Monday, February 18, 2013

Positively in Love

Every once in a while, I have to stop for a few minute to reflect on where my politics are at a moment of my being. Anyone who knows me can tell you I am fickled; I am fickled with men, work, my future aspirations and my waist line. It should also make sense that I change or "evolve," as our president says, whom I'm also fickled with, on my personal politics.

I already claim the position of a Progressive because of it's meaning of consistently moving forward to whatever may be in my more blossomed self. It is also a political stance that isn't used much on national news. The Obama admin is labeled, and often feels comfortable, in Liberalism. Yet, if being Liberal is ALSO being in support of globalization, drone attacks on innocent Afghan residents, record levels of deportations and separating undocumented families- I'd rather not join in the pin-on-the-shirt game. But beyond what I call it, living and breathing what I believe is most revealing.

I can go on and on about what an anti-racist (really, anti-white supremacist) I am, but it doesn't hold much value if I consistently attack my white allies, bottle up my internalized racism and classism for my fellow undocumented Latinos & have a narrowed experience on who I love, the way I love and how I make love.

Quickly, the latter, it's not stranger to my friends that I have a tendency to date black men. Racism within sex can be perpetuated by arranging sexual experiences that manifest the kink image of a violent, aggressive & dominating black man.

Like wise, calling yourself a queer feminist doesn't mean much if you aren't inclusive of transwomen & transmen in your spaces of leisure & work, if you're not actively supporting and defending all forms of reproductive rights & if you're not creating spaces that celebrate different gender and sexual expressions.

Facing HIV is where I'm at now. I'm still negative, but my relationship with the biology and the spirit of it flowing trough the men I love has been fulfilling, painful and enlightening. The man that had ignited it was my dear friend Brandon Lacy Campos, who has passed away recently. I am not sure if he was the first man I meet with the virus, but I do remember being a preteen when my homo hormones were raging. He was, literally, an Adonis for a queer boy with self-image issues. When I reencountered him in my adulthood, he was even hotter than the mental image I had occasionally masturbated to as a 14 year old. But, he was also a wise elder, a scholarly father, a rockstar performance artist, a Che Guevara of radical sexual politics- a bit exaggerated, but that was how much I admired him. On actuality, he was a fierce blogger, a troubled & beautiful romantic, a badass director of NY's Queers for Economic Justice, and soon to be, a full-time struggling writer/poet. Still hella romantic to me, and he was an open advocate for someone living with HIV. While I was no stranger to his radiance of self-confidence, his ability to be write and speak directly of how the virus would/wouldn't falter his biological functions and spiritual being was uncanny, intimidating and attractive.

Brandon was a romantic and a freak. I never really liked the word, freak, whenever I heard used in a sexual context; it always used as feverous, sexually potent and willing with a kinky connotation, but that those were my conversations and encounters with Brandon. Brandon was a model, to me anyways, of true, uncompromising monogamy in a relationship, however, I reconnected with him on his bachelor tenure. When we did reconnect, he made it every clear that I peaked his arousal, which could've melted my genitalia from stimulation. After sending me pictures of his golden cock resting below his 12 pack (all still over-fantasized), he had then asked to bare, meaning, he wanted to ejaculated his divine sperm up my virginous tight rectum. After reading that request, I immediately froze.

I had recently gone through an emotional crisis of my own where I was convinced I had contracted HIV from a friend though a top we shared, just to later realized I hadn't contracted anything after a stressful month of not knowing, not wanting to get tested & eventually dragging myself in because of the guilt of knowingly spreading a virus to my beau of the time.

After my test result came back negative, I rationally mapped my desire for cum up the butt. Similarly to my friend Brandon, I had craved the closeness of skin contact and what felt like the holiness of natural, bare anal sex. But I had come my conclusion that gravity & my body had always expelled that semen in an unromantic toilet finale, so, my attraction to unprotected sex was probably for momentary gratification, like all kinks. When Brandon asked me, the idea of putting myself at risk of contracting HIV was erotic and fearful. Brandon seemed to live a fulfilling life- sex, friends, opportunities and all- despite living with the virus, and the idea of sharing anything with him, even a virus, was simulating.

