“Dime con quien andas, y te dire quien eres”, (Tell me the company you keep, and I’ll tell you what you are.) were the words that I grew up listening to; my mother was and is a huge believer of depending of the people that you associate with is who you grow up to be.
Growing up, I was always surrounded by boy cousins and simply boys, I don’t know if this lead me to my becoming gay ( which I doubt ) but, according to my familia, I was considered a ‘varonera’ (tomboy). Hey, kill me for loving sports I tell you! Anyway, I can’t really talk about the statistics before my time because I wasn’t there and I frankly like to talk about the issues pertaining to my time. For the most part in the 80’s, several people considered hanging out with gay-folks would turn them gay… (shocking, huh? – insert a dose of sarcasm here). If you’ve been following my blogs, you’ve already learned that I had a pretty confusing childhood just like YOU or any other queer kid on the block. Was I afraid of associating myself with queer kids in HS? Uh yes, because in HS I was known for being ‘boy crazy’, I mean…think about it – that would’ve killed my game – L O L . It was silly of myself to think I could be ‘turned’ a gay by another lezzie, but since my mom’s words were engraved in my brain , that’s all I thought about. Sadly, I tried to withheld those emotions and curiosities of wanting to be with girls, because I didn’t want my friends thinking I had turned gay because of ‘hanging’ out with a couple of the gay girls in school.
My experience so far as an adult has been 60/40 (and maybe I’m being extremely generous)…. Very open minded folks and still very confused ignorant people. There was a situation back when I was 21/22 years old and worked with, what you would considered “professional open-minded people”; Let me tell you a degree never gives you professionalism nor the ‘open-minded’ attitude you need to survive in this forever changing world. At the time, someone in the office mentioned that my act of ‘sharing’ food and drink, had disgusted someone in the office and said “really, she’s a lesbian…she eats p*****, I don’t know where she’s been”. I think after reading this, many of you lezzies would be upset, but I take it as a moment of reflection and see where the true color lies with the ‘allies’ but also how much we need to continue our education workshops. Mind you, I never wanted to turn anyone gay, then again it’s not my fault if women simply felt comfortable and came out with me…teehee.
Speaking of colors on the spectrum… does it make sense for siblings offsprings to be queer? Hmm, got you thinking huh?. Well, it shouldn’t be a sense of ‘making sense’, maybe its genetics or hey, people just feel comfortable being whatever color in the box they identify with. In the last year my niece of 13 years old recently returned from Mexico. I hadn’t seen her in 7 years and when she returned she had the swag of the queer-femme gods and the femininity to hide her gayness. Of course, me being the gay ‘tia’, I didn’t say much and ignored her boldness until she was ready to express. It wasn’t until she started questioning my dress code and relationships with friends that I was forced to come out. I don’t regret it because I believe it happened at a time that she needed to connect with someone and in returned she expressed her dual infatuation. Over the past months since her arrival, I’ve tried to be the perfect tia that any of you would try to be, specially if you have no kids and she’s your first niece, you want to give her everything.
As my niece has learned, I’m not the typical tia that stays home and nags at folks or asks for ‘Novela’ chisme (soap-pop gossip) I am your tough tia that will beat you down mentally and require you to bust your buns off at school, because I want a better future for you and ultimately to be more of an ultimate bad ass than me. Now, my brother has been a huge advocate of my niece spending a great deal of time with me because I enforce education and only want the best for my niece. Unfortunately, I had forgotten that my brother is the typical ignorant man who thinks that I will ‘damage his goods’ by association.
In a very heart to heart conversation with my niece after spending several hours together with the LGBTQ Youth of Long Beach, she expressed that my brother demanded her not to spend time with me because of my gayness. In an actual conversation with my brother to confirm the doubts he made my life easier:
Me: “ So I hear that ___ had a conversation with you about me”
Bro: “ Well, you know… I don’t have a problem with gay people, I just don’t want my daughter being gay”.
Me: “Wow bro, you are a complete ignorant…”
Bro: “are you serious?”
Me: “bro, today is not the day to discuss that.. I will let you be and we will enjoy today. I don’t want to get into it with you because you know”.
In a day where my mom’s classic liners don’t come up, and my father continues to see me as the ‘sane’ one of the family and respects me… my brother tends to be that drop of past tense to resurface like a white supremacist. Clearly, confusing my niece who’s still figuring out her sexuality it doesn’t help that he oppresses and keeps her from hanging out with me in making me look like the Joker on a Batman movie.
As I am sad about my brother’s stance towards my bonding time with my niece; I won’t hate him, I will hope that one day he comes to his senses and opens, NOT his mind but his HEART to who I am and who might potentially his daughter be.
Gayness isn’t transmitted or contagious, it isn’t a stomach flu or cold – there isn’t a morning after pill for it – (even though I’m sure my fellow queers would do it just for fun after the fact – L O L ). But, just like HIV/AIDS it isn’t transmitted by touching or hanging out, let alone using the same toilette together, you won’t become gay in a handshake – as so many of you would love to blame it on. Because, trust me if that were the case, I’m sure there would be hundreds of people that would’ve been gay by now.
Gay by Association? I think not. Gay by Popularity?… now that’s a different topic. LOL