51 - Gordy Carmona
Baker. Photographer. On the Board of Directors of Gay and Lesbian Alliance of North Texas, volunteer with HRC, Rainbow Roundup and other non-profits.
With the infinite possibilities of gender identity and expression, when did you know….
“Probably not so much from outside interference. It was more of a, ‘Oh, okay… I don't do things the same way all my male cousins do. I liked to do more things that some of my girl cousins liked to do... or my aunts. But some of my male cousins do it too… so that's different. There's something different. I don't know what it is…’, but obviously I found out as I got older…
Once I got older and I was watching TV on my own… I would watch MTV… and when I watched Real World for the first time, it was the first season… there was Pedro… I was like, ‘Oh… okay I'm like that person… He's different. Same color like me… OK… Maybe that's what I am…’ And it was the first time I actually realized, ‘Okay, I'm not just a normal boy… I'm actually a Hispanic gay boy…’ My dad never discussed ethnicity, really… because it was never a thing for us, because my birth certificate says white… I'm Caucasian… but I'm Hispanic…”
On their coming out experience...
“It was kind of anticlimactic… because I'm technically still a millennial, even though I am 32… I was about 17 18, almost when I graduated... I need to nip this in the butt, because at the time, only my sister knew… [I told her], ‘I think I’m gay, not 100 percent sure… but I think that's what I am… you know what? I'm gonna send a mass text to all my cousin while we’re at the dinner table…’ and BAM... Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! [phones going off] They all were like, ‘Oh okay…’”
Fears or concerns with coming out?
“I did with my biological mother, because since she was so young when she had us… she was able to take care of us, so she left us with our ‘father’, who is technically my biological uncle. I was worried since there was a huge period of time she didn't have me, she may have some kind of negative reaction to it… Like, ‘What did I let my child get into by leaving them with someone I thought I was taking care of them?’ …and unfortunately there was that negative reaction… I did didn't speak to her for a couple years. But we talk occasionally now. It's not like it's strenuous... I just had no contact. Thankfully it was just to the extent that one person having somewhat negative remarks or a commentary about my life…”
Frustrations within our community?
“Well part of it has to do with when people try to do outreach programs for [the LGBTQ+ community], not for a lack of trying… but typically it's the white community that it more ends up being geared to… One, because a lot of times they have more resources to get the word out, because people spend more money within those communities. But, at the same, time there's no appearance of, ‘OK we're getting all these people… Let's try this trying to get the Hispanic community… the Asian community… the African-American community… all the different communities, especially the people that may not identify specifically to one race, or ethnicities, or religion…’”
Favorite part about our community?
“My favorite part is when you get to go to these outreach programs that try to make whatever the situation better, it's all the happy people that you meet. And that rubs off on you… makes your life a little bit happier… even if it's just temporary. You get that extra pep in your step because you did something good. I partook in something good.”
What is something you would tell a younger you? Advice for anyone out there who feels like they can’t come out, or they don’t have a community to be a part of?
“It will be difficult, but there will be a lot of times that you don't notice that it's difficult. It is normal to have struggles growing up. It is ok to not feel OK… that is not always rainbows and smiley faces… sometimes it's great, but there is beauty in the gray… and it's OK to just be in the moment. You don't have to be waving rainbow flags around, you could just be who you are… and that’s OK.”
What in your life are you most proud of?
“The thing I'm most proud of is the work I get to do with all the non-profits I volunteer with… like HRC, Rainbow Roundup and GALA (Gay and Lesbian Alliance of North Texas)… they do youth, education and outreach programs. They have a youth group and we meet every Sunday, and we get to just be there for the kids. They may have questions, and we try to help them work out things they have on their mind. It's a place they know they can say, ‘Ok …there's these adults that are similar to me… Things will be better…’ that's one the thing I'm most proud of… being able to help them. Getting to see the smiles on their faces means everything.”
With the state of the nation and the world in its current state, what’s one thing you would change if you had the power?
“If it was just the one thing it probably would be that I would want to change the restrictions as far as adopting children… Specifically here in Texas… we have a law that allows adoption agencies that get federal money from the state, to deny someone, not just because they're gay, but because they are either mixed faith, or single mothers… So , it doesn't hurt physically, it does hurts us emotionally… because we want to build our families, but we can't… because people have the right to say no, not you. It hurts the children the most, because they don't care, they just want to find a stable home, and know they're loved. That's what I would change.”