lunedì 10 aprile 2017

Open letter to the Irish Institutions

                                                                                                     Limerick, 10th of April 2017

Dear Irish Institutions,

My name is Christian G. Moretti, I am a secondary school teacher, I am also a novelist, LGBTQI activist and current Mr. Gay Limerick 2016/2017.
I am writing this open letter because I want to express my shock and concern about Ireland not taking a firm position about what is being reported in Chechnya.

Hundreds of gay men have been arrested in the previous days, some of them have been murdered (the exact numbers are not known because, as you all may know, in these circumstances it is extremely difficult to obtain objective and accurate information). Chechen propaganda is repressing any sort of realistic information and declares its institutions as innocent.
The concerning part of their attack is the fact that they deny the existence of gay men in their territories. By so doing, they obliterate the very fundamental idea of homosexuality. Of course, as we all know in Europe, these men do exist and have been taken to what seem 'concentration camps' for homosexuals.
This is all we know. We do not know anything about their welfare, what sort of tortures they are suffering and, indeed, we do not know if they are alive.

As an activist, I am deeply concerned about this situation and I am appalled that the Irish Institutions have not, yet, taken a firm position.
I was born in Italy and moved to Ireland in 2011, I love this country and I consider it my home, my homeland now. I know how Ireland has changed in the last twenty years in order to guarantee equality and justice to all its citizens. I also know how dedicated and passionate Ireland is when it comes to humanitarian emergencies; the truth is, Irish people are well known all over the world for their generosity and kindness.
I, therefore, appeal to these values of generosity and kindness to ask you to act in this regard, to demand an international investigation, to play the role that we have towards other human beings. Ireland has freed itself from the chains of oppression and domination, thus, we all have a duty to safeguard the right of freedom inside and outside our borders.

Thanking in advance,

Kind Regards,

Dr. Christian G. Moretti, Mr. Gay Limerick 2016/2017

New Book Coming out!

It has been a while since I have updated this website but it was due to a very good reason.
I have been busy working on my latest non-fiction work and I am glad to announce that it will be out very soon.
The release date is the 24th of May 2017.
'Glory is for the Vain, Fight is for the Brave' is a memoir recounting my experience as Mr. Gay, my reasons to be an activist and the importance to advocate.
It will be available on as a paperback and Ebook.

giovedì 16 febbraio 2017

On social stigma and kindness

The last few months have been very busy fundraising and creating awareness.
On the 4th of March I will travel to Cork to take part in the Mr. Gay Ireland final. 
I am very excited and honoured, during this year I have met so many people who are passionate about  many projects, charities and causes. 
Especially, I have had the pleasure to fundraise for the new Fill Project at the Guide Clinic (St. James' Hospital).
Today the new combination drugs for HIV are very successful – HIV + people live normal and healthy lives with almost the same life expectancy as HIV- people. To get this far, various treatments were developed over the years. From earlier times, one major side effect that can impact on some people remains wastage in the muscles of the face, so that a person is medically healthy but looks seriously ill. Collagen injections (which your donations pays for) restore the facial tissue and the dignity of the patient to resume a full life in society. The State pays for a course of three – in many cases, this is not enough for full muscle restoration, so more injections are needed – your monies pay for these extra injections.
This is a very laudable cause that aims at relieving the weight of social stigma and personal low self-esteem.
I have read so many stories and I have personally become so passionate about it. Therefore, I have decided to write a poem which expresses  how hard it is to accept physical changes and social stigma. I hope these verses can inspire as many people as possible to donate towards the New Fill Project. If you wish to donate:

My demon

It is time to wake up,
clean and soft sheets caress my calves,
warm and maternal womb.
I want to crawl back to where I truly belong,
my dreams are my world,
the only reality where my life takes shape.
The clock is ticking,
the sound of the hands echoing in my head,
it is time,
no kingdom will come,
thy won’t be done.
Shivers run through my spine,
knots in my stomach,
auras in my eyes.

Here it is,
my personal demon stands before me, 
every day,
and every day it drains my strength.
Squinted eyes,
trembling voice, 
pounding heart.
This is who I am, 
this is my inheritance, 
of dark times, of fear, of confusion and terror.
The mirror reflects an image but I cannot recognise that person.
He is not the same person of my dreams,
he is not who I remember.
Time heals and curses.

Tears flow on my face, 
they used to make it shine, once,
now they rest in the wrinkles of my skin,
relentless and unkind. 
Wasted flesh and healthy body,
I should be happy 
but my face betrays me.
Each glance digs a hole in my soul,
Each word makes my heart pound,
arrows torture me and I am as lost as my skin.
Courage and determination, every day, always,
but for how long still?
Give me this day our daily bread,
and forgive my trespasses,
wash away my scars,
soothe them and make them disappear,
grant me the strength to forgive those who trespass me,
let me see the light,
let me see the light,
let me see my real image reflected through that light.

mercoledì 15 febbraio 2017

Our communities: are we restricting ourselves?

We are proud of who we are and so we should be; however, do we support our wider LGBTQI+ community when it comes to issues that do not affect us directly?

The sense of community.

