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.”
Pablo, in his own words:“The way I see it, being gay is just another part of my personality. I don´t follow a so-called “gay lifestyle” and I usually don´t like things gay people like. I´d like to think of me as a guy who likes guys.
Being gay in Argentina doesn´t mean hiding all the time. Gay marriage is legal here and being homosexual is not frowned upon, as it is in many other more “civilized” countries. It´s just OK to be gay. You won´t be rejected in a job interview for being openly gay, and cases of homophobia are quite uncommon. I don´t see any challenges or successes that I got from the sole act of being gay. I personally think that these challenges and successes are part of our everyday life, our social circle, our community and, most important, our attitude. We have to live with it. That´s all.
To be honest I haven´t come out yet. I know that my mother and my sister know something about my sexuality but we don´t talk about it. My father doesn´t know anything. I don’t know if he is blind or if he is just not accepting it. Anyways, I feel that I am stuck with this because I don´t want to hurt him.
(With regards to the gay community in Buenos Aires) I would say that it is very active. Buenos Aires is a big city, so there are parties almost every weekend. Being gay is accepted and normal.
(With regards to advice to my younger self)I would probably tell myself not to be afraid to come out. The sooner, the better.”
Mariano, in his own words:“Puedo decir que ser gay es ser quien soy, ya que para mi la sexualidad atraviesa toda la vida de los individuos. Ser gay también es ser político, ya que la visibilización de mi orientación sexual es la mejor herramienta para cambiar la sociedad en la que vivo para que ésta sea mas plural, progresista, justa e igualitaria.
Creo que uno de los desafíos mas grande que tuve en mi vida fue darme cuenta que no podía cambiar mi orientación sexual y que entablar una relación con una mujer no iba a ayudar a borrar mi deseo por los hombres. Otro desafío también fue aceptar que puedo llegar a formar una familia con una persona de mi mismo sexo y ser feliz.
Tenía 18 años y hacía unos meses me había mudado a Buenos Aires desde el sur de Argentina, Santa Cruz. Toda mi infancia y adolescencia se desarrollo en una ciudad pequeña con “alma” de pueblo, cuya sociedad conservadora hacia del “que dirán” un evento social.
Vivir solo, tener nuevas experiencias, conocer otra gente y ser anónimo me ayudaron a descubrir quien realmente era. Un día conocí a un chico que me demostró que el amor entre hombres era posible. El tiempo paso y construimos una relación, pero por el contrario me sumergió a un mundo de mentiras y ocultamiento para con mis amigos y mi familia, el conocido “closet” o “armario”. Mi relación se circunscribía a las 4 paredes de mi casa, fuera de ella yo era un hombre heterosexual.
El tiempo paso, la relación se afianzo y de a poco empece a introducir a mi pareja en mis charlas con mi madre, era un “amigo” que cada día mas tenía mas protagonismo. Todas las historias y las aventuras nos tenía como protagonistas a ambos y de a poco mis señales despertaron la curiosidad y la pregunta del lado de mi madre: ¿A quien extrañas tanto? ¿Tomás es tu novio?. El tiempo se detuvo y el silencio fue eterno. De mi lado solo había lagrimas y tal vez el peso de la responsabilidad de tener una familia y ser hijo único.
Puedo decir que con mi madre pasamos muchas etapas: miles de preguntas, preguntas retóricas de su parte, culpas y llegamos de a poco llegamos a la aceptación plena.
Para concluir les dejo una frase que me dijo mi madre: “Uno como padre siempre intenta aliviar el sufrimiento de los hijos y lo que mas me duele es que, al vos tener una orientación sexual distinta a la de la mayoría, hay muchas situaciones en la sociedad que yo no voy a poder evitar.
La comunidad LGBT en Buenos Aires es ejemplificadora para Latino América y para el resto del mundo. En los últimos 10 años y gracias a la organización y la militancia de muchos y muchas que le pusieron el cuerpo a la lucha se consiguieron dos leyes fundamentales para nuestro colectivo: la Ley de Matrimonio Igualitario y la Ley de Identidad de Género. A su vez esta comunidad es diversa en su diversidad: existen como en toda sociedad quienes luchan por conseguir y reivindicar derechos y quienes tan solo los disfrutan. Lo bueno es que cada vez mas gente se une al primer grupo.”
“I can say that being gay is being who I am, because for my sex life spans my individual life. Being gay is also being political, as the visibility of my sexual orientation is the best tool to change the society in which I live for it to be more plural, progressive, just and egalitarian.
I think one of the biggest challenges I had in my life was realizing that I could not change my sexual orientation and that establishing a relationship with a woman would not help erase my desire for men. Another challenge was also to accept that I get to start a family with a same sex couple and be happy.
I was 18 and a few months I had moved out to Buenos Aires from a southern Argentina province, Santa Cruz. My entire childhood and adolescence was development in a small city with village “soul”, whose conservative society made news out of “gossip”.
Living alone, having new experiences, meet new people and being anonymous helped me discover who I really was. One day I met a guy who showed me that love between men was possible. Time passed and we built a relationship, but instead I plunged into a world of lies and concealment for my friends and my family, the famous “closet”. My relationship was limited to the four walls of my house, outside I was a heterosexual man.
Time passed, the relationship was strengthened and slowly I started to introduce my partner in my talks with my mother, he was a “friend” who every day got more prominence. All stories and adventures starring had us both and slowly my signs aroused curiosity and questions from my mother’s side: Who do you miss so much? Is Thomas your boyfriend ?. Time stopped and silence was eternal. From my side there were only tears and perhaps the weight of the responsibility of building a family and being an only child.
I can say that my mother passed many stages: thousands of questions, rhetorical questions, she blamed herself and slowly got to full acceptance.
In conclude I would like to repeat a phrase my mother told me: “Parents always try to avoid the suffering of their children and what really hurts me is that as you have a sexual orientation different from straights, there are many situations that I will not be able to avoid from society.
The LGBT community in Buenos Aires is exemplifying for Latin America and the rest of the world. In the last 10 years and thanked to the organization and advocacy of many and many who place their body to fight two fundamental laws for our movement were achieved: Equal Marriage and the Gender Identity Law. In turn, this community is diverse in its diversity: as in every society there are two groups: one who struggle for rights and the other that just enjoy them. The good news is that more and more people are joining the first group.”