Jonathan From Mons

As a teenager, I lived with my father, my mother-in-law and my sisters in Brussels. My parents were separated and for years, as for many children, this situation was difficult to accept; especially because my latent homosexuality made my relationship with my father more and more complicated, and also with others. As a very sensitive and shy boy, I had to face my difference and the look in the eyes of others at school. Nobody knew about it, but my friends had doubts, and sometimes I was cursed for “dirty poof” or “fag”.

I did not see much of my mother. She lived elsewhere; and when I saw her, I had to face another problem: her extreme alcohol dependence and the behavior that can follow. In short, the day of my 17 years, in the middle of the night and after a final confrontation with my father, I fled from home. A friend, gay too, whom I met two years ago, came to pick me up by car. I left without anything and without money, leaving behind my adolescence.
When I confessed my homosexuality, my father said “are there not enough girls on Earth? “. What to answer? I understood: tolerance was out of place. Moreover, at home, prejudices were commonplace. One day, I showed a film featuring transgender people to my father and my mother-in-law. She looked at me and she said, “Are you going to become a transvestite?”. In fact, they were conformist and although a priori it is not “bad”, it is reflected in reality by remarks and clichés difficult to swallow for a young man in search of himself. It leads to incomprehension.

Therefore, until the day of my escape, I hid, a little to myself and especially to others and I lied a lot. Fortunately, I had a great new passion: art. The passion of drawing and painting but also the passion of living. One thing is certain: I expected more from life. I drew and little by little, I found my way in this area. It was the only place where I felt confident and the area in which I was comfortable. I forgot the problems and pulled my strength from them to create. Besides that, I remained rather withdrawn and doubt inhabited me.
I started going to the LGBTQI community at the age of 16 because I felt the need to meet other gays. To get there, I took the tram in the other direction; instead of going to my music lessons, I went to the center of Brussels, with 5 euros in my pocket. I was scared at first, but I still felt better there than at home, even though integrating here proved to be a challenge. The community is diverse: finding one’s place was crossing a threshold too. Gays between them can sometimes be intolerant … However, going to the community made me want to send a more pleasant image to others, which was positive.

During my 5 years of study in art history, I met more open minded people and found a place of self expression.  The gay community had become a bit of an obsession for me. Success, beauty, aesthetics, sex, fashion, art obsessed me (even today – laughter). Today, I work in different environments: artistic, entrepreneurial and political.  Homosexuality is not a taboo but it is not a daily topic either. Depending on the environment we can be one or another, be more liberated or not … Yet, I fully assume my sexuality today, even highlighting it and continuing my research on abstract art and aesthetics. It has become a lifestyle in which I feel good.

What I remember from my experiences, especially the most difficult, is that it made me want to surpass myself as an individual. The fact of being gay helped me a lot in my development because I stepped out of the conformist schemes. The family conflicts, the insults, the rejections, the complex feelings that I have had strengthened me and made me want to go always further and further. I am sensitive by birth but I fought to live this sexuality, my art and my life as a whole, something that I acquired through experience.