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Latin Night sounds like my dream but I live 15 minutes from a Latin gay club in Toronto and I’ve never gone. It’s been easier to hide in queer scenes and be mad at all the white people than set foot in a place where I can’t compartmentalize all these parts of who I am. Not Latinx enough, not white at all: this is the story for many of us and queerness adds another layer I don’t know how to navigate.

When my family first got to Canada, everyone was so impressed with me. They bragged about how quickly I adjusted and learned English while everyone in my family struggled. Youth gave me a brain ready to absorb everything but that youth also left me without forming my cultural identity. I learned early that I needed to assimilate to survive without realizing I’d be sacrificing my Latinidad, my roots:

I only had white friends

I went to art school

I did not want a quinceañera

And while I have a mami who loved and loves her daughter despite being a little rara/weird, I learned to avoid situations where I felt further displaced. I left the family gatherings before the questions about boyfriends began, I moved to another city. I don’t go to Latinx events because the only person who might come with me is the white girl I used to date. Latin America was colonized and traumatized and homophobia is a thing there like it is everywhere. It has taken so many years to find my way back to this Salvadoreña trenzuda and I still have so much further to go.

I don’t know anyone who died on Saturday but like many of us, I also feel like I do. They’re the maricas my father would have mocked or like me, the marica my father doesn’t know about. These Latinxs’ ability to be whole, even for a few hours on a Saturday night, got them killed and I don’t know how to live with that right now.

by Karen Michelle Campos Castillo

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