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.