Luis, in his own words: “(Being gay) means that I am a man who likes men. It shouldn’t mean anything else, but unfortunately it also means that I have less rights than other people and that I am discriminated against.
(With regards to challenges) Just too many. I had a sad childhood, with almost no friends, just because I was considered to be “different” and needed to “adapt”. I needed too much time to finally come out of the closet. I also changed majors twice because I had no clue about what I really wanted to do with my life. And then there’s my health issues: I’m waiting for my second kidney transplant.
(With regards to the gay community in Santiago) I’d say it replicated the class patterns of the general population in the sense that it isn’t very likely that a high and a low-class gay guy will become friends. And I’d also say that to a certain extent it is still ghettoized, because gays don’t feel comfortable at their workplaces or families so they tend to isolate from the rest of society and make strong bonds with other gays.
I took a very long while to acknowledge that I was gay, mainly because at the time I didn’t have any role models. There weren’t any gays or lesbians in my social circles. Fortunately I had the opportunity to spend a semester in Berlin while in university, and that helped me a lot because it was the first time I met gay guys and was in stable relationships, which was very inspiring to me. Soon after coming back to Chile, after a last date with a girl which made realize there was no option whatsoever I could be straight, I started dating a guy that ended up being my boyfriend for a couple of years. I was so happy that I never told anyone to keep the secret. In a couple of days everybody knew, except my family. I didn’t dare tell my parents, so I asked a psychologist to do so. It proved better that way cause they already had the reassuring opinion of a “specialist” before talking to me. It was a harsh conversation but I was well prepared and happy, which they ended up noticing and finally accepting.
I hate it when people say they wouldn’t do anything different should they had the chance to. I’d do so many things different! I’d tell my younger self to stop trying to fit and start trying to discover who he really is. To travel more, meet different people, and stop listening to those who kept trying to make him a uniformed person.”