Singer Gil Monteiro , recognized both for his musical career and for his courage in publicly admitting his sexuality in front of the church, is about to release his book “Será Que Ele É?” . With more than 2 million reproductions on audio platforms alone in 2023, Gil shares his anguish and battles to reveal his sexual orientation. The launch is scheduled for Saturday, February 17th, at 4pm, at Livraria da Vila, located on Alameda Lorena, in São Paulo. With a suggestive title, the book offers a glimpse into the life and feelings of someone who faced the difficult journey of coming out of the closet, with a preface written by actor Carmo Dalla Vecchia, a close friend of Gil. In a frank narrative, the artist shares his experience in the Catholic church, where he built a solid musical career, and discusses the invisibility faced by many LGBTQ+ people in religious environments. The book promises to open important dialogues about acceptance, identity and faith, amid a still challenging context for the LGBTQ+ community in conservative circles.
His journey, as shared in ‘Será Que Ele É’, is deeply personal. What motivated you to tell this story now?
After making my sexual orientation and my same-sex marriage public, I received many messages from people saying that their stories were very similar to mine. Through the messages I exchanged with these people and the times we met in person, there was always the question for more stories, about how I dealt with such a thing, about family, about religion, etc. I understood that talking, telling your story opens horizons in the minds of those without perspectives. Unintentionally, I ended up becoming a reference for many LGBT+ people who experience this dilemma of sexual diversity and religion.
What was the process of coming out publicly in such a traditional environment as the Christian scenario?
The years of therapy helped me come out of the different closets I put myself in, and the Christian scenario was the last closet I needed to leave. My family and close friends already knew about my marriage. But the audience that followed singer Gil Monteiro didn’t know. Keeping my private life, especially my marriage, in the closet was doing a lot of harm to me and our relationship. In a very planned way, I composed new songs about the topic and then made my sexual orientation and marriage public.
How has your experience in church and engineering, both fields commonly considered conservative, influenced your LGBTQIAP+ journey?
With fear and guilt. In engineering, I was terrified that someone would even suspect that I was gay. He even hooked up with some girls when he went out with colleagues at work, so as not to cause suspicion. In church, the psychic and emotional burden of guilt accompanied me for most of my life. This made my self-esteem horrible, because I always saw myself as someone unworthy, with something wrong inside me, eternally condemned to be who I was.
You mentioned the invisibility that many LGBT+ people face in religious environments. How do you hope your book will help change that perception?
Most LGBT+ people who are in relationships and continue to participate in churches end up presenting their partners as friends or simply hiding it. Invisibility is a very subtle type of violence, because it requires hiding what is natural to human beings: their relationships. This tends to further confirm the statements that relationships are wrong, that they are a serious sin, etc. I hope that when you read how I dealt with the topic, you realize the violence to which I subjected myself, and how it must be faced.
The release of a new album on gay themes after its revelation generated mixed reactions. Can you share how you deal with opinions, both positive and negative?
I don’t pay attention to haters . If any comment is unpleasant or rude I will delete it immediately. Simple and direct! The positive responses were surprising, and weighed much more in terms of quantity and impact they generated. For these, I always try to respond and interact as much as possible.
In the book, you address building dialogues and bridges between different perspectives. How do you see the role of your story in this process?
Sexual morality within Christianity is retrograde and outdated. The Catholic Church has already reviewed several of its concepts and positions in the light of science, but nothing regarding this topic. I don’t intend to generate change, that’s not me. But telling stories that go through my childhood, adolescence and adulthood and how my sexuality manifested itself, perhaps makes someone so attached to this old-fashioned morality stop to think, and see that beyond the letter, the law and the commandment, there is a being human. This transformed look will certainly also extend to every LGBT+ person who crosses that person’s life, generating dialogue and empathy.
The preface to your book is written by actor Carmo Dalla Vecchia, a friend of yours. How was his participation in this project and what do you think is the message he contributed?
Carmos and I first interacted on Instagram, when he recorded videos interpreting the stories that his followers sent to him. What a good surprise when one day he recorded my story. Carmo read my book and wrote a wonderful preface, and his greatest contribution is identification, because he mentions some facts from his life that were similar to stories I tell in the book.
His music has a range of styles, from pop rock to folk. How does this musical diversity reflect on the messages you want to convey to your audience?
We generally like some specific songs more because we identify with that story sung. Or because that message was something we wanted to say, but didn’t know how, so the song does it for us. Being more diverse in musical styles helps to reach more people, putting more stories and messages in ways that more people identify with and like.
What do you hope people take away from reading ‘Será Que Ele É’?
Empathy! I would like that after reading the book, a heterosexual person can talk to their LGBT+ friends and ask ‘have you been through something like this? Have you ever felt this way? how can I help you?’. And that LGBT+ people, especially Christians, after reading the book can say to themselves ‘if he could do it, I can do it!’.
In a broader context, how do you believe that the narratives of LGBTQIAP+ public figures can contribute to the construction of a more inclusive society?
Society always has its representatives on various topics. The athlete, the professional, beauty, health, family, etc. This generates identification, and in some way, a “standard”, an “ideal”. A healthy society should have diverse standards, where everyone feels represented and has someone to identify with, but unfortunately this is not the case. Hence the need for more public figures from the LGBT+ environment, so that there is more identification, more ideals, more of a feeling of capacity.
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