This is a great feeling, a confidence booster and the reason that gets us going to LGBTQI+ nights and events. We attend different types of gatherings even if we are not up to them because of this sense of community that we carefully craft within ourselves.
We develop a very personal sense of belonging to a community that we think we share with others. However, do we really?
Most of us like to be labelled in many different ways and embrace certain values that we think everybody in our community would share.
This is called a 'moral community', that is, a number of people who share common values and feelings, just like an invisible rope that connects all of us. However, can we safely say that there are unchallenged standards that regulate such communities? No, we cannot. These communities are a representation of what we want them to be, everyone has a different understanding of them according to our emotional and moral heritage, they are intimate and personal experiences. As such, they do not represent the eternal truth and can be at risk of being influenced by interiorised homophobia, low self-esteem and so on. This not only could be detrimental to our own identities but it can spread a wrong sense of community justified on subjectivity. We should consider the concept of 'community' very carefully therefore.
Can we, therefore, prevent that rope connecting all of us, from turning into a strangling device for our own identities as part of a wider LGBTQI+ community?

Community that do not belong to us.

We instictively and categorically refuse to be associated with communities that do not share our own moral experiences. I do not mean the LGBTQI+ as a whole but all those minor sub-communities which are associated with it: the twinks, the bears, the tops, the bottoms, the doms, the subs, the HIV+ and HIV-. While we might not be into certain sexual practices and we might not associate with some sub-categories, some others need our unconditial support. It is easier said than done though.
When we choose to repudiate one specific sub-community we commit an internal act of violence against ourselves. The whole idea of community can be a two faced coin if we mean it as a closed circle of individuals. In fact, on the one hand we feel we should support our own similars, on the other we differentiate ourselves from other realities, leaving deep cracks into our wider community.
This is a terrible mistake which undermines our own existence as indivuals, the freedom we managed to achieve and the rights which we have been granted.
Why do we always feel the need to draw a difference among communities?
Why do we always tend to belittle the other communities with which we do not identify in order to magnify ours?
This process tends to enlarge and restrict, at the same time, our circles. While we might expand on the one hand, we are also depriving ourselves of vital space for our identities as LGBTQI+ to survive.
There is still too much ignorance, too much stigma which are eroding the entire LGBTQI+ community. They attack our wider community from the inside and destroy it mercilessly. Still too many members of our community do not know anything about HIV and AIDS, still too many memembers decide to turn their head away as, they say, this does not affect them. Well, it does, it really does as we are part of the same wider community. That rope that unites us all cannot be handhold for something and a slip-knot for something else. it is up to us to transform our communities into something extraordinary.

What can we do then?

One main solution is to try and see all our communities as different expressions of ourselves and not as closed groups with no external communication with others.
We should try not to be too selfish and learn to open our circles in order to include and learn about realities which we have never encountered before.
We should be inclusive of all differences and proactively search for opportunities to do so.
We should not judge or condemn because our moral experiences are just ours and do not belong to someone else.
Finally, we should understand that our HIV status does not define us, our community does not define us. This is a really dangerous gamble that we are taking.

lunedì 6 febbraio 2017

Pardoning Gay men in Ireland: Is it really a pardon what Irish Gay men need?

Recently, Senator Nash has proposed a bill that would pardon around 2,000 irish men convicted of homosexuality prior to 1993 when the legislation that condemned homosexuality was changed.
Labour Senator Nash has pointed out at this proposal as a necessary act in order to move on from 'draconian laws'. However is it really a pardon what the Irish Gay men need(ed)?

The situation is, of course, complex and lends itself to any type of manipulation, especially in times where populism seems to be taking over history, common sense, reflection and sensible considerations of the facts. However, it should not be too difficult to conceive a realist view on this issue. What does 'pardoning' actually mean?
According to the Oxford Dictionary:

Pardoning: [mass noun] The action of forgiving or being forgiven for an error or offence:
‘he obtained pardon for his sins’

How does this term, therefore, fit into our discussion? Well, it simply does not, if we assume that being homosexual is not a sin, an error or an offence, which, luckily, is the intelligent assumption of many in the Irish society nowadays. 
What can we do then if we are offered a cordial and totally uninterested (sarcasm alert here!!!) pardon?
We should simply not accept it for the following reasons:

1) Accepting a pardon implies that an offence, an error or a sin have been committed
2) Accepting  a pardon would mean to condemn ourselves in a tribunal which is obsolete and anachronistic.
3) Accepting a pardon does not make up for the mistaken of the past and does not advocate for a better future.

What can we, then, suggest to Senator Nash in order to improve his proposal?

1) To try not to emphasise too much the messianic role of the Labour Party by saying: 'Where the Labour Party sees injustice, whether it’s at home or abroad, we always fight it.'
Because the Labour Party is not proposing to fight a historic injustice, but to perpetuate it by archiving it into History books and deliver their 'kind' act to a glory which is seen as such only by populists.
2) To propose a comprehensive apology and condemnation of what happened in the past. While nothing will change the past, an apology would admit: 'Yes, we did something very VERY wrong to Irish Gay men, we are sorry for it' and we condemn it in the strongest terms'. A pardon would actually admit that something wrong has been done by Gay men and that our 'kind' politicians decided to move over towards toleration. It is not toleration what gay men need, it is not pity what gay men need!
3) To proactively act and approve a SOLID legislation against hate crime, homophobic and transphobic bullying, which will prevent our kids to go through the same old homophobia that condemned many Irish men prior to 1993. These would be important acts which clearly do not make up for the past but that would set the future on a much brighter side.

