Partial Transcript: When I came out, all of my friends were very supportive. I have a lot of people that have my back that are very, very supportive. So I honestly, I feel like there are, but they don't say anything. Or nobody says anything about it. I feel like I can, I know I would be like looked at or anything.
Segment Synopsis: Hector describes growing up gay, Latino, and in Hendersonville. He discusses his future plans and supportive friends.
Keywords: Childhood; Coming Out; Coming of Age; Early Experiences; LGBTQ Friendships; LatinX; Mental Health; Parents & Family; Sexual Identity
Partial Transcript: "But yeah, I was like so, so excited. My friends and I went. There were drag queens. Like actual like Hendersonville drag queens. That some of them perform in Asheville, but well no, I think it was just like a few of them. Maybe just one of them actually. But I honestly wasn't expecting her to be there, but it was good seeing like little kids in Hendersonville seeing a drag queen. Or seeing a man in heels."
Segment Synopsis: Hector shares his experience and integral part in Hendersonville's first pride festival. He talks about a good community, wearing heels for the first time in public, and making a cake to represent the whole LGBTQ+ community. He speaks how he sees things changing/not changing in his community
Keywords: LGBTQ Community; LGBTQ Events; Looking Ahead; Pride Festivals
Partial Transcript: "So I mean it sucks that it's that way, but I have had friends tell me yeah, they like you and everything, but if I was like you they would probably be flipped out and everything like so like as long as like I don't feel like I am, I guess in a way, getting mistreated or like getting talked down, then I'll be okay."
Segment Synopsis: Hector speaks to his experience in the Latino community and being gay. He talks to being people being very accepting to him but identifying that they wouldn't do the same for their own child. He talks about gender expectations and stereotypes.
Keywords: LGBTQ BIPOC; LatinX; On Being Gay; Stigma
Segment Synopsis: Hector shares his first time experiencing drag queens at 18 and then doing drag for the first time. Drag as art and fashion opened his mind. He also talks about the bar in Asheville called Scandals. Hector identified that Scandals should be more diverse, and should have more people of color, specifically Latinos, as well as have more drag queens of color.
Keywords: Bar Culture; DRAG; Finding Community; LGBTQ BIPOC; LGBTQ Gathering Spaces; LGBTQ Spaces; LatinX
Partial Transcript: "But other than that, everybody else was accepting. One day I feel like I didn't have to actually say I was gay. Like now I say I am gay, but back then like when I first came out as bisexual, everybody was okay with it. Like my friend group and everybody."
Segment Synopsis: Hector shares his experience coming out to his parents and friends. He discusses the choice to first come out as bisexual, but later coming out as gay. He also shares the relationship he has with parents and friends, after coming out.
Keywords: Coming Out; Family; Family Dynamics; On Being Gay; Parents & Family
Partial Transcript: " It definitely helps speaking out. So I recommend that for anybody who's dealing with stuff just to speak up. Say what they're feeling and everything. Because honestly like I feel like that's why I can't be quiet anymore. Because I finally said everything I needed to say."
Segment Synopsis: In this particularly vulnerable section of the interview, Hector shares about his history with disordered eating, suicide attempts, self harm, and depression. He speaks to being sexually and physically abused by a family member as a child, as well as being bullied in middle school. He shares about what it felt like to finally open up about everything he kept inside, the journey to be able to do that, and his mental health journey and healing process.
Keywords: Bullying; Depression; Family Dynamics; Inner Struggles; Mental Health; Mental Health & Depression
Partial Transcript: "Las tradiciones. You know like las quincenearas and like los tamales. Like those cosas festivales. That's what you asked, right?"
Segment Synopsis: Hector and the Interviewer have a conversation in Spanish. He speaks about Mexican culture and food. Spanish translation needs lots of work!
Keywords: Family; LatinX
Misa, Interview...:Okay, hello, how are you?
hector:I am well, how are you?
Misa, Interview...:I'm pretty good. What is your name?
hector:My name is Hector Trejo.
