Marek



My name is Marek. I am 21. I committed the first attempted suicide at the age of ten. I fell victim to bullying. Not because I am a Roma but because I am gay. Roma is at the fringe of Czech society. Gays are at the fringe of Romany society. 

Well, I poured it out at you in the first three sentences, and I do not need to go on writing any longer. But I do want to go on. Because all that hides a lot of pain, feeling of grievances, hopelessness, permanent concealing the basic part of what I really am. All that at a too high a price. It deprives me of energy, zest for life …
 
I come from a big family. Just for you to understand – a Romany family does not include only parents, grandparents, siblings, and uncles and aunts. It also includes cousins, cousins once removed, relatives of granduncles and grandaunts, grandmother’s and grandfather’s siblings, their cousins, etc., etc. So, by counting the relatives, you can soon arrive at several hundred, in some cases at several thousand people…  

All members of my family are of course “normal”. Boys like and date girls, girls like and date boys. Everybody pretends… Of course, it is not true. I already know that. Especially when, much later, I found the name of one of my relatives on the gay dating site … But as a child I did not have a clue. But the worse I felt…

Since I was seven years or so, everybody has called me a “fag”. At that time, I hadn’t the faintest idea what that curse meant. I have soon become the target of physical abuse, beating. My future sexual orientation has appeared obvious. Ironically, most of you would not consider me gay today. I am said to look like a heterosexual. 

I think that, in the course of time, I learnt to play the role of a tough heterosexual guy. Not only that. I did my best to become a real heterosexual guy. I hated being gay. I hated myself because of that. Everybody was “normal”, I thought, only I was the “disgusting pig”. That’s why I committed attempted suicides as a child…

As an adolescent boy I dated a girl – Milena, and I had a relationship with her for two years. I suspected at that time that many Romany gays would find a woman in their neighborhood and set up home with her to avoid any suspicion. They would either suffer because they would never achieve full emotional and sexual fulfillment, or they would simply find a lover, and have their own lifelong secret… 

Milena was not stupid, and she saw that I am simply different from other boys. After two years she asked me directly: “Marek, are you gay?” I was not able to lie to her, and I made a confession. We have been friends to this day.

At that time I had a parallel, rather piquant, relationship with a man. He was my former biology teacher at the elementary school. I liked him a lot. I realized that I will never be a heterosexual guy just because I wished I were one. 

 
In the following years I had relationships mostly with men. I tried to conceal it but I was obviously not careful enough. From time to time, a relative or an acquaintance came to tell my mum – “we saw Marek kissing a boy, we saw Marek with a gadjo, a fag, etc., etc.

I stubbornly denied everything, I did not believe that my mum would accept it, that she would love me as a person created by  God, the way I really am. Unfortunately, I was right. 
A month ago, the lid blew off, there was no space to deny anything. My close relatives caught me red-handed … 

I have been away from home for a month. My mum turned me out of the house. She couldn’t have a “fag” at home, she said. However, when she was young, her best friend was a gay. I don’t understand, it hurts me a lot. 

On the other hand, I am glad that the lid blew off. Although I am up to my neck in … you know what, but at least I felt relieved. The pretence got me terribly down. 

I don’t know what will come next. I suffer from depression, but I know that I must fight it. I cannot live against my nature. Some may manage, but I cannot. I believe that my mum will understand in the end… I know she loves me; she only cannot come to terms with the truth that is shocking for her.

Yesterday, I saw the light of hope at the end of the tunnel. Mum called me and asked how I was doing, what I was working at, where I was staying… In the end, I am sure she will take me at the mercy. Because my family is of great importance to me…

So, keep your fingers crossed for me!