I Am Gabriel Fernandez

21 Aug

I am Gabriel Fernandez and he was me. Living in segregated Los Angeles with a community of latin folk you’d think I’d feel solidarity with them, and sometimes i fool myself into thinking there is, but news like Gabriel Fernandez’s murder is a reminder over what it is I left behind.

Several things are rotten to the core about being latino. Some call it machismo, and others call it a tragic product of colonialism. Whatever you name it, it’s there. I remember the specific way my distant aunt non-chalantly told a joke about “maricons” then laughed and laughed. I remember my mom’s every observation about gay people, all negative. I remember my tio prizing acting like a man above everything else. I remember my friends skirting away from everything womanly with fear in their eyes.

What happened to this poor boy is an extreme example, but it happened, and the people who perpetrated this grotesque violence are only one piece of a very complicated whole. It might not be fair to talk about this as an exclusively brown problem (it’s not), but maybe being fair and dealing with tragedy are incompatible.

If you are brown then you cannot trust the law, and if you are gay then you cannot trust your family. Where does that leave us?

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