordinary people living, working and hoping for little more than to share their loving feelings with others.