Henry is from Colombia.
They say Colombia is quite ok with LGBTI people. Same-sex marriage was lately legalized there. So yeah. It should be okay to be gay there. But wait, doesn’t the Roman catholic church still have a strong hold on the shaping of Colombian values? And isn’t Colombia one of the countries where evangelist churches mercilessly try to reconquer the unfaithful spirits? I don’t know. Henry does though.
Henry was the punk kid. Dressed in black. Banging chains. Crazy hairdos.
Being gay did only add up to that queer look of his.
So when family gatherings brought cousins in suits, sisters in dresses, and uncles wearing ties, not only did Henry stand out, but he’d also show off.
Because he had to. Cause queer kids always have to. Glowing ensures survival when others force you into denial. Their own denial. Now this unveils the roots of the most beautiful stereotype. Gay people acting all unapologetic. Slaying. Being their true self against all odds.
Again, this is survival. Especially when your youth was spent apologizing. For who you are. For who you love.
Your very personality becomes a claim. Every single feature of your body and soul becomes a tool. A sharp tool.
Outfits, hair and nails. Loudest armory making up for a silent misery.
Henry isn’t here to be a cliché. But his narrative is a striking example of one need. The need for suppressed individuals to claim ownership on what is theirs. Turning the insult into an award.
* “ we’re here, we’re queer, we’re fabulous, don’t fuck with us ” chanting in the back *
Same way Black people seized the n-word from their oppressors. Fags, and dykes, and queers of all types. They want their word back.
Of course it all sounds like minorities’ basics. Showing that pride too often comes from shame. Let’s restart the blame game.
Don’t call gay people out for marching in the streets once a year. Saying it’s a provocation. Who did provoke them first? Answer the question.
But let’s get back to Henry. That same Henry who one day came out to his family. Telling them “I’m gay” instead of “I’m sorry”.
Mother said okay. Father said no.
Wait. Henry didn’t ask for permission. How come one may say no? It is not a question.
Huh. Got it. “No” stands for denial. The most genuine denial. Put it on Jesus. Put it on your mind’s rust.
Now father cuts short on the money. Money comes straight when you’re straight enough.
For crooked minds, being gay isn’t straight. Low-key suggesting being gay is a choice.
Then Henry had no choice but working his ass off. For his photography studies.
Now out of the closet, and out of straight resources. Henry sailed away. He really did sail away.
First he did it for love. To follow a lover. He moved to Argentina at the age of 20. Became the photographer he wanted to be.
Then he did it for the sea. And for the sake of discovery. He worked as a photographer on cruises. Shooting wealthy old couples on this world’s oceans. Smiling with the captain.
Henry fell in love. With the guy from New York City. And while traveling had become his way of living. His way of loving compelled him to settle down. On the ground. "The guy" proposed Henry. They married. They moved in together. Nearby New York City. In f*cking New Jersey.
Later and lately. Henry sedentary. Henry married freshly. Henry in New Jersey. Grew tired of it all. He broke up with the guy. They’re no longer in love but they live together. And quite obviously, they’re still married. Now Henry makes the best of the situation. Makes the best of being gay without great illusions.
And it’s funny, ain’t it?
When you expect gay people to be weak and patiently waiting for this world’s crumbs. Straight crumbs.
Well Henry outsmarts the system. Henry kills the game.
Mischievously, Henry hints at me: “In the United States, since the gays can marry, for immigration, same-sex couples have a priority”.
back to project