Growing up Gay in Slovenia

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In Darren Edward’s series of interviews on how gay guys grew up all over the world, he chats with Sebastjan, a 29 year old, about growing up gay in Slovenia.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up on a farm in a small town called Kamnik, it’s a beautiful town underneath the Alps and just 20 km from the Slovenian capital city Ljubljana.

In Darren Edward’s series of interviews on how gay guys grew up all over the world, he chats with Sebastjan, a 29 year old, about growing up gay in Slovenia.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up on a farm in a small town called Kamnik, it’s a beautiful town underneath the Alps and just 20 km from the Slovenian capital city Ljubljana.

How easy was it to be gay in the place you grew up? Is there a gay scene?

It was not easy at all growing up in a small town, there was no gay scene, and I didn’t know any gay men in my country at that point.

At primary school I got interested in boys, but for me it was a world I didn’t understand and I thought it was a phase that all boys go through. Somehow a rumour was spread through the entire school about it and I got bullied and called names all the time for 3 years. At the beginning it was hard and I wanted to change schools, but in the end I didn’t, some of my friends stood by me but at that point I didn’t tell anybody.

I later started secondary school and the situation was a little bit better. However, I got confused and I couldn’t really find myself and felt like I was torn apart, I even tried to date a woman but it didn’t go so well.

I finally found myself in college when I moved to the capital city and then the coming out phase started.

What are the laws on LGBTQ people in your country, e.g. age of consent, same sex marriage etc?

We have a national gay rights law in place that bans discrimination on the basis of sexual preference in employment and other areas including the military.

Couples were able to register their relationship since 2006 and are also allowed to adopt children from a partner’s previous relationship, though not the children of others.

Since 2016 the law change permitted same-sex marriages for the first time giving gay couples largely the same rights as heterosexuals though barring them from jointly adopting children. The law was passed ten months ago after a December 2015 referendum rejected a draft which would also have given gay couples the right to adopt children.

So it’s not that bad, but we still need to fight to get the full equality as with heterosexual couples. More has to be done for TQ people and to get them full equal rights.

How old were you when you realised you were gay and when did you realise there was a whole LGBTQ world out there?

I mentioned that I knew that I was ‘’different’’ since primary school, let’s say age 12 or so. The first time that I saw something related to LGBTQ context was on television, the TV series “Queer As Folk”.

In the 90s and early 2000 we didn’t have internet access so I couldn’t Google it. I came across the local LGBTQ world around the time I got to college at age 19.

When did you come out? And how did your family and friends react?

I first came out to my friend Tina. We were sitting one night in a club drinking, and the alcohol gave me the courage to tell her. She was a little bit shocked but instantly accepted me for who I am.

It was harder to tell my mother as I didn’t know how she would react, especially as I come from a Catholic background. My mother and I are close as she separated from my father soon after my birth. When I decided to tell her I was already living as a student in Ljubljana, so in my mind the worst case scenario would be that she threw me out, I was mistaken as she took the news very well. She cried a little bit but told me that she still loves me, that it changes nothing. Now I have no problem telling people I’m gay if they ask and nor do I hide it any more. Life is just too short to be living in secret and fear.

Have you ever had any issues with being gay at work or out in public?

I must say I haven’t had any bad experiences. It’s also true that I don’t provoke people, for instance, hold hands in a public place if I see that this could mean trouble. I would say I feel safe around 95% of the time in our county.

Do you have a partner? What was your longest relationship?

Currently, I don’t have a partner but I’m open for one. (smile) The longest relationship I had was 6 months and the guy dumped me, even though it was only a short period of time I was heartbroken.

What are your views on open relationships?

I would say never say never. I think not at the beginning of the relationship as I think that period should be reserved for us getting to know each other. But later on, I don’t have a problem with an open relationship but of course under the conditions that we both respect and agree upon.

Do you remember what your first sexual experience was like?

My first sexual experience at the beginning was only oral sex.

Who is in charge in the bedroom — the top or the bottom?

I think of myself as a chameleon and I blend with the environment as each situation is different, it depends on the energy in the room, and between two or more guys.

The most important thing for me is that a guy or guys are satisfied, that their expectations, kinkiness etc are fulfilled, that turns me on.  So to answer the question it depends on what your partner wants / needs.

Do you use Grindr? If so, what’s the dirtiest thing someone has said to you?

I use Grindr periodically, that means I download it usually when I’m horny. Then I use the app more or less out of habit, not even looking for something just scrolling and refreshing the app, then I get bored and delete the app for a month or two.

There are many dirty things that guys write but I must say I enjoy reading them as long as they are not rude …

 

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