Posts tagged Gay
I’ve realized something: I no longer depend on my parents for advice. Mostly, I feel that their advice is laden with archaisms and the prejudice of a previous era. Like many queers, I feel my parents have not addressed issues affecting my life to my satisfaction. And because of this, the paths of communication have, essentially, been closed, open only to the most necessary exchanges. This, ultimately, only functions to further my own sense of alienation from my home and from my parents, in particular.
Now, as a bitter queer Latino, I normally wouldn’t care. Like many other things I am particularly bitter about, I would dismiss the situation as out of my control and push it out of my mind (only to dwell on it at night, of course, thanks to my inherited Mexican Catholic guilt). However, with the help of a very good friend, I have realized that it is very much within my control, and apparently, I am much more to blame than I would care to admit, mostly due to my own obliviousness to my manipulative ways.
Allow me to explain. As many of you familiar with my writing may know, I have serious Mami issues. There is always a silent stalemate at work beneath our interactions. On the surface, it all seems fine, but debajo – ¡uy! – there is a ciénaga of things at work, where every word that is exchanged is charged with underlying meaning meant to “change” the other into what we envision is correct (for me: the Cher to my Chaz; for my mom: the Jesús to her María, without the dying single part of course).
Now, you ask, how is this your fault, Karari? I couldn’t see it, either. But apparently, I am incredibly transparent. My emotions linger somewhere where I don’t see them but where everyone else can, almost like a one-way mirror. Now, I can hear a few of you snickering out there, but I really thought I had total control of my emotional cues. It comes to a great shock to me, that, sadly, I do not. So, whenever I would feel my mom was a bad mom, she would feel it, too. Eventually, with repeated exposure to the “you’re a terrible mother” vibe, my mom came to believe it, and thus began to act on the expectation I had of her. After all, what’s the point in trying if you’re already terrible?
And so my dear reader, this is where we find ourselves. Our relationship has slowly degenerated to a laundry list of regrets, resentments, y recuerdos of a happy past. And, honestly, this is not what I want, even if the material that stems from this toxic relationship makes for great literary drama. I want to have a healthy relationship with my mom. I want to be able to talk to her about lots of different things without being afraid of our conversation erupting into another Mexican-American conflict. I want what it seems everyone, but me, has.
I have always been jealous of the relationships my exes have had with their moms. Y’s mom was all up in his business, and from the looks of it, he liked it, because it showed that she cared enough to know the all the details (yes, including our sex life). E’s mom, on the other hand, was much less nosy. However, she and E still had a great communication that allowed for both to express their feelings. It goes without saying, that when I was dating their sons, I was also accepted. And this bothered me to no end. I always wondered: why can’t I have this with my mom? There are times (and I’m not proud of this) that I resented my exes for the relationships they had with their moms, even going as far as secretly believing that if anyone deserved to have the healthy, after-school special relationship with their mom, it was obviously me.
Thanks to my conversations with my aforementioned friend, I have recently begun to realize that they worked for that relationship; It didn’t just happen. Yes, it helped that E’s mom was college educated, or that Y’s mom wasn’t particularly religious. However, what helped more was that both E and Y turned to their moms for every day advice, whether if it was how to make oven-baked enchiladas or what the perfect birthday present for a pretentious Mexican, like myself, would be.
Even now, this boggles my US American-assimilated-Mexican, independent mind. If I need a ride to the airport or to the store, I rather drive myself or find an alternative way of getting there. If I am lost, I Google directions or call a friend. I, in general, avoid turning to my parents for petty things. In my head, I feel that they have enough things to worry about. They don’t need to be bothered with random occurrences that can easily be remedied on my own. So, instead of calling my mom, and asking her how to make pozole, I simply looked up a (much healthier) recipe on Epicurious and solved the problem myself, not realizing that in doing so, I was effectively letting my mom know that I didn’t need her knowledge, and by extension, I didn’t need her.
This is not conductive to the relationship I wish to develop with my mom. She wants to feel needed, just like we all do. There was a time when I needed her for everything. But now, it seems that I need her less and less. Because of this, she often attempts to reestablish the old order of things, where she was the mother and I was the obedient child, choosing to ignore the fact that I am no longer that little boy who did her eyebrows and zipped up her dresses. When I am treated like a child, I instantly become belligerent and close up to all advice, even if it may be beneficial for me. However, if I open myself up to her (and I know this will be hard) for advice or for help, she will feel more secure in the ways our relationship is developing and, therefore, will not attempt to return to the parent-child power dynamic.