I avoided him on my last trip to NY because of the nervousness of consenting to unprotected sex. Yet, here I am today consenting to unprotected sex with my HIV positive boyfriend.

Biologically, my boo has undetectable viral load, meaning that with the assistance of medications, he has null count of transmutable HIV particles in his sperm. Medical experts will tell you that it is not a full safe measure against HIV. Low risk is still a risk. But I am, ultimately, consenting to this. I want this. I want the kink of fucking dangerously and the potency he gets from having me want it how he would want it, but would be too afraid to ask for. Freak.

I can never say I would recommend this to anyone. I don't. It wouldn't be right of me to say that a Progressive must do anything, but it fits for me. Sex isn't the foundation of our relationship, but it is a reality of our love life. I enjoy his company, his kisses, his laughter, humor, his manners, his closeness and he's hot! Sex is a plus. I can't say that the idea of dating him is apart of my kink, I don't think it is. Dating him humanizes him from just being my sex object. It gives him personality and it links me in a way that lasts long after I shower and shit lube out.

Friendship, inclusion and intimacy is where I'm at with people with HIV. It's rather easy to dehumanized people with the virus, HIV has always been used as an accusation by gay slut shamers. We forget that monogamous, black, immigrant & young women are today's most likely new cases for HIV contractions. While its not an identity like color that immediately surfaces on the skin, we are living in interconnected world where words, hate & ignorance run like fire. Progressive doesn't have to mean opening your panties to positive men, like I had, but it does demands an evolving inclusiveness with respect, dignity and a little love.

Thursday, August 16, 2012


Are you a dream,
Or my memory?

Deja Vu.
I've seen you 20 times

A reflection.
Your eclipsed figure still lures
My vision.

A flashback.
I am still gratified from the tease
Your dreadlocks.

Yet, I still feel a grasp.
Is that your hands?

My history,
I've meet you 21 times

Saturday, July 21, 2012

16 & Fustrated

Insomnia, restlessness and energy drinks have left me ravaging through my black box of childhood school report cards and too many award certificates, of "Best Helper," to count. I never realized my mother saved these small coins along with her boxes of her kids' childhood memories on printed pharmacy photographs. I've seen these 1st…2nd…3rd…5th…7th…12th…college freshman transcripts and memories before, but I always find something new- or rediscovered like a faded dream. I reorganize some things. I am glad my mother did save all this- junk- it might be my path to Obama's small, obsolete box of a neoamerican redefinition. Maybe. I find this printed letter I typed for my mother. I remember all that strong loyalty & resentment I had towards her. I giggle to myself- to see what passive hold has on me… all that pain and suicidal urges are almost forgotten. At the end, I'm gayer than I could've wanted…more desired that I thought possible… I don't care of what I think of it, let alone her. I now love her, more. In this letter, I wrote 10 sentiments- a real pandora box of emotion. She had asked me to make this list… odd for her to ask, maybe she picked up the therapeutic practice off someone else. I listed how I miss my sister, how I was so dedicated to my studies- I knew at that time, for better or worse, it was my only calculated escape. Retrospect say worst. What sticks out was when I listed at number seven, "I am frustrated about my legal status." Wow. At 16. I was already stressing about what would years later bring me down back to a prolonged depression- even reattempts of suicide. I hadn't realized my angst started at my best years. I look back. I felt jovial & surrounded by loved ones and friendship outside my home; considering I hardly returned home, I was mostly AllRight. Afterwards, every day on my own would make life more frustrating. I'm a plateau but I know there's more pain ahead. I laugh reading all those little love notes by my elementary teachers calling me a "good citizen." They might've been right, I'm still a good boy.

Seems crazy, but I now know I was not alone, there were others. Still are.