Misa, Interview...:And the date is? Today's date is ...
hector:Today's date is August 28th. Saturday. 5:59 p.m.
Misa, Interview...:5:59 p.m.
Misa, Interview...:Oh okay. So let me start with just an opening question whichis how do you like to describe yourself?
hector:I like to describe myself as outgoing, sassy, a little extra. Smart,mature, I'm pretty sure there's more things. 00:01:00
Misa, Interview...:Do you think those are qualities? Are they good qualities? Doyou think they're-
hector:I feel like they're all good qualities, but they can also be really bad qualities.
hector:Because I don't have no filter. So I just speak out what I'm thinking.And like I don't, it's not like I don't care where like to hurt other people's feelings. But I feel like growing up, I was always quiet. So now that I've opened up on everything, nothing can keep me quiet.
hector:So that's why.
Misa, Interview...:So do you usually, do you like to tell people that they arebeing a certain way or do you just like to call them out on things that they are 00:02:00doing wrong? Or when they're doing something bad to somebody else?
hector:I mean I'll always will tell somebody what I'm actually feeling or myopinion if they ask for my opinion. And I will always be honest. That's my thing. I will always be honest. So like I don't want anybody getting hurt if they ask for my opinion. But I mean, if you ask for my opinion, you ask for my opinion.
Misa, Interview...:Yeah. So does that make life easier for you?
hector:Yeah, I feel like honesty is always a good thing. So I feel like itshould be everybody's model in life.
Misa, Interview...:Okay. So this question, and it says where do you usually liketo start your story? So like if somebody asks you how does your story begin? 00:03:00
hector:Story as in like finding out my sexuality? Or in general? Like when I was born?
Misa, Interview...:I would say it can be two questions like where like when didyou start realizing that you were a human being, I guess? Sorry thinking like to yourself and by yourself. And then also, the question of when does your story starts like and when you came out or when you like started realizing that you were gay?
hector:Well, when I started realizing, I guess not when I was a human being in away. But when I started feeling a certain way. Let me see if I can reword this 00:04:00differently. I felt like I was feeling different types of emotions, I guess, at such a young age that I feel like no kid should be feeling at that age.
And that's, I guess, when I started realizing like or not like realizing but ina way maturing because of those feelings. So like depression and like anxiety, suicide attempts and everything. As a young age, like that was a lot.
And I feel like that's something that no kid should go to. But I feel likethat's when I started realizing like actual, real life things that happen to a 00:05:00lot of people and every day. So I feel like that's usually when I started feeling like that.
Or like, in a way, I guess like feeling as a human being, I guess. I mean aftereverybody goes through that. Not maybe not all of that at the same time or anything like that. But might have one of those things throughout life.
And then with my sexuality, I feel like I realized that when I was in fifthgrade. And I didn't actually come out until my senior year of high school. Which that was 2017.
Misa, Interview...:So when you were in fifth grade, you started feeling like oh,I like a cute guy over there?
hector:Yeah, well I just started noticing boys. But like I knew it was wrong,but like I just never said anything. I just kept it to myself. But then I was 00:06:00bullied in middle school and everything, being questioned about my sexuality. Like are you gay and all this other stuff?
But like I honestly didn't even know. I was trying to figure that out myself.But like that also, in a way, caused all of these other types of emotions because I'm being questioned whenever I don't even know the own answer. I don't even know my own feeling. So that also brings a lot onto your plate as well.
Misa, Interview...:Did it felt like there was a lot of pressure?
Misa, Interview...:To be some certain way that society-
hector:Well, mostly my high school or middle school and everything, I feel likeit was definitely very pressured because like most of the guys there, because they were all like very masculine. And they were Latinos and everything. So like machistas and they all played soccer and all these other stuff. And I wasn't like that. 00:07:00
So like I feel like I guess, in a way, also put me there in the spot, with thewhole spotlight because I wasn't like them.
Misa, Interview...:Yeah, so you grew up in Hendersonville?
