Thank you Crummy Gummy A.K.A. Mauricio Murillo for capturing these Queer images! He is a Contemporary Photographer in Orlando, Florida. Contact him if you are a Latinx person that would like your photos taken. Click here to visit his Instagram page.
My romantic attraction to men began as a kid. I daydreamed about being a girl because men only liked women. I needed to become one to fall in love. No one told me about gay people.
Back then, gay people couldn’t marry. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell started in 1994. Elementary School teachers could say gay, but none of them did. I didn’t know about being gay until Middle School when kids teased me for not liking any girls.
I didn’t know how to talk about being Queer. Being Queer wasn’t a meme on social media because social media didn’t exist. People relied on their community for information about LGBTQ people. Resources were limited.
Luckily, my parents always accepted me as an amazing person. They inspired me to be creative instead of feeling alone. I wrote stories, played the flute, and eventually joined the High School rugby team. They never let me settle for less.
However, no one taught me about the romantic relationship between two men. No one forced me to wear heels or makeup. Twenty years passed and many awkward encounters with people. My naivety fed insecurities about being gay.
If there is one regret, I would have come out sooner. I would have loved to been braver and more self-confident. I could have maybe found love sooner. I should have known then that not everyone mattered. But that’s being a teenager.
I had my first romantic relationship a couple years ago. Our inquisitiveness sparked lovely conversations across the coffee table during the pandemic. We enjoyed each other’s company. The relationship ended but inspired wisdom about being myself.
I didn’t need to be anyone else. However, the “Don’t Say Gay” bill was signed into law in March 2022. The bill prohibited LGBTQ people from being themselves in elementary schools. Conversations about sexual orientation and gender identity were deemed as “inappropriate.”
Meanwhile, Queer people like myself understood the cost of silence. Our community suffered the HIV/AIDS epidemic because of ignorance. The virus was ignored until 1985, four years after the crisis began. By then we lost countless people.
Today I’m concerned about losing an entire generation of voices because of the current state of political affairs. I’m concerned that Americans are content with believing the worst about Queer people because being afraid is easier than staying informed. I didn’t know that happiness for LGBTQ people until adulthood. I didn’t know that being myself was enough until a couple years ago.
Life could be easier for Queer kids if they are able to tell their story. They could achieve happiness if they had someone to talk about their confusion. They would know that being Queer is okay if it was okay for other. The world could be a better place.
Thank you Crummy Gummy for nothing Latinx people in Orando, Florida. Our stories need to be told. Click here to visit his page. Be the main character of your own story.