Giselle: Being Attacked For Being A Gay Latina Teenager
My name is Giselle Ramirez and I am a working class-chicana, a proud queer womyn, concerned citizen of the world, and a conscientious objector to dehumanization.
I was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. I am a product of immigrant parents that illegally migrated from a small town in Guadalajara, Mexico called Tlajomulco to Los Angeles, CA in search for the American dream. In 1986 Ronald Reagan passed the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, that granted amnesty to all illegal immigrates that migrated into the US prior to 1982 by applying for residency.
Growing up in one of America’s most liberal cities LA molded by being by shaping my ideas, views about the world, instilled diversity, culture, witness poverty and oppression, but most importantly it instilled in me the First Amendment of the US Constitution, Freedom of Speech at an early age.
The importance of Freedom of Speech comes from the right that it gives us all to not to accept any current situation that is unjust by giving the people the ability to organize, mobilize, and be visible. Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. said “An individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law.”
Growing up Catholic, the notion of “queers go to hell” is something that I heard from the older folks. This fear of being who I am and yet going to hell for being me, gave birth to a self-destructive path that I will soon intake. I began to self-injure at the age of 12 to relieve all the pain and fear that I felt inside. I decided at that age to give up God and religion all together, since I felt like I didn’t have any part or place when it came to God and Religion.
Growing up in an environment that lack visibility of the queer communitym made it even harder to accept and explore my sexual orientation. MTV shows like True Life and The Real World where my early exposures to queers in the media. Movies such as Gia and Boys Don’t Cry allowed for me to come out during eight grade to only selected people, but by sophomore year at Downtown Magnet High School in Los, Angeles, CA, I was finally Out and Proud.
Downtown (Business) Magnet High School is a small and open-minded school. The majority of the students in school didn’t have a problem with me being queer, but there were a couple of girls who has a problem with it. Like most student that attend a school out of their district, I used the school bus system as a method for transportation from Downtown LA to South Gate. After weeks of being pick on by a couple a girls that shouted to the people that “I was gay” in a derogatory way, I finally decided to stand up for myself and no longer continue to be put down for being who I am. I responded to them by telling them “what the bleep do you care if I’m gay or not,” violence was soon to follow and I was gay bashed in the back of the school bus by two girls.
After being attacked I called my mom to pick me up from the bus, since I no longer wanted to continue my bus ride along side my attackers. As I waited for my mom, I just look at my face that was cover in blood and bruises and just thought about life. I got home bloody and bruise, yet receive no empathy from my parents. I recalled my father telling me “you see this is what happens when you are gay and out.” My sister Erika at the time was not accepting of me being queer, but she also didn’t accept and opposed any violence. Being from LA and having political friends a week long protest soon followed from the Downtown Magnet Community.
The following day, my father, sister, and I when to DBM to go speak to the school officials over what had occurred. Since the school was going to conduct an investigation over what had occurred they decided to suspend all parties involve for one week until they knew all the facts. One of my good friends Maria Moron was upset over what had occurred and started to spread index card that read “Power to the Rainbow” to students and faculty. The school was united and demonstrated their support for Queer Rights by opposing gay bashing and my suspension. DBM repeal my suspension and expelled both girls from school.
Soon after this event, my parents decided to move me to Lubbock, TX in hopes of me becoming straight. In my mother’s head the only reason why I was gay was because I was in LA and since Lubbock is known for having more churches than people, Lubbock seems ideal for my conversion.
I have been living in Lubbock, TX since 2006. Lubbock was a complete culture shock to me but I was also impressed by how conservative this town is but the visibility of the queer community here in town. Lubbock is home to a few successful queer establishments such a Club Luxor, Club Heaven, and Lubbock Belly’s. We need more visibility so that closet queers who are being told that they are going to hell can realize that being Queer is Good.
Therefore, Lubbock Pride Celebration will be a statement that demonstrates our strength and our vision for a better future for the queers here in Lubbock, and surrounding areas. It is time, we need not fear being queer simply because we live where we live. It is time, we come out! We need not sacrifice our own comfort in order to make others comfortable. Discrimination is uncomfortable, oppression is uncomfortable, living a life that is not true to your real and authentic self is uncomfortable, so let’s stand together and fight for our freedom and our right to be seen as full citizens of these United States.