Adrian, in his own Spanglish words: “Well I can start by saying that I’m really proud of two things in my life: first is being gay y Segundo de ser latino. Yes, because being gay and being a latino gay man is not the same. I’m from Colombia, un hermoso país lleno de cultura, alegría, sabor y gente linda. On the other hand it is a religious, macho and homophobic country. Being gay there wasn’t easy for me. Siempre supe lo que era de hecho estaba feliz de serlo, that is why I always knew that being gay wasn’t synonymous with being sick, as many people there think. I had the fortune to grow up in a pequeña, trabajadora y unida familia. My mother taught me the respect for God, without bibles or restrictions, just respecting everybody and trying to be a great human being, taking care of the small things and nature. Sin embargo decir “Soy gay!” en un país donde el color rosado, el cabello largo es cosa de mujeres no fue facil. Coming out wasn’t easy, at least not for me, not when I was 17, not when I thought I wasn’t prepared for that (who is?), not when I hadn’t told anyone, though they could have figured it out probably. Yes, because I was never the kid who played soccer with his friends, nor the strongest, nor did I like cars. I was bullied in school just because I seemed different, indeed they were also different in my eyes: They couldn’t dance like me, they couldn’t paint or draw like me, they weren’t excellent students like me, they didn’t dream like me, y sin embargo siendo un niño no los odiaba, solo me parecian ignorantes nada más. I didn’t talk about this with anyone. A phone call from my first boyfriend that wasn’t answered by me was the beginning of this “gay life out”. I thought everything came down when all my family knew I’m gay thanks to one of my uncles answering the phone instead. In the next few days (including Christmas eve), my home seemed like a funeral home. I mean no one spoke to anyone, some of them cried, some of them looked at me with sadness and disappointment. My brother (2 years older) held my hand and told me “en unos dias todo estara bien.” And he was right. The topic of being gay wasn’t mentioned again. My mother and my brother were always supportive, also my best friend, Adriana. Cuando digo que soy afortunado de tener la familia que tengo es por que hubiese sido todo diferente si no tuviera esa madre y ese hermano que la vida me dio! I went to the capital Bogota to study. It was another story, experiences like living alone, having a wallet with money on a Saturday night and crazy friends, I mean gay friends, falling in love (well it was what I though at that moment) and discovering myself were simply amazing. Hoy en día soy un Fonoaudíologo, Especialista en Audiología, y Master en Patología de Habla y Lenguage, feliz de mi vida. Yes, being a Speech & Language Pathologist in the U.S., speaking English, dancing ballet and having a diamond ring on my finger (left hand) that means I’m going to get married soon are just some of the amazing things I now have in my life as a gay man.
In this point of my life and after all the things I have been through I can say being gay is simply great! I have an amazing fiancé; we have a beautiful present and a desired future. Extraño mi familia, I miss my family a lot. They live in Colombia and I visit them once per year. They are ok there, and I’m ok here because this is my life. I moved to New York three years ago. Im very happy here I have the life I wanted, the life I dreamed before. Last winter my fiancé and I visited them (just like a friends) they respect me a lot but I know they are not interested to know everything about my gay life. That is a beginning of acceptation, they don’t ask too much but it doesn’t mean they disapprove that; it is just the way they perceive life. Few days ago I told my brother (Who is military) that I’m engaged. Su respuesta literalmente fue “Adri, yo no soy nadie para juzgar eso y sabe que Adri pense nunca decirlo pero Dios me lo bendiga y si es su decision que sea la mejor y que sea muy feliz por que eso es lo importante oyo chino feo”. He just expressed and wished to me happiness and good wishes just like a real brother can talk to his brother that he loves. My mom is still working in that, I mean she prefers not to ask and I respect her position, every night I call her and she hasn’t change her beautiful and warm greeting to me, then that “Hola hijito hermoso” fill my body and my soul, make me feel that just don’t talk about my sexual orientation is an act of respect, acceptation from the bottom of her heart but with the carefulness that do not make me feel susceptible to the critics of the ignorant people.
I don’t have enemies, but homophobic people can think I’m their enemy by the mere fact of being gay, to them I just have thanks, thanks a lot guys because they make me give the best, in a world that is changing and that is more “open mind” and respectful today, but that still need more love not only toward LGBT community but also for the other person. Poco a poco voy cambiando la mente de las personas que creen que no se puede ser feliz y exitoso siendo gay. In this way I’m happy changing the way that some people think wrong about gay couples, we are the example that it is possible to match the words success, happiness and gay.
Then If my words didn’t answer the question… well in a short, being gay is indulge yourself with simple details such as gym membership, shopping (specially bags and shoes), beauty treatments, party, drinks, Halloween, study, work, great vacation, good food, amazing friends, and other things but especially love yourself, accept yourself as you are and be happy. That’s the key.
What getting married means for me?
That is simple; I feel that with my future hubby I have everything in life, what I have dreamed of, what I love, what I need.
What is the trick?
Mutual support, honesty, trust and understanding are important, but also are making an effort, responsibility and seriousness.
Yalman, in his own words: “When I came out in the early 1990s, it only meant one thing for me (and for many other gay men and lesbian women at the time I believe): the freedom of being who we are and to love whom we please. It didn’t mean having a family, a husband, kids and all the other things my straight friends started dreaming about when they got into their 20s or 30s. But over the last few decades, my thoughts, along with our community and the society-at-large, have evolved to include these dreams as part of my identity. So getting ready to wed the love of my life and have kids with him through a surrogate feels normal now — well almost. I still sometimes catch myself being amazed at how far we’ve come along since the Stonewall riots in 1969, and how much distance I’ve traveled in my journey.”