LGBTQ stories provide insight

By Alondra Gallardo, Advocate Staff

Alphabe+ Club member Miguel Alvarez remembers when he was ridiculed by his peers in elementary school and was made fun of and accused of being gay.

“I was scared because I grew up in a Catholic home. I would pray to God and think I could just pray it away,” Alvarez said to the group during the Aphabe+ Club’s coming out event Oct. 30 in Fireside Hall.

Alvarez said he did not come out until he was 19 years old.

Club members shared the struggles they have faced while deciding to come out and how, every day, young adults are abandoned by their families and friends because of their sexual orientation.

Two YouTube videos were presented at the beginning of the event.

Both videos showed young adults being left living on the streets and having difficulty surviving after not being accepted for who they are.

Alvarez said it was not until arriving at community college, that he felt like he finally had the power to come out, that he stopped depriving himself and faced reality.

“I first came out to my mom and she did not talk to me for a month.

“Six months later I told my dad and told him if he wanted a relationship with me then he has to accept me for who I am,” Alvarez said. “I recently told my grandparents and they said, ‘You’re not our grandson and you cannot associate with us’.”

Alvarez said psychological wounds will always be a part of dealing with coming out and not having family support makes it difficult to deal with them.

“We have been socialized to think that being gay is wrong,” he said. 

Alphabe+ club member Susan Mireles shared her story and said, “For the longest time I suffered with my sexual orientation and gender identity.”

Mireles said she thought she was bisexual, but she was not attracted to (either gender) sexually.

“I found out I was asexual. I was not comfortable being a girl, so I thought I had fluid identity. It took years for me to figure out who I am and to tell my family that I was asexual, but they never believed me.”

Mireles said she was so confused because her parents did not accept her for who she was. They would just laugh and tell her she is going to find a husband and have kids.

“It is hard, having the people who are supposed to love you not accept you,” she said.

Alphabe+ Club President Mauricio Enrique Duarte shared his story with the group.

“Growing up, I remember being different. I always knew I liked guys and I was always hanging out with girls.”

Duarte said in elementary school he told one of his girlfriends he thought a boy was cute and when that boy found out he called him a “joto” or “maricon (derogatory terms for a gay male).”

Duarte said from that point on he experienced bullying from his peers.

“I never wanted to go to the bathroom with boys because they would bully me. In my head, I thought if I fought back then they’d think I was gay and I didn’t want that,” Duarte said.

“I was 17 years old when I came out to my dad. We were arguing and I kind of just blurted it out like, ‘Yeah, your son is a maricon and I just felt everything drop.”

Duarte said his father reacted like the typical machista and said, “I only have sons not daughters.”

Duarte said he gathered his stuff and left his house.

“My dad had no problem opening the door for me,” he said

Duarte also shared a part of his story that he had never shared before.

He was living on the streets, and in friends’ garages. “I dropped out of high school,” he said.

He said he remembers enrolling at CCC and having to take a shower at a Chevron gas station before class.

“I want to make sure no little kid gets called a faggot before they can even know who they are. That is why I started the Alphabe+ Club,” Duarte said.