Ask Angelo - Angelo Pezzote

Angelo Pezzote
M.A., N.C.C., L.M.H.C.
 Spooked Straight
 plus Positively Barebacking

Dear Angelo,

Hey my name is Chris and I am 19.All of my lifeI have labeled myself straight and still think that I am.There have been times whereI have gotten so anxious and depressed to the thought of being gaythatI would be masturbating to a girlas a way to relax.But then a thought of a gay sex act would pop in and I would eventually get off to it which is what has me freaked.Since then it has been an on and off obession asking myself if I could be gay.I find girls attractive and had a girlfriendand we had a great sex life.I have no desire to be with a man. But I have currently been seeing a psychologist and he feels pretty confident that I'm not gay andjust have "Gay OCD"or fear of being gay. What do you think Angelo?

Signed, Spooked Straight


Dear Spooked Straight,

Most men are not all gay or all straight. A recent NYC study estimates that1 in 10 men (10%) who identify themselves as straight have also had sex with another man in the past year. Yet only 4% of men identify as gay. Kinsey's research also supports the idea that male sexuality is fluid and that most men are somewhere in between straight and gay. Same sex attraction, fantasyand behavior are common. It's admitting to it that's less common because the gay stigma is so strong.

You are at an age of self discovery. Replace the word "fear"with "excitement"and see if that changes anything for you. There is nothing wrong with liking guys to some extent or all the way. We are taught by the external world that it's wrong. Please focus on accepting yourself just as you are. You may wish to visit your local www.pflagnyc.orgchapter to help affirm the gay part of you.Lastly, fire your psychologist and get a gay afirmative therapist who can work through your fear to normalize, support and cultivate the gay part of you.

All The Best, Angelo.


Dear Angelo,

I am a straight guy who has a POZ gay friend who I know has unprotected sex with others, and he does not tell them he is positive.Every now and then I'll meet his guys, and can't help but think my friend is potentially infecting them. The dilemma is obvious: how does a friend of someone living with HIV go about discussing this very serious issue with him, and not offending him or crossing that line? Since I am not a part of the gay community, and he is my only gay friend, I don't have access to what others have done in similar situations. Typical HIV counseling materials I've come across don't really get into it either. We all know this is a delicate area, but I am convinced that I have an ethical obligation to not only him, but to the HIV-negative gay community, to bring this matter up. Otherwise, I feel I am an accomplice to murder. Angelo, I appreciate your thoughts on this matter.

Signed,A Friend Who Cares


Dear A Friend Who Cares,

It's nice to have a straight ally and a friend who cares. From what I know, the importantthing here for legal issues is intention. If your friend intends to infect people, then he can be held legally liable for attempted murder and anyone knowing could be an accomplice I imagine.But my area of expertise is not law. Yet the response in an intentional circumstance seems to be clear enough - contact a lawyer, the police and inform those in danger. So what if he doesn't intend harm?

As far as morality goes, I think your friend has amoral duty to inform his sex partners in any case of his serostatus, and that he should immediately stop his behavior of not doing so. Butthis is his responsibility. Neither you or I can make him do this. At best, you may wish to share this answer with him, talk seriously with him about how you feel about his behavior, and maybe try to educate him, recommend counseling and change his mind about what he's doing. However, the "act with integrity, respect others and do no harm" stance I take on this is controversial.

Others think that everyone is equally responsible to protect themselves. This school believes that if the POZ partner does not usea condom, and the other partner doesn't protest, then they are equally responsibleif there's atransmission. They believe that thePOZ person doesn't havea duty to informany more than the other person has to use a condom. So some POZ men may act in accordance with this philosophy, protect their privacy,and ride bareback if they prefer it -believing that everyone is an adult who canrespect and make decisions for themselves.

This issue is like abortion or capital punishment. It'sa heated moral / legal issue where not everyone agrees.As a friend, you have to do what leaves you feeling best about yourself in the end.

All The Best, Angelo.


Angelo Pezzote, M.A., N.C.C., L.M.H.C.

The Gay Man's Therapist

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Angelo Pezzote, M.A., N.C.C., L.M.H.C., All Rights Reserved


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