I must admit though, that even as I write this, I am getting exhausted. There is a lot of resentment that I need to get over. I am still hurt from many of the things that my mom said initially to me when I came out. Ignoring them hasn’t made them go away. But, recent events have shown me that I may not have all the time in the world with my mom; I may very well die tomorrow. Or worse, she may very well die tomorrow. Being a bitter queer Latino I can handle. But a bitter queer Latino with a laundry list of unresolved regrets, resentments, y recuerdos? That, I’m not quite too sure.
those arsenic lips
for my liberation
from the regular confines
of a naïve smile.
She awaits to plant
those krypton kisses
on hopeful dreams,
on silent screams,
and boil them
in their own acidic bile.
It thus becomes
worthless to try
futile to even cry
cuz fate will
knock me down again.
So I think I’ll stay
within the borders
of this foolish,
It’s been quite a week, full of events and opportunities to meet new friends, acquaintances, allies, and – why not?! – possible love interests. Last night, United Latino Pride closed its first ever Chicago Queer Latin@ Pride Week with the annual Queer Latin@ Picnic sponsored by Orgullo en Acción and then later in the evening with a night of partying and dancing at After Dark. A fitting way to end a stellar week of events that highlight our unique Queer Latin@ experiences.
But what made it such a fitting end? Well, as activists, we often are forced to give up our social life for all the work that needs to get done, much to the chagrin of our friends, families, and loved ones. Every member of the United Latino Pride coalition has contributed their own time, money, and energy to ensure this week was a success. But not everything should be all work and no fun. Food, music, and yes, alcohol have a certain je ne sais quoi that allows even the most uptight among us, to let loose and celebrate.
Yes, a lot needs to get done to ensure that one day we may all be treated with dignity in this society that currently looks down upon us because of our language, our culture, our gender, and our sexuality. But, it does us all a lot of good to get together with friends, family, and loved ones and celebrate the life and love that we currently have. It reminds us all exactly why it is we are fighting for justice. It’s not just for ourselves, it’s for those we love most as well.
I can’t help but be a bit sad as I write this. I regret not being able to go to as many events as I had anticipated. However, I am also excited for next year. Who knows what is in store for us all. Let’s hope it’s bigger and better! A very big thank you goes out to all the members of United Latino Pride and all the organizations and sponsors for the events. Without all your tireless effort, we wouldn’t have had any of this. You are our real orgullo! ¡Hasta el próximo año!
I like to think I’m pretty well-connected. I have, after all, been working (legally) in non-profits since I was 16. I have spoken on behalf on LGBTQ Immigrants at the May Day March in 2007. I’ve been on air at Homofrequencia with the amazing Tania Unzueta (@ilehlainat) twice. Not to mention that I’ve performed at various Latin@ events while studying at UIC. If anything, I’d say I’m very well-connected.
Then I went to last nights event. It was the kick-off party for the first ever Chicago Queer Latin@ Pride Week at 2nd Floor Gallery in Pilsen. I had decided to go because I wanted to support fellow San Antonio artist Ana Fernández (yes, I am aware I’m not actually San Antonian, but I’m San Antonian adjacent). Upon arriving, I realized I didn’t know anyone! How is this possible? Had my year and a half in absentia in San Antonio really affected my network that much? I was starting to feel pretty pathetic. However, as time went on (and that refreshing vodka pink lemonade started to sink in) I began to work the room a bit. Or maybe I should say, the room worked me; I am after all, a bit of a pasivo
During one of the conversations with Vivian González & Lisa Martínez (co-founders of the soon to be launched Lesbian online publication The L Stop), I realized something. This is exactly why we need a Queer Latin@ Pride week. If someone like me, who [once] thought of himself as well-connected, isn’t at all, then what about everyone else? I probably have seen many of the amazing people at this event before. The problem is where did I see them. I most likely saw them, and they me, at a club or at Market Days. We probably didn’t give each other a second thought. Just another brown face in the mix.
But we need to give each other a second thought. We are the fastest growing ethnic group in the nation. Our voice, while always important, is becoming louder. And the talent is already here. I was very impressed with the work everyone is doing. But few people, outside of our small network (as I added all my new “friends” this morning on Facebook, I was surprised to discover we already have 16 mutual friends; go figure!), know of all that is going on. Queer Latin@ Pride week will allow us space where we can meet new friends and talk to many of the amazing leaders in our community. We are more than just potential make-out partners at Circuit or small talk recipients at Spin on Dollar Drink nights. We are potential business partners and collaborators. Possible allies and advocates in the struggles we are all mutually fighting for. After last night, I’m more excited than ever for this week. ¡Qué viva el Orgullo! Bring on the pink lemonade!