Mauricio, in his own words: “I remember being just 11 or 12 years old and one night going to bed crying; I had spent the afternoon at one of my closest Friends house hanging out with him and some others Friends from school, at one point (I don’t remember why) one of them said I was weird and different because I liked boys, my other friends agreed but none of us really understood what that meant, all I knew was I was being set apart from the rest of my friends and it hurt. That night my mom asked what was wrong and called my dad into my room, I told them what had happened and how I did not understand why being different was wrong, I was so sad…
Without hesitating my dad said that there was nothing wrong with me and that of course I was different from everyone else, that that’s something we all have in common, differences. Then my mom asked me if I knew exactly what those kids were talking about, I said “I think they were saying I’m gay” and she said no one had the right to tell me what I am, and that if I actually was it was only a part of me to be proud of, like my brown eyes and my large ears. I slept like a baby that night.
I never came out, I just never felt like I had to tell anyone that I’m into guys and not girls, my friends and family know I’m gay because they asked and I said yes; at first I think I avoided confrontation fearing rejection, but happily that didn’t last long, the thing is I grew up surrounded by loving people, I know I’m extremely lucky because of this, and thanks to that I’m a proud young man, kind and confident and in the search of true happiness.
I’m not really in touch with the gay community in Buenos Aires, I try to be aware of what’s happening all the time but I keep my distance, because I respect it so much, I’m still trying to understand myself and when I feel ready I know I want to take an active part in it; years ago I decided I wouldn’t let my sexuality define who I am and I know that people fighting for our rights have been responsible for this being possible and I’m so thankful, but I guess the truth was, until a few years ago, I didn’t want to belong to anything, I just wanted to be free. When the night the marriage equality bill passed I decided I wanted to be there to see it, so I stayed up all night waiting for the results in la Plaza del Congresso, happy, knowing that history was about to happen and that many people were closer to equality in the country I decided to call home. That night I discovered that in order to be happily different everybody has to have chances in life.
I think the only thing I would advise my younger self would be to trust more in people, it took me a while to do it and when it happened I started living life at it’s fullest, closer to happiness surrounded by people whom I love and who love me.”
Adrián, in his own words:“Being gay means to me to be who I am and not someone different, like a “Faked Me” or a “Multiple Me”. Before fully coming out of the closet, and depending upon the circumstances and social environments I was into.
Being gay also made me a better person and has brought to me a better quality of life, since I feel psychologically and physically healthier. I can say that once I came out as a gay man, respecting my own personal timing and those of the loved ones around me, I had the chance to integrate my life in such a positive way that I couldn’t imagine before.
During my childhood and teenage years at times I didn’t understand why I was different from others, I felt attracted to girls and also to…boys! Boys finally won the battle! I love women and they are close to me in my personal life but I choose boys to move forward 😉
Now I try to live my life in peace, since I feel this is the only life I have to live and I fully live it as a gay man.
As most of people, I could say that I faced many challenges in my life. I have succeeded in some of them and I couldn’t make it in some others.
To come out of the closet was among the most important challenges and successes in my life. To be self confident and to remain optimistic about what could come next in life were very important to me. To be honest to myself and to my beloved ones also contributed a lot to being a better person.
To reach a good and safe balance between my personal life, my social life, my work life and my public life has not been less important.
Although I was able to smoothly walk through my coming out process in my personal world, by realizing that I have been a second class citizen for most my life, as most of the LGBT folks around the world, I left my comfort zone and used the streets for something different than walking around. I joined the LGBT pride parades in the cities where I have lived and I live.
Also, I decided to make my contribution to the LGBT community by joining the most important LGBT organization in Argentina: the Argentinean LGBT Federation.
Finally, the fact of being conscious that I want to have my own family, my own LGBT family, makes facing the most challenging and pending “issue” in my life….Hope I can make it someday soon!
