Dia De San Valentin

Much to my disappointment, St. Valentine´s day is celebrated with gusto down here.  I was hoping that by being off the grid I would be outside the tentacles of the depressing day, but that´s not true.

However, Diana, the daughter of the woman that works at the hostal, has decided to put her arm around me while I write.  She typed her own name.  She doesn´t read English, she just wants to watch.  So my day isn´t empty of love, of course.

Even with the friends I have here, today is going to drag by with the unique class of lonliness that I always feel, derived from the combination of being both single and gay, and this year intensified by being one of the only solo travelers at the hostel. 

Last night a few of the ladies of the hostel and I tried to go out to the only gay bar in Cusco, only to find out that the bar was both not gay and closed.  I did find out that there was another bar, but this one has no sign, no name, and is only known through word of mouth.

Perhaps it was the rum, but I was suddenly overcome with a tidal wave of sadness for my gay brothers and sisters here in Cusco.  Certainly Cusco has no less of a gay population than any other city of its size.  But those unfortunate enough to be born gay in this city have to traipse around in the dark, nameless, whispering. 

What really struck me was that Cusco is only one of many cities around the world where gay people have to stay in the shadows.

I began to wonder what it would be like if gay people had a different color skin; if the genes that made us like the same sex also turned our skin purple.  Would we be chugging along so slowly and haltingly in our movement?

Perhaps when I return to the US it will be time for me to become a noise maker.  Cast away my pride, stop separating myself from the gay movement, and work with organizations to facilitate not just gay rights in the US, but globally.  Fix places like Cusco for my people.

It sounds strange, feels funny in my mouth to refer to homosexuals as “my people”, but when it comes down to it, that´s what we are.  A race and a group that is unified by our ability to love differently, and our inability to go through life without love, like so many close minded people around the world would prefer.

Feliz dia de amor.

4 responses to “Dia De San Valentin

  1. Oh, Liam that made me tearup. I was hoping you could have a break from Valentines day this year in Peru. I am beaming you my love from my recliner right now, but I know the love of a mother doesn’t make up for lack of a lover. I am sorry that Cusco and Peru are so unable to allow you to be open there and I also worry about your safety too.
    I like the idea of the purple skin, that would have moved gay rights along if no one could hide their preferences. Coming out would be unnecessary.

    I have always wondered if you would become a gay rights activist some day and I am hearing you consider that now with a mixture of pride and anxiety, once again about your safety. There is quite a fight going on here in Maine with the new marriage equality act and your father is involved as you know. They are the most well organized and affirming political action group I have observed.
    Keep writing and searching your soul. I know you’ll find that soulmate someday too. Love Mom

  2. Comments on Valentine’s Day are never good from someone who is not single so I will leave that one alone except to say that many people love you deeply. And that I felt the same way once.

    It makes me so sad and angry to hear that it is hard for you, or any gay person, in Peru, or anywhere for that matter. Gay people aren’t just your people Will; they are people, our brothers, sisters, friends, co-workers, and parents. That is something I wish everyone could come to terms with. I admire your passion and concern for others. I really hope all is well and safe in Peru. We all miss you.

  3. I use to hate new years eve and V-Day. The first few were great….but after many years its nice but not like the few years of passion…You will have that too….Enjoy. I think “our people” is true as all groups have felt that way…”feminist, singles.” etc. It will be a better world when another “our people” become just people. The catholic countries will take longer….Your being their is already part of the change. Your “amour” will come and be greater for the wait!

  4. “…and our inability to go through life without love, like so many close minded people around the world would prefer.” That broke my heart. I’m not completely ignorant toward the state of discrimination against homosexuality in our society; I just don’t think I’ve ever heard it phrased like that before and it was completely jarring. It’s depressing and horrifying that there is such an epidemic spread amongst people that would have them wish such a thing upon a person. That’s like wishing death upon someone; because life is love.

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