Baton Rouge, LA
I met Carlos in the parking lot of a gay club in Baton Rouge a couple of nights before Halloween.
Carlos: I lost my mom suddenly back in 2001 when I was six. Growing up I had an abusive father. A very macho, Latino man. He was all about having order and being Catholic. My mom's side was very strict Baptist and missionaries in the church. It took a lot for me to come out.
For a while I wore a purity ring and tried to force myself to be straight and to be in relationships with females. I was 14 when I finally admitted to myself I was gay. I never planned on telling my family, but one day I did.
I sat in the living room with my dad. I said, "We need to talk." I asked him how much he loved me. "If I told you something big about me, would that make you not love me?" So I told him I was gay, and for him that was it. In my culture, you can't be gay. I'm the man of the family. I have to be doing construction.
He actually blamed my friend saying that, because he was gay, that's what made me gay. Asked if I was molested. Me and my dad never had a good relationship because of my abusive childhood and witnessing him abuse my mom and my step mom.
BW: Was your dad abusive after he found out you were gay?
Carlos: By that time he was not as abusive, because I was getting older, and could fight back, but it was still choke holds and and being pushed against walls. Back when we visited Honduras, he was really drunk one night. I told him, "Come on, we aren't here for you to be drinking, we're here for grandma." He said, "All you are is a dumbass faggot," and called me out to my entire family who didn't know anything yet.
I tried to kill myself earlier this year. A lot of things were hitting me. I have depression and anxiety and this guy I had a big thing for said a lot of hateful things to me. Just thinking about everything that had happened with my life. Everything I'd been through in my childhood. It just hit me really hard. So I decided to swallow a handful of klonopins.
Miraculously I woke up with no brain damage. I checked myself into a hospital, because I realized I have such a great life. I have all of my friends and no matter how uncomfortable my dad is with my sexuality, he is still a dad.
Part of these collections: Coming Out