I cannot imagine anyone interested in who I am, but here goes. I was born in Johnstown Pennsylvania. For those unfamiliar with that area, it is in western Pennsylvania (near Pittsburgh) and was a coal-mining and steel-making town. (It is also the site of the catastrophic Johnstown Flood of 1889, one of the greatest natural disaster the United States has ever had). Believe it or not, I was once a laborer in the steel mills. I found out what HARD work is really like. Johnstown was an earthy city with 'family-values' galore. Only those family values did not include me. I NEVER fit in.
I was a skinny kid, nearly blind, bullied, effeminate, uncoordinated, clumsy, withdrawn, depressed, and loved males, even if I could not articulate that. (I was not able to articulate that until my 30's). I was overwhelmed with guilt as the Catholic in me controlled my life and to some degree still does. I was a sad, lonely kid who never was the 'apple of anyone's eye'. I was just there and the only way to break out was to leave. So I went to school. Bachelors' Degree from the University of Pittsburgh. Masters Degree from Indiana State University. Another Masters Degree from Duquesne University and eventually another Bachelors' Degree from California State University - Long Beach.
I met someone in my 30's who was my ticket out of this lonely mess and we moved to the great state of California. California saved my life, my sanity, and gave me hope and permitted me to explore my sexuality. We lasted 15 years together not all of which were pleasant. But I still had a hard time recognizing myself as gay. I still felt shame, residual guilt, and a sense of unworthiness. Slowly, like a gently rolling freight train, I dealt with my issues, one by one and eventually found the love of my life. He and I have been together for 20 years now and married for 8 of those years. He is my joy, my comfort, and my rock and, in my declining and undoubtedly limited time left, felt content.
Then, the pandemic hit and out of sheer boredom, I wanted to do something 'gay' for a change. And by happenstance, I saw a You Tube video that said the 10 best BL series of 2020. I had no idea what BL was and, if you read in the Home section I became hooked. I felt alive again and perhaps for the first time in a long time began to relate to others in a gay way on an emotional and psychological level. I understood these characters as they brought back so many memories of exactly what I was feeling when I was younger but never ever had the opportunity to define. In a strange and ironic way they made me feel not so alone anymore in that what I thought about guys when I was younger was not (and is not) that uncommon. I envied their ability to act on these feelings, both in terms of storylines and behavior.
You must understand that in my younger days, I had no one to ever talk to about what I was feeling let alone act on anything. These series help me feel good again and help me see myself young again, and help me to re-live myself, my younger self, with a smile on my face. (Yes, I do admit that many of these guys I lust after. But I hope to do that until the day I die and hopefully even on that day. That is what makes us human. Also, if you are an actor but do not want people to lust after you, then do not do these series. It indeed would put a smile on my face if I felt lusted by others. What an honor and consider it one). I try to write these reviews from a perspective of what its impact on me was like. I envy you today that you have such a freedom of expression. Never take it for granted and never let anyone take it away from you. These reviews are my small way to try and wake-up (at least in the USA) that love takes many forms, many shapes, and is beautiful in its creation and execution. I refuse to let anyone ever cheapen love again. Enjoy!
~ Pete Bongiovanni ~
I was featured in a Singaporean LGBTQ site called Dear Straight People.
You can read the article I wrote by clicking the button below.
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