I came out in 1994, at the age of 26. Of course, I was aware about a non-strictly-straight sexual orientation before that. At least, I was aware I felt attracted to both men and women. As a kid, I had dreams in which a TV show hero protected me and I felt something more than protection in an affectionate and non-sexual way. But I had a girlfriend with whom I played girly games at the school. Apart from that, I loved and I love cars! As a teenager, things were different…wet dreams came together with “disturbing” images of myself kissing one of my male friends (the cutest one, of course! 😉 ).
Real life wasn’t easy. My confusion left my sexual life stuck until I took the bull by the horns. I met a beautiful girl at the University, felt in love with her and before moving into the sex part, I told her about my not-clearly-defined sexual orientation. That was the first stage of my coming out process. She was OK with it and we had a two-year relationship, with sex and all the stuff included…But the men-oriented-part of me was still there pushing to move further and come out!…So my girlfriend and I broke up, we stayed close and, in a possible way, together. We still love each other and we’re currently friends and family in a way. We stay in contact on a weekly basis since those early years.
Then, coming back to those funny years, one day I met a handsome thirteen-year-older-than-me and openly gay man, in a work-related situation. I had such a crush on him that I couldn’t calm my heart and soul (and my body!) until we had our first date. After that date, my coming out was fully complete! Tested and double checked: I was gay! He was the second man I loved in my life (the first was my dad!). We were into a sort of relationship for seven years.
Regarding my parents, since I had had a quite transparent life for them, I managed the situation to introduce my boyfriend to them when they began asking about “my new older friend” that they have never ever heard a word about before…Once they met him, I could make clear to them that I stayed at his place every weekend and some nights during the week. After my mom passed away, my family and I started to spend Christmas with my boyfriend’s friends and family.
In between, these two important relationships, a back and forth moment took place in my life and I started dating a new girl…Can you believe it?? What was I thinking?? And my ex-girl friend discovered the situation: the three of us hazardously met at the entrance of the building I live in with my parents…. My ex-girlfriend was visiting my family and my-then-new girlfriend was walking me home…They both began yelling at me and I thought to my self: how did I end up here?? I’m gay!! Stop this! But these thoughts stayed in my mind and I just managed the situation to calm everybody down.
This is my coming out story.
The gay community in Buenos Aires is very active and quite visible. Buenos Aires, the city where I was born and raised, was always cosmopolitan and open to different ways of life. Historically, it has been a city of cultural reference in arts and culture in South America. And this is a reflection of how people are.
Life here is quite similar to some other big cosmopolitan cities, at least from the western world, based on my experience. I had the chance to live New York, in Manhattan, in Madrid, in Barcelona and traveled quite a lot, particularly around Europe. Differences come out regarding cultural believes and practices, countries’ economical development and equal legislation for LGBT people.
Argentina has made a tremendous advance in terms of LGBT human rights after year 2010, with the fully-equal marriage law, and the 2012 gender identity law, among others. However, the equal legislation is just the starting point to enjoy a full citizenship status, here and everywhere. We still need to eliminate not few discriminatory barriers and practices in Buenos Aires and Argentina. We need both the equality in the law and the equality in the real life to be fully integrated as a society.
Before these changes in the law took place, being gay in Buenos Aires was a very good experience to me. This city has been traditionally open to diversity, although not free from discrimination or acts of violence. In my personal life I did not face any harmful situation because of being gay. I have freedom to express myself, to openly go to gay bars or discos, meet other guys, and to integrate my social circles when it was possible or convenient. However, it is important to say that being gay is different depending upon where in Argentina one lives or is raised. It is not the same Buenos Aires than the suburbs, or the countryside or the small cities along Argentina. Likewise, it is not the same being gay than being lesbian, bisexual or transgender. Opportunities, chances, discrimination, visibility, among others, are not the same.
I would say to my younger self: no matter how you are, who you feel attracted to or the way you express yourself, I love you just the way you are, the way you were and the way you will be. To be a better person and to love and accept the other persons you have to firstly love and accept yourself. And never lose your self-confidence: you are your best ally to allay your soul, your mind and your heart!”
