Give A F**K!
Maria Borjas talks mutual respect and her very candid message for the queer community.
BY MARIA NAVA BORJAS
June 20, 2018
I remember that when I was in kindergarten I liked girls.
I remember that when I was 7 years old I had my first my first encounter with a girl, that was the beginning of the realization of my sexuality. I had no fear or questions about being gay, everything just felt like it fell into place, it made sense.
One night when I was drunk, I decided to tell my mom about my sexual preference. Because I was drunk I felt invincible and macho. The next day I told my mom, “You know what, I like women.”.
My mother was shocked and said, "What is happening? We need to take you to a psychologist to see what we can do!”. When we started the therapy process, the doctor told me to wear skirts and feminine clothes. At that moment, I did it because of my mom, but in the end I told my mom, “You know what, forget about the counseling. Don’t spend your money, I like girls and that's it!”.
Now my mother accepts me and she knows who I am. She shows no shame and she does not blame me for my sexuality. In fact, now we can joke that she is the mother-in-law of my girlfriend.
I had no problem about this with my family. So far everyone has been nice with me. Also in my job I had have no problems, but I think is partly because I don't hide who I am. If you hide something about who you are, people will talk behind your back but if you are honest with people they will respect you more.
For the LGBT youth of today, I think there is more acceptance now. In the past, we used to hide ourselves and avoid being seen with our partners or gay friends. But, now the youth have gained more acceptance and they are more adventurous.
In the past, there weren’t a lot of us ‘out’, so we used to go to friends houses to be together.
There wasn't the freedom that there is today. You couldn't speak about your sexuality, but now it is accepted and you can even have kids and be parents.
For example, I have a 7 years old son. He is not my biological son but I raise him. It is accepted by society, and my kid, he tells people about me, “This woman is my aunt's girlfriend”. I think there is more acceptance now because in the past it was seen as a bad thing to raise a kid if you were a lesbian.
I think that the parents of todays youth are open to change in societies attitudes towards LGBT people, because they are open to accept their children - more than my parents generation. I feel like they are more open to hearing the problems and concerns of their children too kids.
Problems like coming to terms with and saying, "I'm gay” or "I'm lesbian”. For my generation it was a major problem to come out to your parents. come out with our parents, but now I can see things are changing.
Here in the municipality of Villa de Álvarez I believe that there is a lot of ‘machismo’. But sometimes I think that the most "macho" men are maybe gay. Men don't have acceptance for LGBT people here in Colima. Parents have fear about finding out that their son is gay - maybe men have that fear in themselves about being gay too, and that is why they are so machismo.
From my own experience I would say that out of the whole LGBT community, lesbians seem to experience the most tolerance. When men hear that I am gay, they say to me that they prefer to see two girls in kissing each other instead of two men. I say, “who cares?”, but in their opinion, they tell me that lesbians are more ‘normal’ than gay men. You can see this attitude reflected in instances of discrimination, you don’t often hear about lesbian women being discriminated because her sexual orientation in Villa de Álvarez or Colima, but it is common to hear accounts of gay men and trans women being discriminated against.
I think that one of the reasons we as LGBT are targeted by the rest of the community is because we don't care to stand up for ourselves and each other as LGBT people. I think a lot of people in the LGBT community are very disrespectful each other, and we can lose our rights because of that attitude.
If someone yells “gay!” or “fag!”, we don’t fight back, sometimes we don't give a fuck about standing up for ourselves or each other in public.
Maybe thats why the community doesn’t have respect for us, because we lack respect for each other. When one of us doesn't care the abuse that is happening to another person in the LGBT community, why should anyone else care. We have lost credibility. As a member of the LGBT community, we should be providing support and protection to all LGBT people.
This is why I believe in being an LGBT activist and I work with other activists in the community like Nelly. Sometimes we support other activists who aren’t from the LGBT community who need support for the homeless, foster kids or people seeking asylum. We try to support them, not just members of our own community but the community as a whole.
I want to tell the youth, just keep holding on - support each other and show mutual respect. The people before us worked hard for our rights and we need to keep moving ahead and fighting for the rights of our younger generations. We cannot give up now, and lose the progress we have gained so far with LGBT rights.”
A note from the Editor: This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.