Misa, Interview...:And how was that? How would you describe Hendersonville?
hector:Very conservative. Very, I guess, you could say redneck. There's reallynot much to do honestly there. That's why I always come to Asheville because there's just more stuff to do in Asheville. But yeah, just like very, I would say it's small. I think it's pretty decent. There are some little nice things to do. But other than that, I would just say that Hendersonville is very 00:08:00conservative. There's a lot of like old, white people.
Misa, Interview...:And growing up there, was it difficult being Hispanic? And doyou feel like, yeah, let me stop there. Was it difficult being Hispanic growing up in a very conservative area?
hector:I don't think it was difficult. I do remember growing up and I feel likegrowing up, ICE was always mentioned all the time. Like my mom would always tell me if it's dark outside, if you see any blue lights or anything and if someone knocks on the door, don't open the door because it might be ICE and they might be coming.
Or like they're going to take us away from you. And it's something that I wasalways scared as a kid too. Even seeing a police officer or anything like that, 00:09:00I was always scared that my mom was going to get deported or getting taking away from me and everything. And me just stay here alone.
So like it's not that I've never been in a situation where somebody was beingracist towards me or towards my family. But I was always scared with like everything that I've seen on the news. And like growing up with all that.
Like I remember one day my mom got in a car accident and I was at the Boys andGirls Club and they told me that my mom was in a car accident. And I don't think she, never mind, I don't thinks he was in a car accident. I think they told me she got pulled over.
And I ran. I started crying. Like I ran away whenever they told me that becauseI was scared because I was like they're going to take my mom. They're going to take my mom. But like that didn't happen. But it was just something that it was always in my mind growing up.
Misa, Interview...:How old were you when that happened?
hector:I want to say I was about maybe six or seven. Maybe a little older. I'm00:10:00not sure exactly. But I do remember that happening. I think I feel like that was during a summer as well so yeah.
Misa, Interview...:And now the same question but about being gay. Do you feellike there is some type of negativity towards gay people in Hendersonville?
hector:If there is, I have not seen it, at all. When I came out, all of myfriends were very supportive. I have a lot of people that have my back that are very, very supportive. So I honestly, I feel like there are, but they don't say anything. Or nobody says anything about it. I feel like I can, I know I would be 00:11:00like looked at or anything.
Like even if I'm dressed, I guess, and not like masculine, but in a way that ifI'm dressed nice or anything like that. Like and you can, sometimes you can tell that I'm gay. Sometimes you can't tell that I'm gay the way I dress. It's just because I like dressing masculine or feminine. It's like just whatever to me.
But I have my keychain that has a Pride flag, so I feel like someone's lookingat me, but then I have my keychain next to me and they'll be like oh, he's gay. So it's just like that kind of thing. Like just having my keychain. Which I'm proud of holding my keychain in my hand. I'm like if you want to say something, say it. I'm not afraid to speak up either. So that's mostly it honestly.
But I did, like I had my best friend who's also gay. He's actually, he became... He actually reached out to me and everything when I heard that I had came 00:12:00out because we went to high school together but we knew of each other, but we weren't friends. And whenever I came out, like we became really friends. And he's actually the one that opened my shell and everything. And took me to my first gay club and everything like that.
And I feel like him and I, like him and I have even hold hands in public. Likejust like grabbing each other, like locking our arms and stuff like that. And nobody says anything. And I'm just like I mean if they say something, like I said, I'll say something too.
But like I'm scared to like ... I guess, in a way, I'm not fear of my life. If Iwalk out in Hendersonville like that.
Misa, Interview...:Okay. That's nice. How would you describe, I've already didthat. So how long have you lived in this area? In western North Carolina?
hector:I've lived, well I actually was born in Atlanta. And my parents, we all00:13:00moved up here, I think, when I was one year old. So I grew up here. I mean I'm 22 now. So it's been over like more than two decades. So I just grew up here honestly.
