Machismo, an aggressive pride that is commonly found in a number of cultures, the pressure many men have sex with other men, but refuse to identify as being gay. The tension between identity and reality can be incredible detrimental to the Latino community. In fact it can be quite deadly.
For most Latino gay men there life is a series of contradictions, and secrecy; which can cause depression and isolation in closed men. They have to compartmentalize their lives, which causes barriers within themselves as welll as between them and their loved ones. "It causes confusion for their families It also exposed them to risks." according to Dr. Juan Manuel Castillo of Hospital General de Mexico. He also states "Some men may take out their frustration by abusing their families, it's an endless cycle."
In the Latino culture passive partners are often derisively called puto, jot and maricon (all roughly translate to "fag"), while active partners are called mayate, chichifo, chingon ("penetrator", "male prostitute", "fucker"), these labels are derogatory but less stigmatized. Passives are seen as having "abdicated their masculinity," while active often still consider themselves to be straight.
It is not uncommon for these gay Latino to go to a "gay bar", which appears as honest-to-god exploration of their sexuality, with a certain timidity to it. They's go into a gay bar, pick up men to perform sex acts on them--but wouldn't perform acts [themselves], this way they could tell themselves they didn't have this identity. This is especially true for closeted married men, it becomes a trauma to live a double life, to feel different but not being able to express themselves.
"Comprender que la sexualidad es tan amplia como el mar. Entiendo que su moral no es derecho. Entiendo que es usted. Entiendo que si decidimos tener sexo seguro, más seguro o inseguro, es nuestra decisión y no tiene derechos en nuestro hacer el amor." Derek Jarman Film Director
This machismo-ism has been instilled through generations, it can be traced back to the church, which is one of the most important aspects of any Latino culture, and as we know the churches view on homosexuality. This has caused generations of Latino's to repress or deny their sexuality. Men are taught to be strong, don't cry, protect yourself, and that homosexuality is wrong on any level, and when this idea has been passed down from generation to generation, it's hard to change the mindset.
Ideally, there should be a dialogue about different forms of sexuality; which would have to include mandatory sex education, appropriate youth outreach. By doing this boys in their formative years, might be able to come to terms with their sexuality and prevent repression of their sexuality. There is also a health aspect that needs addressing. Central and Latin American have some of the highest HIV/AIDS rates in the world; failure to use condoms, talking about sex, their self-esteem, and the ability to come out have all directly impacted the HIV/AIDS rates in several Latin countries.
Regardless of how we feel, there are few cultures in the Western Hemisphere that experience cultures that pushes gay Latino men away by not acknowledging the full spectrum of male sexuality - or human sexuality for that matter. Painting anything that does not conform to the heterosexual norm as being evil, sinful and bad. The insidiousness of machismo is manifested when individuals feel them must lie to themselves, their families and society. In this situation in my opinion everyone suffers.
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Sources: Serna, Albert Jr. & Tigerino, Adolfo. Gay, Latin and Macho. The Huffington Post. 11 August, 2015. Web.
HIV and Latin & South America Report. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for HIV/AIDS Prevention. Static Report. 2 February 2017. Web.