Nico, in his own words:“(Being gay) Es parte de mi vida pero no mi vida, también fue un problema en un momento hasta que logre aceptarme y entender que era la única forma que tenia de ser feliz . Es parte de mi personalidad y me hace ser quien soy. No me imagino mi vida de otra manera y me gusta que sea así.
Un gran desafió fue contarlo cuando era mas chico y no estaba del todo contento, sentía que había perdido una batalla contra quienes en mi infancia me discriminaban, finalmente era lo que todos mis compañeros de colegio me decían para burlarse de mi. También animarme a contar historias sobre amores homosexuales en mis trabajos fue un desafió. En mi primera película (Últimas vacaciones en familia ) narro una historia de coming out y era muy fuerte para mi mostrarla en la ciudad donde nací y donde fui discriminado en la escuela por ejemplo, pero creo que hoy llevando estas historias por el interior del país pongo mi granito de arena para que otros chicos y chicas puedan ser mas felices allá. Ahora estoy muy reconciliado con la ciudad donde crecí y cada vez que voy me siento muy bien.
Siempre que recuerdo cuando comencé a contarlo pienso que es bueno ya haberlo hecho. Primero le conté a amigas y amigos a los 18 años, a mis padres recién a las 21 cuando sentí que era el momento. Al principio fue difícil pero luego lo aceptaron y me apoyan mucho, tengo mucha suerte de tenerlos. Es increíble como cambia tu relación cuando la gente ya lo sabe y te acepta, se logran armar relaciones mas verdaderas, amigos de verdad, familiares de verdad. No esta bueno tener que ocultarlo.
Vivir en Buenos Aires hace fácil las cosas, para mi que nací en el interior del país fue un gran cambio, nunca sentí discriminación acá. Lo bueno es que lentamente esta cambiando en todo el país la vida para nosotros y en parte es por el gran trabajo de distintos miembros de la comunidad. Vivir en Buenos Aires me ayudo a aceptarme.
Hay que ser fiel a los sentimientos de uno y en lo posible no alejarse de la familia que es muy importante en la vida.”
(Being gay) It’s part of my life but not my entire life, it was also a problem at a time until I came to accept and understand that it was the only way I had of being happy. It’s part of my personality and makes me who I am . I can not imagine my life any other way and I like it that way .
A great challenge was when I was younger and I was not entirely happy , I felt I had lost a battle against those who would discriminate in my childhood because I finally was what all my classmates told me when they mocked me. Telling stories about gay love in my work was a challenge too. In my first film (The Last Family Holidays ) I narrate a story of coming out and it was very hard for me to show it in the city where I was born and where I was discriminated against at school, but I think today bringing these stories to the hinterland I put in my two cents for other boys and girls so that they may be happier there. I have now reconciled myself to the city where I grew up and every time I go I feel great.
Whenever I remember I started to tell (people I was gay) and I think it’s good I did. First I told my friends at age 18 , my parents recently at 21 when I felt it was time . At first it was hard but then they accepted and supported me a lot, I am lucky to have them. It’s amazing how it changes your relationship and when people already know it and accept you, you are able to put together more real relationships, real friends, real family . It’s not good to have to hide it.
Living in Buenos Aires makes things easier for me since I was born into the country with a big change, I’ve never felt discrimination here. The good thing is things are slowly changing across the country life for us and partly by the great work of various members of the community. I live in Buenos Aires which has helped me to accept myself.
(Advice I’d give my younger self) You have to be true to one’s feelings and possibly not get away from the family which is very important in life.”
Gustavo, in his own words:“Significa la forma de pararme en el mundo.
(Being gay) Es mi identidad y mi orientación sexual, pero es también mi forma de hacer activismo político. Por que mi visibilidad es política y eso va más allá de mi deseo. Amo y deseo de la misma forma que cualquier otra persona, sin embargo creo que en un mundo donde la homolesbotransfobia impera en muchos países, mi orientación sexual, mi SER GAY, es un campo de lucha.