Friday, July 20, 2012

La Virgen y El Put'illo

Every day, I make a prayer to La Virgen de Guadalupe, the matriarchal figure for many Latinos. I am, admittedly, not very religious in the similar ways of my grandparents, whom also left a linage of adulatory and unclaimed, beautiful children. However, I am superstitious where I lack strict and vigorous urges to pray rosaries. Superstitious because I feel a greater, super force in my soul which I cannot explain. Whether these are Orisha, souls of my descendant, the transformative auras of my beloved ones or La Virgen- I am always uncertain of the exactness of my superstition. I am certain about one super power, the feminine divine. Not the linage of Mary Magdalene or the lady version of Jesus, exactly, but rather the celestial power of the vagina.

Motherhood could easily be mistaken of what I believe, after all, vaginas have been used in my Latino culture for the sole purposes of recreation, but rather the symbolism of the flesh. A christian god has been made man, by men, and so a refusal of a male hierarchy would be a feminine divine- an extraordinary resistance. Feminism is a good name but on superstitious plane. Perhaps like how early 1900s' Anarchy was a capitalist resistance rather than it's own dissected theory. It is my religion that we can transform our bodies, use our bodies and our souls to create resistance and contradictions. Like some, my identity started transforming with my mental and physical genitalia; but, if we could claim our bodies and souls, we can a living and spiritual resistance.

Back to the terrestrial, I use my body to liberate my queer soul. This goes beyond getting fucked in opposition to the chains of gender conformity I was born into. I use my body as an expression of who I feel I am, who I want to be. I am lucky to be raised male, I feel male, yet I become more secure and comfortable in who I am in the way I treat my body and set the boundaries of how others may use my body. My soul is a blend of femininity/masculinity and balancing that with my flesh is something I do in defiance of being uniquely male. I also use other souls and auras to confirm my being.

I am fortunate to be surrounded by other souls with mixed body expressions. Most transgeneras in my Latina community identify very differently from one another, but most admit, to me, they had an evolution of their initial boy identities. Like me, most were raised with the gender indoctrination that either forced a boy gender, or most of us accepted it as a game of theater and improvisation. Many of my trans-familia began their journeys with and end in mind. Much like how manhood is modeled, womanhood or a female identity was something that had been modeled through their families, religion and sex.

My family is a narrative of women abused, beaten, cheated to; yet, my family's women were also strong, outspoken and leaders in their communities. There were also those that settled in passive leadership roles- a typical mother of my clan- and those that struggled for their own self-reclamation. These were the uncommon divorcees, community organizers and my queers like my sister. They didn't often used call themselves feminists, but independents. I also seek that model of independence through how I claim my body, voice and how I use my male privilege.

Catholicism has the ability to make men believe they are masters of the world and its inhabitants, yet slaves to their god. Now, I've never really bought into this theology that would've made me turn around and claim anything from my sisters- a chancla would've stopped this, regardless. Fortunately, I had La Guadalupe as the counterculture. Where tales of kings, masters and misogynists seemed farfetched, La Guadalupe seemed real and plausible. I had her ingrained as a spiritual symbol of resistance (historically against Spanish colonialism), compassion and acceptance. Virgin Mary was different form La Guadalupe; Guadalupe was a spirit that became the face of the oppressed. It was a transition before the eyes of mezitos and indigenous. She wasn't an European queen cloaked in a pancho, rather a fully transitioned indigenous spirit that didn't wear gold, she was cloaked with nature and the sky. In a sense, she wisely chose how to reclaim her celestial and earthly privileged.

La Virgen also embodies purity- I embody desire. In a safe space of queer Latina sex workers, I remember coming to the conclusion that passive sex was linked to my gender, it didn't make me a man, but it made me feel like the man I wanted to be. At that particular space, my trans'migas also connected to that sentiment in their affirmation of gender and identity. Like how my amiga had put it, Soy una mujer libre hasta que cobro mucho-I am a free woman even if I charge a high rate- meaning to me that we can use sexual boundaries and reclamation to define us or in spite of.

