Gay, Latino and Macho: The struggle to be queer and out in a machismo culture Story

Gay, Latino and Macho: The struggle to be queer and out in a machismo culture
Story by Albert Serna Jr. and Adolfo Tigerino


Forced onto a school bus as the day came to an end on a Thursday in 2005, Josue was frightened and uncertain what the future held for him and his companions. Chaperons from the strict Latino Pentecostal church took away all methods of communication so they were virtually removed from society. Arriving at a ranch in the middle of nowhere under the cover of darkness, the teens were forced into separate rooms. Each day they were made to pray and denounce their sexuality. It was believed that the teens had demons controlling them. And, before he was allowed to be “cured,” the scared 17-year-old was held down against his will while several people screamed in attempts to speak with the alleged demons within.

They performed an exorcism to cure him of his homosexuality.


Twenty-six year-old student and drag performer Josue Velasquez. Photo by Adolfo Tigerino.

For Josue Velasquez, now 26, the idea of being gay and Latino did not sit well with his religious mother. She upheld a standard of masculinity called machismo that conflicted with the person Velasquez is. In the Latino culture there is a belief that men need to be hyper-masculine, domineering, controlling, and without the slightest hint of femininity. The culture of machismo is a conflict between the two identities; gay and Latino. The ideology requires such a high standard of masculinity that it is nearly impossible to reach. Critics of machismo such as journalist and feminist Germaine Greer have said, “The tragedy of machismo is that a man is never quite man enough.”

Being raised in a machismo culture impacted Velasquez’s his life, and his future. As a teen, he dreamed of becoming a fashion designer. His mother would crush those dreams one day when he showed her his prized drawings. He was a junior in high school and had spent most of the year preparing a portfolio. When he told her of his plans to attend fashion design school, she walked him out to the yard, threw his drawings in the barbecue, and made him light his portfolio on fire.

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A quirky, opinionated gay guy who offends both liberal and conservatives.

Posted on September 12, 2014, in Books, Entertainment and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Gay, Latino and Macho: The struggle to be queer and out in a machismo culture Story.

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