José, 45 years old, identifies as gay male, in a 23 year relationship (now married) with a gay male. 

This image shows how I have protected my emotions and feelings about showing affection in public. I learnt to build a set of protective strategies to keep safe my heart and mind. I built an armor, and I learnt I had to keep any kind of public displays of affection in private.

To me it’s like a prison or something like that. It’s like all my emotions and all the needs I had to express in public; I mean I didn’t have the chance to do it.  I mean it was not forbidden. It’s that I didn’t feel, I don’t know, like strong or forward enough to do it in public.  So, for that reason I think that some of my emotion have been kept; someone stole them from me. It’s like the real world is at this side of the picture and my world is on the other side of the picture.

It was more highlighted in the past, but now it has consequences as well, because of how I’ve been raised. I mean, I couldn’t hold Christo’s hand, or I couldn’t kiss him. So now we don’t kiss each other in public, we don’t hold hands in public. So, it’s from the past, but it has consequences on the present, and I think it will have on the future.

My emotions have been stolen from me. What I mean is, when I see a couple now, and they are kissing or, I mean in public spaces not in a gay bar, for example. When I see a couple, I get like, I don’t know, it’s like jealousy, it’s like “oh I would have liked to do that”. When I think about that, it’s like society just told me, it’s like I haven’t had the chance to do it, so now, although I have the chance to do it, it’s like I am not able to do it. It’s like I cannot do it, it’s too dangerous to do it, and when I do it, it’s not natural.

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