Soy una persona con algunos privilegios de clase, pero también con ciertos privilegios que tiene que ver con mi profesión. Comunicar también es un privilegio. Sin embargo tengo retos en mi vida, cosas que no manejo voluntariamente que tienen que ver con mi salud y eso es lo que centra mis mayores preocupaciones. Por eso, a veces los privilegios que ostenta que devienen en éxitos no son sólo lo importante. Las dificultades del vivir día a día también hacen que mida muy bien mis acciones.
Indudablemente ((the LGBTI community in Buenos Aires)) es una comunidad en efervescencia sobre todo en los últimos años.
La construcción de esta comunidad se remonta a casi 50 años donde el Grupo Nuestro Mundo comenzaba una especie de organización que luego continuó el Frente de Liberación Homosexual. Después la dictadura del 76-83 borró todo tipo de resistencia hasta 1984 en que se funda la CHA. Después del 2001 la comunidad LGBTI argentina creció y también se diversificó en ideas, ideales, formas de construcción y métodos de activismo. Es muy importante el nacimiento de un activismo nuevo, con la fuerza puesta en el futuro. Pero también fue importante quienes plantaron los cimientos. Hay que saber combinar ambas praxis para seguir pensando el futuro, que sin dudas, estará en manos de las nuevas generaciones.
Salí naturalmente. Seguí mi instinto y casi sin contención lo hice. Siempre estuvo ligado a la lucha, al activismo, y eso lo hizo menos dificil. La gran duda eran mis padres, pero fue tirarles la pelota y que ellos lo digirieran. Hablé con ellos muy joven y fue sacarme una inmensa mochila de encima.
El clóset nunca fue un problema para mi.
(With regards to advice to young people) Qué le recomendarías a la juventud? No me gusta dar recomendaciones. Pero si tuviera que compartir un pensamiento sería: sean libres, felices, aprendan de los errores del pasado y nutranse de los logros que conquistamos en otros momentos donde eran mucho más duros.”
“(Being gay) Means how to stand in the world.
Is my identity and sexual orientation, but it is also my way of doing political activism. Because my visibility is political and that goes beyond my desire. I love and desire in the same way as anyone else, but I believe that in a world where homolesbotransfobia prevails in many countries, my sexual orientation, my BEING GAY is a battlefield.
I am a person with some class privilege, but also with certain privileges that have to do with my profession. Communicating well is a privilege. However I have challenges in my life, things that do not have voluntarily and that have to do with my health and that’s what I focused my biggest concerns.
So sometimes I have privileges and successes are important. The difficulties of living day to day also make great measures on my actions.
Undoubtedly (the LGBTI community in Buenos Aires) is a community in turmoil especially in recent years. Building this community dates back almost 50 years where the Our World Group began a kind of organization which then continued the Gay Liberation Front. Afterwards the dictatorship of 76-83 obliterated all resistance until 1984 that the CHA is based. After 2001 the Argentina LGBTI community grew and diversified into ideas, ideals, forms of construction and methods of activism.
It is very important to the birth of a new activism, with the force on the future.
But also important was those who planted the foundations. One must know how to combine both praxis to keep thinking about the future, which will undoubtedly be in the hands of the younger generation.
I came out naturally. I followed my instinct. It was always linked to the struggle, activism, and that made it less difficult. The big question were my parents, but that was throwing the ball and they digirieran. I talked to them was very young and take my huge backpack off. The closet was never a problem for me.
(With regards to advice to young people) I do not like to give recommendations. But if I had to share a thought it would be, to be free, happy, learn from past mistakes and Nurture of the achievements that we won at other times when it was much harder.”
Agustin, in his own words:“Ser gay significa SER. No hay demasiada vuelta que darle. Uno nace con un corazón. Y ese corazón tiene vida propia y habla por sí sólo. Actúa y se enamora de otro corazón, independientemente del sexo. Ser gay es SER.
Mi primer reto fue aceptarme y mi primer éxito es haberlo logrado. Pero el mayor reto en mi vida fue habérselo contado a mis amigos y a mi familia; y mi mayor éxito es saber que todos me apoyan, me quieren y respetan.