Misa, Interview...:Pretty much a local?
hector:Yeah, pretty much a local which I'm trying to get out of here.
Misa, Interview...:Where would you go? What are your plans?
hector:Where would I go? My plans. Right now, I'm currently in the process ofhopefully becoming a flight attendant. Other than that, I'm not really trying to go anywhere away from here. Mostly because my mom is here. So maybe Asheville. 00:14:00I've sometimes have thought about Raleigh and Charlotte. Which if I do get the flight attendant job, I would probably be based in Charlotte so I'd probably just be in Charlotte so it works either way.
Misa, Interview...:You want to remain in the state? In North Carolina?
hector:Yeah, I mean I really like the weather here. You know you haveeverything. Like a few hours from here you have the beach. We have the mountains here. We have a city. You can like it's not far. Like we literally have everything here. Yeah, the beach might not be as nice as Florida beaches, but like we still have it.
Misa, Interview...:Yeah. Is that one of your favorite things to do? Go to the beach?
hector:Oh yeah, I love going to the beach.
hector:And going to the club.
Misa, Interview...:At the beach?00:15:00
hector:Oh yeah, most definitely.
Misa, Interview...:Yeah. Let's see. So I mean have you felt that things havechanged positively, I guess, in the past few years in Hendersonville when it comes to acceptance and, because you mentioned that you don't really feel like there is much negativity about gay people. But do you think it's becoming, I guess, more positive. People are becoming more positive towards the LGBTQ+ community?
hector:I honestly I feel like it's both. Hendersonville had just like their00:16:00first Pride before COVID. And we were supposed to have one this year, like passing everything with COVID. But it got canceled again. But I feel like we have a good community. And like I said, we also have Asheville. People from Asheville come to Hendersonville as well.
We have the apple festival very year which like ... And during the applefestival parade, they have the PFLAG people walking with them and everything and showing their Pride flags. Even though people might not like that and everything, there's people that do. So I feel like there is a good amount of acceptance, but at the same time, there's those that are not. Which I feel like 00:17:00that's everywhere.
We could have like say Miami have a big Pride event and everything and it'spacked and everybody is so excited. But there's also ways going to be people that don't like that. And they're just going to have to deal with it. So honestly, I feel like it's just like everywhere else.
Misa, Interview...:How did you feel when the first Pride happened in Hendersonville?
hector:Oh I was excited. I wore my heels for the first time in public atHendersonville Pride and I even have a picture of that too.
Misa, Interview...:How did that feel?
hector:I felt great. Everybody was like yes, work ... Living for me having myheels on and everything. And I was just like excited for it. I currently right now, I'm a cake decorator. And it was a different Pride event. It was a potluck Pride. So everybody brought their own food and everything for everybody to share. 00:18:00
And this was like before COVID. So everybody brought something and I, like Isaid, I'm a cake decorator. But I'm a cake decorator now but back then I still wasn't. So I drew out what I wanted and one of my coworkers actually made the cake and everything. And I tried to make it as inclusive as possible. So that's what I took over there.
And the Pride cake said Happy Hendersonville Pride. And I had every singleLGBTQ+ flag on top of the cake. And on the side, I had songs that represent the LGBT community. Like Break Free from Ariana Grande. Born This Way from Lady Gaga. I forgot that song from Macklemore. I think like Love Is Love. I don't 00:19:00remember that one song.
Misa, Interview...:I'm trying to remember too but I can't.
hector:But yeah, but like the whole the side of it was actually all songs thatrepresent the LGBT community or songs that people can relate to. There is one specific song that I discovered on YouTube one day. And it's about the transgender community. So I made sure to actually have the name of that song on the cake as well.
But yeah, I was like so, so excited. My friends and I went. There were dragqueens. Like actual like Hendersonville drag queens. That some of them perform in Asheville, but well no, I think it was just like a few of them. Maybe just 00:20:00one of them actually. But I honestly wasn't expecting her to be there, but it was good seeing like little kids in Hendersonville seeing a drag queen. Or seeing a man in heels.