I, too, am a putillo, a bottom bitch, and who I am is with that claim and regardless off of it. I am fortunate to have been inspired by strong self-affirming women, transgeneras and feminists that kick the can of oppression and claim their beings against governments and oppressors. It is extraordinary and beyond earthly- it is the feminine divine.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Gay Hispanic vs Queer Latino

When I started first grade, I remember one my barriers from full play pin games was being to communicate and understand the rules from my fellow classmates. Although I only knew scarce bits of Spanish, English quickly became my primary language and I became the master of the "'you're it" line. At the beginning, I was only identified as Mexican where most of my classmates, regardless of race, were Americans. By the time I reached the third grade, I was my own blend of American-of-the-streets and Mexican-at-home. I identified with my classmates and teachers much more than my own parents, whom regularly worked beyond the time the school buses returned us home. When I started taking standardized test, I began to identify by the bubble option that I was told to fill with my #2 pencil.

Standardized exams were being pushed by the US Department of Education, backed by the Clinton Administration, to use blanket exams to compare the education and progress of students. These "End of Course/Grade" test became a standard by states to see if students were unqualified to advance to next grade. The Bush Administration later used these same test to punish "under-preforming" teachers and schools. The basic information of these test also used race as a comparison between students. Of the options, there were African-American, Asian, Pacific Islander/Eskimo, White or Hispanic.

So, I became Hispanic after my teacher came by and made sure the seven year old students were bubbling correctly and not drawing ducks and horses on the paper exams. Although there was no "Other" option, my classroom had three other kids that looked similar to me, also with Spanish last names; together, we began our trip on the Hispanic train. We were all of Mexican nationality, but the diversity of Latin American became more ubiquitous at our Catholic Church, which the other four Hispanics attended, when he had visiting pastor from Costa Rica.

Later in the years, there was the evident racial clicks limited to whites, blacks and Hispanic that comprised of descendants of Mexico and Central-America. This continued till I attended a historically black high school and my identity was, simply, other. Similarly, I began to wondering how much "other" I was when I began to notice that I was more different than I was willing to let on.

After I was outted as gay by a flamboyant opera singer, I began to be part of a circle of gay boys. I later attended a safe space where I met other girls and I saw myself as part of something more than just gay.

The rest of these kids were also more than just gay or lesbian. There was diversity in shapes, bodies, colors and personalities. While many of them did not want to be called gay, they expressed that they were simply different. I later saw this identity with another name, queer. Queer became a form of expressing complete inclusion yet difference from heterosexuality. All non-gender abiding straight folks were foreign in my own identity. I identified and saw my linage connected to transgenders, lesbian, butch gay men and genderfucks. Queer sometimes has a progressive connotation, it also seemed different from lgbt and gay labels. Hispanic also didn't seem to fit in my name tag any longer.

Hispanic originally had meant, for me, a connection to brown faces with Spanish-speaking parents. Bring Hispanic no longer matched when languages was blurred and faces came from too many colors. The "Spanish" label was also unfavorable in my family because of our inherited despised. I easily preferred Mexican/Mexican-American/Chicano as a specific culture and historical base of my family, but when I lived in Florida, it only separated me from others. Puerto Ricanos and my Caribbean classmates were astonished that I was of Mexican nationality, many had never met a Mexican so pale skinned. I knew much of this cultural shock was due to an exposure of Latin American diversity yet I also connected to them better than some of my past Mexican community members. Latin America, which I saw as anything south of Canada and the US, was the vast land that connected us. Latin America had historically hosted European migrants, slave trade and indigenous.

All that historical baggage watered the seed of a diverse colors and accents. In the same way queer had separated me from heterosexuality, Latino also was what separated me from a different history of transnational migration. These identities are more water than soil, they change and adapt to where I am, whom I speak with and in what language I speak. Sometimes, it is intended to show my different shade and sometimes it is intended to show my place in a spectrum of colors.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Black, Brown, Undocumented & UnID'ed

Last Thursday night, I was invited with a couple of guys out to bar in Raleigh. Although I've been out to several Raleigh based gay bars and nightclubs, I always go with anticipation to being hassled for my lack of legal access to a North Carolina's state ID and diver's licence. I live half an hour from our beloved capital and my homey Durham has the small town appeal and diversity of a larger city. Same homey vibe where I also worry less about a waitress or doorman asking for a license. Luckily for me, I have a handy Mexican passport as a back up to my Florida license with a scarlet IMMIGRANT written in bold red letters. Luckier if my hairy cleavage lets me in the bar without the leather banded doorman even asking for an ID, which was the case. But that same night, the crowd moved to a black queer dance floor down the street where another doorqueen was not so impressed with the chest fuzz. I showed my passport and then had a long pause where s/he read the finely written English print, gave an awkward glance to the paper based document and then have me a quick jab of how my hair waves & bold eyeglass frames were absent from the document. After those long and painstakingly 5 seconds, I gave her the overpriced cover fee and when in to drool at the shirtless black studs. On the way back, my black bud was recanting the how he noticed other black men attempting to go in without any state IDs, but instead paid an extra under-table cover.