(With regards to the gay community in Buenos Aires) No estoy muy enterado de lo que hacen o comunican. Sé que existe, nada más.
(With regards to coming out) Confirmé lo que hacía años sospechaba y me predispuse a ser feliz con lo que soy. Lo afrenté (esa es quizás la clave), lo comuniqué, me acepté, me aceptaron y soy feliz.
(Advice I’d give my younger self) Que sean fieles a lo que de verdad sienten. Que entendamos (todos) que hay cuestiones en la vida que sí se pueden controlar y que la felicidad, la tranquilidad espiritual y la alegría dependen de cómo actuemos nosotros con lo que nos pasa y lo que somos.”
“Being gay means being. Not much way around it . One is born with a heart. And that heart has its own life and speaks for itself . Acts and falls for another heart , regardless of gender . Being gay is being.
My first challenge was to take myself and have my first successes achieved. But the biggest challenge in my life was to tell my friends and family; and my greatest success is knowing all the support I had, I have love and respect .
(With regards to the gay community in Buenos Aires) I’m not aware of what they do or communicate . I know there is nothing else.
(With regards to coming out) I confirmed what I suspected for years and I decided to be happy with who I am . I affronted ( this is perhaps the key), I communicated, and accepted myself, accepted myself and I am happy.
(Advice I’d give to my younger self) Be true to what they really feel . Understand (all) that there are issues in life that itself can be controlled and happiness, peace of mind and happiness, depends on how we act with what happens to us and what we are.”
Renatto, in his own words:“A medida que pasan los años me voy dando cuenta que el significado de ser gay es muy importante, significa, libertad, alegría, significa liberarse de prejuicios, plenitud en todos los aspectos, si existe algo que agradezco a Dios, es que soy homosexual.
Soy el hombre mas feliz del mundo siendo gay, aunque como todo en la vida siempre tiene su pro y su contras, jamás cambiaria el hecho de que soy gay.
Ser Gay significa, libertad, plenitud y alegría.
El primer desafío importante que tuve fue hablar con mi padre y contarle sobre mi verdadera sexualidad, fue increíble sentir la aceptación de mi padre, eso, también fue un éxito
El segundo desafío es convertirme en un escritor y pintor reconocido en Buenos Aires, hoy por hoy sigo trabajando en este desafío, no es fácil abrirse camino en un país tan artístico y cultural como Argentina.
Argentina hoy en día es un país adelantado en cuestiones de respeto y tolerancia, nos hemos vuelto un país abierto a todas las formas de vida y sociedades, conviviendo juntas, pero no siempre fue así, yo soy uno de los miles de homosexuales en la Argentina que presenciamos la historia, cuando los legisladores aprobaron la ley de matrimonio para personas del mismo sexo, se creo el paradigma mas hermoso de todos los tiempos, ese fue el mas grande triunfo de mi vida, aunque fue el de todos; todos y cada uno lo vivimos de forma personal.
La gran diversidad de la comunidad LGBT en Argentina es asombrosa, jamás se podrá catalogar en un solo colectivo a las miles de forma de pensar de actuar y de vivir, pero a pesar de esa gran diversidad siempre tuvimos un mismo objetivo, alcanzar la tolerancia y el respeto social, en cada provincia de la Argentina las formas de vida de los homosexuales es muy diferentes, algunas mas vertiginosas que otras. Y aun que la capital, Buenos Aires, es el centro de todo, el país tiene una variedad de formas de vida que enriquecen la cultura de este lugar, mi nación, Argentina.
En este aspecto, debo decir que la federación argentina LGBT es un grupo de personas que abogan por los derechos de la comunidad homosexual y que hasta el presente han logrado cumplir metas muy importantes.
En Argentina la comunidad LGBT es cien por ciento activa, en muchos aspectos.
(With regards to coming out) Para poder decirlo públicamente, me costo veinte años de mi vida.
