The Thread of Gio: A Memoir of Sexual Exploration, Fashion, and Pride

by Guillermo Seis

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I go by Gio, short for Giovanni Libro, and I am a young man of twenty winters who loves other men. I left behind the familiar hills of my German birthplace to follow my dream of becoming a fashion designer in the city of Vienna. Fashion is a demanding art, one that asks me to balance many tensions: how to be true to myself and yet stand out from the crowd, how to create beauty without losing sight of who I am, and how to learn from others without copying them. These are the questions that I carry with me as I grow and explore this new world.

When I am not busy with my studies or my part-time job (which helps me pay for this adventure), I cherish the moments I can spend with my friends. They are like the stars in my sky, brightening my days and guiding my nights. I am an extrovert by nature, and I feel energized and nourished by their presence. They are my chosen family, the ones who accept me and support me no matter what.

 

What does sexuality mean to you, and how has your understanding of it evolved?

I thought I could answer this question easily, but I was wrong. Sexuality is not a simple thing. It shapes everything I do, everything I am. It is not just about who I love, but how I love. It affects my beliefs, my appearance, my choices, my aspirations, my actions, and my celebrations. I doubt I would be the same person I am today, if I were not queer. I sense that many heteronormative people resent us for being queer, for making our sexuality and gender visible in everything we do. They forget that they were the ones who hurled hateful words at us such as “faggot”, who made us feel unwelcome and unsafe, who forced us to define ourselves by our difference. They made it hard for us to live without being constantly reminded of our identity, which sometimes made me struggle to embrace my queerness, as I know many others have. 

But I have also learned so much from being queer, from my friends and from the culture we share. I am still learning, still growing, still discovering new ways of being and belonging. They helped me to see myself as a gift, not a burden. They showed me that we as queer people have the freedom to create our own ways of living, not bound by the heteronormative norms that oppress us. Being queer is more than a label, more than a preference. It is a way of seeing, of feeling, of loving. Last year, I started to express my sexuality through my clothes. Every time I step out of the house, I want to communicate who I am through what I wear. I love to play with gender and stereotypes, to challenge and subvert them. My favorite thing to do is to wear my pink "adidas" track pants, a garment that screams straight masculinity, but in the most dazzling shade of pink, worn by a flamboyant Italian gay man with pointy leather boots and a white unbuttoned shirt. I like to be provocative, to take things that have a fixed meaning and give them a new one. My sexuality also shows up in my work, in everything I make and do. Whether it's a sweater with a dick embroidery or a necklace with pearls simulating a sperm, I will always be bold and proud of who I am. That is the liberation I have found. This is what sexuality means to me.

 

How do you express your sexual desires and preferences, and what factors influence them (e.g., gender, attraction, kink, trauma, etc.)?

Dancing is my joy, flirting is my art, and love is my gift. My sexual desires are shaped by many forces, some sweet and some bitter. Some come from the depths of my passion, others from the wounds of my pain. I have learned that sexual desires are not fixed, but fluid. They change as I change, as I grow through the experiences of my life. I trace the roots of my desires to my childhood, to the bonds I had with my family, and the breaks I had with the world. I remember the cruelty of being bullied, the struggle of accepting myself, the courage of trying new things, the adventure of being fearless, and the joy of following my heart. 

To me, sexual desire is a journey, not a destination. I cannot know what I want until I explore what I feel. I have to be curious, open, and honest with myself. I also have to be sensible, respectful, and responsible with others. Queerness has taught me that sexual desire is not something to hide or to judge, but something to embrace and to celebrate. If there is consent, there is no shame. Sexual desire is not a serious matter, but a playful one. It is not a constraint, but a liberation. It is not a duty, but a pleasure.

 

What challenges have you faced in expressing your sexual desires and needs, and how have you overcome them?

The hardest lesson for me was to let go of shame. To be honest about who I am and what I want. To not feel like a freak for having needs that are different from others. Desire is not something to scorn, but to honor. I had to learn that the hard way. I know how lucky I am to grow up in a different time than queer people who came before me. I saw them everywhere, in the streets, in the books, in the screens. They spoke their truth, they claimed their space, they inspired me. They made it easier for me to love myself.

 

How do you express your sexual desires and preferences, and what factors influence them (e.g., gender, attraction, kink, trauma, etc.)?

Dancing is my joy, flirting is my art, and love is my gift. My sexual desires are shaped by many forces, some sweet and some bitter. Some come from the depths of my passion, others from the wounds of my pain. I have learned that sexual desires are not fixed, but fluid. They change as I change, as I grow through the experiences of my life. I trace the roots of my desires to my childhood, to the bonds I had with my family, and the breaks I had with the world. I remember the cruelty of being bullied, the struggle of accepting myself, the courage of trying new things, the adventure of being fearless, and the joy of following my heart. 

To me, sexual desire is a journey, not a destination. I cannot know what I want until I explore what I feel. I have to be curious, open, and honest with myself. I also have to be sensible, respectful, and responsible with others. Queerness has taught me that sexual desire is not something to hide or to judge, but something to embrace and to celebrate. If there is consent, there is no shame. Sexual desire is not a serious matter, but a playful one. It is not a constraint, but a liberation. It is not a duty, but a pleasure.

 

How do you envision a more inclusive and fulfilling sexual culture that embraces diverse sexual identities and expressions, and how can we work towards it?

We are all kin, sharing the same breath of life, the same gifts of the earth. We are all different, yet we are all beautiful, each in our own way. We all have needs, longings, desires, that call us to seek spaces where we can be ourselves, where we can celebrate our diversity, where we can honor our ancestors and our stories. Whether it is in the shadows of a dark room of a club or at a drag event, we should all have the freedom to express our true selves, to find joy and connection with others who understand us.

But we also need to learn, to grow, to expand our horizons. We need to know the richness and complexity of the sexual spectrum, the many ways that people love and relate to each other. We need to embrace the diversity of life, not fear it or judge it. We need to be curious, to listen, to understand, to respect. We need to weave a tapestry of compassion and kindness, a braiding of sweetgrass that binds us together as one family.