So like it was really nice. And for some kids in Hendersonville, it was theirfirst time going to Pride. So it was very, very fun. And very exciting.
Misa, Interview...:Were the kids excited?
hector:Oh yeah. Most definitely.
Misa, Interview...:And the songs. Was it the title of the song that you wrote onthe cake?
hector:Yeah, it was the title of the song. I'm trying to remember which songs Iactually used. But it was like, I think it was back in 2019, I believe. Because 00:21:00that's whenever Pride usually happens, right? In Hendersonville? But it was honestly so much fun. It was like such a good experience and it actually felt nice having like my heels on that day. So it was actually June of 2019. Here's the cake.
Misa, Interview...:Oh that's so cool.
hector:This says Happy 1st Pride Hendersonville. And right there it says BornThis Way. And it has like all the Pride flags on there. So it says Born This 00:22:00Way, Break Free by Ariana Grande, The Village. That's the one, the song for the Trans community. And then the other one is with Macklemore which is Same Love. And here's the picture that I drew out and what I wanted.
Misa, Interview...:Oh it's so cute.
Misa, Interview...:Yeah. So you still have that-
hector:Do I still have this? No. I honestly don't even know where it's at. But Ihave a picture of it just because I wanted it. And I even wrote down what each flag was on the piece of paper. But I didn't want to write it on there just because it represents somebody, they know who it is. Which like but yeah. I even like-
Misa, Interview...:Do you-
Misa, Interview...:No, no, go ahead.
hector:Oh I even for like the Pride flag, like the rainbow flag, I even added00:23:00the new colors that were ... Like the black and brown colors also just because inclusivity and everything. Just because like it was something that was new and people were adding it to the Pride flags. So I felt like it was very important to add it there too.
Misa, Interview...:So do you feel that you're very open to welcoming new?
hector:Mm-hmm (affirmative). And I just also wanted that cake to representeverybody as much as I could.
Misa, Interview...:And did you get any comments for the cake?
hector:Oh I had a lot of comments on that cake. Everybody loved it. I wasactually interviewed for what is it called? Is it, it starts with an N?
Misa, Interview...:N? Is that News? No, like a-00:24:00
hector:N, NPR. I think that's what it's called. NPR. Yeah, I was interviewed forNPR. They had somebody taking pictures and interviewing people. And they took a picture of me holding the cake and they interviewed me and everything.
Misa, Interview...:Is NPR like a website?
hector:I believe it's like a news thing. Yeah, it's like about news, art andlife. Like music, different events.
Misa, Interview...:Did people tell you that they saw you on the news or-
hector:No, well I wasn't on the news. But people would come in and be like heyyou're the one that brought that cake, right? And I'd be like yeah that's me. And like some people would even come and shake my hand. And I was just like oh 00:25:00thank you. Like it was just like, it feels nice.
Misa, Interview...:Do you feel that you like to participate in events like thatand put yourself out there?
hector:Oh yeah, it's so much fun. And I also like attention. Ike I love theattention. But it's like good attention. Like I like being ... I'm always like this. I'm always like outgoing and everything. So I'll be nice and everything like that. But I also love all the attention that it gets me. Sometimes I like being the center of attention.
Misa, Interview...:And oh that's sweet. So as our community moves forward, as00:26:00the years pass by, do you hope for like ... We know that things are getting better. But do you hope for a better future for the community? Like we know that there's place for everyone to be afraid of being themselves? And they don't have to worry about society's-
hector:I feel like that's never going to go away honestly. But I hope it doeshappen. But I just know that it's never going to go away. I feel like it's just a part of society. Like if let's say being gay wasn't wrong anymore. There's 00:27:00always going to be something else that's going to be wrong. It doesn't even matter if you're gay anymore or if you're straight. Like you never know. Being straight might be a wrong thing in the future. Like who knows what's going to happen?
But like it's just like I feel like nothing is going to change. There's alwaysgoing to be ... People will always, I feel like, I don't know. I just know it's not going to change.