A mis veinte años yo sabia que era homosexual, quería llevar una vida gay, quería ser como Juan Castro un querido periodista argentino que ya no esta entre nosotros; pero para lograr ser un gay en toda su plenitud, yo sabia muy bien que el primero a quien debía decir la verdad era a mi querido padre.
Mi papá era uno de esos machos argentinos que enloquecía a las mujeres con su sola presencia, para mi no era fácil contarle algo así, sobre todo porque hace diez años atrás la argentina era un país muy diferente al que es ahora; fue entonces que pensé “si realmente soy un hombre honorable, debo hablar con mi padre y decirle la verdad.
Fue algo así:
Yo: -papá, soy gay, me gustan los hombres-
Padre: -ya lo sabia, desde que eras chico, y te quiero igual, eso no cambia nada-
Ese momento fue liberador, sentí como todo el universo se abría ante mis ojos, mi papá me dio un fuerte abrazo y lloramos juntos, después de eso, jamás volvería a sentir miedo de nada más.
Yo no soy quien para recomendar nada a nadie, pero si alguien quiere escuchar o leer un humilde concejo yo diría:
1 Siempre digamos la verdad
2 Jamás nos avergoncemos de lo que somos.
3 olvidémonos del miedo y seamos felices, trabajando por un mundo más tolerable.”
“As the years pass, I am realizing that the meaning of being gay is very important, meaning, freedom, joy, meaning freedom from prejudice, fullness in all aspects, if there is anything that I thank God for, it is that I’m gay.
I am the happiest man in the world to be gay, but like everything in life there has been its pros and cons, and I never would change the fact that I’m gay.
Being Gay means, freedom, fulfillment and joy.
The first major challenge I had was talking to my father and telling him about my true sexuality, it was amazing to feel the acceptance of my father, it was also a success.
The second challenge is trying to become a renowned writer and painter in Buenos Aires, today I am still working on this challenge, it is not easy to break into an artistic and cultural country like Argentina.
Argentina today is advanced on issues of respect and tolerance in the country, we have become open to all forms of life and country societies, living together, but it was not always this way. I am one of the thousands of homosexuals in Argentina who witnessed history when lawmakers passed the law of marriage for same-sex couples, the most beautiful of all paradigms in time was created, that was the biggest win of my life, but as with everyone, every person lived it personally.
The great diversity of the LGBT community in Argentina is amazing, and can never be categorized into one of the thousands of collective thinking of those acting and living it, but despite this great diversity there is always the same goal, to achieve tolerance and social respect, in every province of Argentina lifestyles of homosexuals are very different, some more dizzying than others. And even in the capital, Buenos Aires, which is the center of everything, the country has a variety of life forms that enrich the culture of this place, my country, Argentina.
In this regard, I must say that Argentina LGBT federation is a group of people who advocate for the rights of the gay community and so far has managed to meet important goals.
In Argentina the LGBT community is one hundred percent active in many aspects.
(With regards to coming out) to say it publicly, cost me twenty years of my life. In my twenties I knew I was gay, I wanted to live as a gay life, wanted to be like Juan Castro the beloved Argentine journalist who is no longer among us; but in order to become a gay in all its fullness, I knew very well that the first person to tell the truth needed to be my dear father.
My dad was that typical Argentinian man who drove women crazy just by his presence, for me it was not easy to tell him something, especially because ten years ago Argentina was a very different country than it is now; It was then that I thought “if I’m really an honorable man, I must speak to my father and tell him the truth.
It was something like this:
Me: Dad, I’m gay, I like men.
Father: – I already know that, since you were a kid, I love you and this is not going to change.
That moment was liberating, I felt like the whole universe opened up before my eyes, my dad gave me a big hug and we cried together, after that, I would never be afraid of anything.
I am not one to recommend anything to anyone, but if someone wants to hear or read a humble council I would (tell my younger self):
1. Always tell the truth
2. Never feel ashamed of who we are.
3. forget about the fear and be happy working for a more tolerable world.”