Now I know it ain’t just me wondering about this, so anyone else out there who’s with me (*cough cough* Sam Sanchez *cough*), join me in making a Mexican American queer village! We’ll call it...Eve’s Real Patio. I don’t know. The Queer Gonada? I need help with this.
Seriously, though, this is how it goes: I love Austin because I get to be queer, but I miss Laredo because I get to be Spanglish.
Living in Laredo was great in hindsight. It was home. But it was a hostile home. I had to deal with hiding myself, molding myself, doubting myself, questioning myself, and thinking I was weird/fucked up/evil, etc. And a lot of it had to do with the fact that I knew I wasn’t straight. I love the familia but the homophobia and sexism that is all too common in familia homes just breaks my heart. Queer is not welcome in the familia house, which essentially means I’M not welcome in the familia home. It doesn’t just feel like it, it’s true because queer is me. Me is queer.
It was so bad that I couldn’t wait to get the hell out of that place. It got to the point where I condemned Laredo, thinking it was one of the world’s blackholes. I was DEFINITELY going to college and it was definitely not gonna be there.
Then I got to Austin. It was..strange at first but as soon as I found the queer home I started loving it. And I keep loving it. But as time goes by I miss the familia more and more, I miss the sound of spanglish, the spanglish jokes, the spanglish way of life. It is a way of life. I feel more estranged from my roots and from one of the biggest parts of myself. It’s just not the same in Austin.
Every day I keep realizing the mistake I made in demonizing my hometown. It was a mistake because I was demonizing who I was and where I came from. I feel like I had to separate myself from the familia in order to (excuse the phrase) “find” myself. I guess no one forced me to, but it really feels like it sometimes and I don’t know if I could’ve grown the way I have if I hadn’t compromised certain parts of myself.
But maybe now that I’ve grown and learned to accept myself I can go back. I can reclaim that part of me that raised me.
Why is it so hard? Why does it feel like you can’t be YOU? The YOU that includes all parts of yourself: right-handed, queer, mexican american, hat collector, white-skinned, vertically-challenged, nerd, artsy fartsy, female, genderqueer, spiritual, can’t-read-non-digital-time-fast-enough, off-key singer, slightly OCD...etc...the YOU that can integrate and co-exist with itself without having to sacrifice parts of itself?
I don’t think it has to be this way. The familia can learn, the same way that I learned. And queer communities can always be more inclusive. I don’t mean to sound like a preacher but why can’t we just be one!?
WHY CAN’T WE CO-EXIST WITHOUT VIOLENCE, WHY CAN’T WE LOVE THY NEIGHBOR? LET’S INFILTRATE! BROTHERS AND SISTERS LET’S INFILTRATE THOSE MISGUIDED SOULS AND PLANT THE SEED OF JUSTICE AND GAYNESS! CAN I GET AN AMEN!?
Just kidding. It’s a slow process. In the meantime, back to Gaylandia...