Black folks, unID'ed yet unbounded by the legal blockage of a broken immigration system unlike me, face similar anticipations for a boys' night out and when ordering a mixed alcoholic drink. Where I am privileged enough to have something that proofs my identity and age, too many black wo/men either opt out or are unable to access state issued IDs. Recent legislation has been hyped in North Carolina to pass voter ID laws and several states have passed laws that require poll station to require photo IDs, in some cases specific voter IDs. The Justice Department has blocked this type of legislation in Texas and other states.

Many of the political Left see voter ID laws as a Republican attempt to undermine peoples of color' votes. People of color, Latinos and black Americans tend to vote for the Democrat party and many expect president Obama to carry the vast majority of colored peoples' votes. Obama has been receiving vast support from Latino leaders because his recent announcement of prosecutorial discretion for DREAMers and a promise of work permits for undocumented youth. At the National Council of La Raza, there was much support and favoritism towards the president, it was hard to notice that Romney was even present. At the black leader-equivalent event, by the NAACP, there were ominous signs for the Republicans even before Mitt Romney got BOOed.

Back in Texas, the Justice Department blocked SB 14, which would've made obligatory the need of a photo ID to vote. There are an estimated 14 million Texan residents without the proper IDs and only an estimated 8% are white. That is a lot of unID'ed people of color; perhaps, the number would be astonishing on a national scale. I believe that many unID'ed black Americans also live day to day undetected or noticed. Unlike black Americans, Latinos are much more likely to be profiled as undocumented (or as the tasteless say, illegal) if they are pulled over without carrying an ID. The recent US Supreme Court, of SB 1070, opened the doorway for an undocumented witchhunt and racial profiling. So, my black boyfriend would be less suspected of driving without a license than me, for example. This begs the question, why is there so many unID'ed black Americans?

Much of the access to NC driver's licenses was blocked to the Undocumented via asking for proof of legal residency. Legal residency was limited to either verification through the social security database or through a bureaucracy bible of legal snakes and ladders. Before 9/11, there were few states that required this extra verification of residency. Before the terrorist scare, most states, like NC, only required a utility bill as proof.

Today, a school transcript will suffice. For non-students, you will need either a utility bill or a lease and proof of liability insurance. There is the reoccurance of credit. Housing lease, utilities, and insurance all are easily obtainable for anyone privileged with moderate credit, however, Wells Fargo and Bank of America have all recently been notoriously caught permanently damaging and ruining the financial futures and credit rating of not only black homeowners, but all possible black folks. Many black Americans admit that they already don't trust enough banks with their credit and money, many still abide by grandmother's rule of cash under the mattress. For those that have already been undermined by financial institutions and by those that opt out of the systems of a credit rating, having no/bad/little credit will impair their access to the requirements to a state issued ID and a driver's license. And now the Right Wing is attempting to use this disfranchisement to further suppress black and brown Americans, supposedly.

Black Americans aren't the only ones that are targeted as a result of this State/Bank joint effort; the working-class, transgenders, the homeless, abandoned queer youth, the elderly and older communities of Asians/Latinos are also extremely vulnerable of limited credit and wealth to access to the basics and therefore are potentially suppressed voters.

In the same way that undocumented folks have seen themselves become more and more "paper-less" the past 11 years, the same has been done to the working-class people of color and transgenders. Jus Solis and Jus Sanguinis were the legal foundations that guaranteed the privileges of citizenship for Americans, but if we're not careful, citizenship can be discretely chipped away one drink, quick drive and a vote a time.