In conclusion, dear Senator Nash, NO, we do not need a pardoning, we need an apology and a clear and substantial position by government in ending inequality which will prevent a horrible past to re-emerge.

domenica 2 ottobre 2016

Le relazioni tossiche. Esistono nella comunitá LGBT?

Se ne parla da molti mesi ormai. Donne che vengono uccise e minacciate dai mariti. Ma questi tipi di relazione esistono anche nella comunità LGBT? E come si manifestano esattamente? Come é possibile riconoscerle?

L'esistenza di relazioni tossiche é certa anche nelle relazioni LGBT in quanto essi costituiscono un unione affettiva tra due persone. La tossicità delle relazioni, infatti, non dipende dall'orientamento sessuale delle parti coinvolte ma dalla loro indole.
Seguendo questo parallelismo, é possibile dunque affermare che anche in coppie gay e lesbiche é possibile trovare un abuso di potere di una delle due parti. Tale potere puó manifestarsi piú o meno palesemente.

Come si manifestano gli abusi?

Innanzitutto occorre delineare quali sono i tipi di abusi che si possono trovare all'interno di una relazione, che sia LGBT o eterosessuale:

1) Fisico: il piú evidente. Il partner abusivo tende ad usare violenza fisica per qualsiasi motivo.

2)Morale: in questa categoria vi sono diverse manifestazioni che vanno dal minacciare, screditare, intimidire, far sentire il partner inutile o buono/a a nulla, isolarlo/a, minimizzare i problemi del partner, fino all'indurre il partner a fare qualcosa che non vuole e, di conseguenza, farlo sentire in colpa. La violenza morale é, generalmente, quella piú difficile da riconoscere.

3) Economica: in questo caso il partner abusivo tende a privare il compagno o la compagna di supporto finanziario.

Come é possibile riconoscerli?

Nel caso di abuso fisico ed economico é semplice individuare quando il partner adotta un atteggiamento violento.
Per quanto riguardo l'abuso morale, questo, in molti casi, viene ignorato.
Molte persone giustificano persino il partner abusivo in quanto lo ritengono di carattere piú forte rispetto al loro. Alcune delle affermazioni piú frequenti da parte della vittime di abusi morali sono: "lui/lei é cosí, diretto/a" oppure "ha un carattere un po burbero ma alla fine mi ama".
Queste giustificazioni in realtá, in molti casi, sono convizioni della vittima e non modi per coprire il proprio partner.
Il partner abusivo infatti é cosciente del suo comportamento e quando capisce di aver oltrepassato la linea, batte in ritirata chiedendo scusa, offrendo regali, viaggi e dimostrando (per poco) il suo amore nei confronti della vittima. Questa, confusa, si convince che gli abusi sono solo sue percezioni e che in realtá la relazione funziona nella maniera piú normale possibile. Questo in realtá non é cosí ed é molto difficile riuscire a capire la differenza tra percezioni personali (che potrebbero essere distorte, ingigantite e minimizzate) e la realtá dei fatti, quando ci si trova coinvolti in prima persona.

Perché ci si lascia andare alla violenza?

É difficile da dire ed ognuno reagisce in maniera molto diversa. Ad ogni modo in molte relazioni subentra il fattore autostima. Molte persone ritengono di non essere abbastanza belle, abbastanza interessanti, abbastanza in forma per meritare un partner. Quando lo trovano, esse si lasciano andare completamente e permettono l'instaurazione di un rapporto simile a quello tra schiavo e padrone. Il partner piú debole acconsente a qualsiasi cosa il partner dominante chiede. In virtú di una relazione, tanto desiderata, il partner piú debole accantona la propria identitá ed i propri desideri, annulandosi completamente dinanzi al partner. In questo caso si gettano le fondamenta di una relazione tossica.
A lungo andare, l'autostima del partner piú debole si erode sempre di piú fino a diventare completamente succubi della parte dominante.

Come uscirne?

Occorre aprirsi e parlarne. In molti casi si prova vergogna ad ammettere di essere vittime di abusi da parte del partner. Si ama il partner e non si vuole vederlo/a nei guai.
Ad ogni modo é importante capire che se il partner adotta comportamenti simili la relazione sta, effettivamente, andando in due sensi completamente opposti. Da un lato infatti vi é amore ma dall'altro vi é controllo ed abuso di potere.
Parlarne con qualcuno che é all'esterno della relazione puó aiutare a rifocalizzare l'attenzione sui comportamenti abusivi e capire se essi sono proiezioni individuali distorte o realtà.
Esistono inoltre molti numeri a cui ci si puó rivolgere per chiedere aiuto, ad esempio il numero verde (gratuito ) della Gay Help Line  800 713 713.