Misa, Interview...:What about with when it comes with the Latino community ingeneral? Do you think they're like, they're accepting too? Most of them are they like accepting or all of them accepting? Are they welcoming you like accept you like everybody else?
hector:Like the Latin community and me being gay?
Misa, Interview...:Mm-hmm (affirmative).
hector:Some people, I mean I feel like nobody really cares. The only person that00:28:00does care is my dad which that's understandable, I guess. But like my dad and I really don't get along. So like I mean it's really whatever for me. But at the same time, I'm always nice to people when I talk to them.
So I expect that back from somebody. But if you give me the wrong attitude, I'llgive you the same attitude you give me. But I've never had an interaction with anybody like that. Like to treat me different or anything. A lot of people are actually like very nice. Like very, very outgoing. A lot of Latinos and everything.
Mostly like my friends' parents, they're very open to having me over andeverything. But at the same time like they're accepting of me. They'll treat me good and everything. But if it were their kid, they'd be like oh no, I don't want you like that kind of thing. 00:29:00
So I mean it sucks that it's that way, but I have had friends tell me yeah, theylike you and everything, but if I was like you they would probably be flipped out and everything like so like as long as like I don't feel like I am, I guess in a way, getting mistreated or like getting talked down, then I'll be okay.
Misa, Interview...:Because there's like this idea, I guess in the Latinocommunity that I hope that my son or my daughter is not gay.
hector:Machistos, machista. Like a lot of people expect you to be very, verymasculine. Like I don't even know anything about cars. I can barely put air in my fucking tire. I can barely put gas in my car without like doing something wrong. So honestly like that's why I have straight friends. And that's also why 00:30:00I have my lesbian girlfriends because they know more about cars than I do.
Misa, Interview...:Oh well so that's like a thing. I just thought it was like astereotype or whatever.
hector:I mean I feel like everything's stereotyped honestly. You can't, like forexample, you and I that are really, really good friends, like we can't walk in a restaurant and without people thinking that we're together. So it's like everything is stereotyped no matter what. Like we actually, everybody is always like we're always together all the time when we go out. And we go to different events and like we've been asked multiple times like are you all together? And we're like no, we're just like really good friends.
And it's just like it sucks that people think that way. But at the same timelike I'm like okay, whatever, I mean you can think whatever you want. We know what we are.
Misa, Interview...:Right, right. Let's see. What is your favorite memory you00:31:00have growing up during your LGBTQ journey?
hector:My favorite memory? Okay. I feel like my favorite memory, honestly, waslike experiencing drag queens for the first time and also doing drag for the first time. I feel like they were both special moments in my life that are in 00:32:00the same category. But totally two different things.
There's like a difference between watching somebody perform and you being theone performing. But like I remember my first drag show like we're really good friends with Katerina. She was actually one of the first drag queens that I saw at Scandals when I first went.
And I still remember the song she did. Praying by Kesha. And like I still havethe picture. A picture that I took with her that night and everything. And like whenever I performed in drag I performed, that was the first song I performed like, I guess in a way, to play tribute to her.
But also like that was the first song that I saw in person of a drag queenperforming. So like that's like what I wanted to do.
Misa, Interview...:How old were you when you saw your first drag show?
hector:I was 18. Yeah. I was just actually freshly out of high school. So like Ithink it was about, I think it was around late June, early July around then. 00:33:00
Misa, Interview...:I think it was summer.
hector:Yeah, it was during the summer, yeah, but yeah. It was really fun.
Misa, Interview...:Yeah. Do you like as soon as you saw her, you wanted to, atthat moment, did you decided to be like oh I want to a drag queen?
hector:Actually no. I was actually against wearing makeup. Yeah, like there wasa time that like ... Actually, there's this guy who I used to talk to. And they actually ... I told them actually once that I don't see myself ever wearing makeup or anything like that.
And then like I don't know what happened or when it all switched or everythingturned around. But I don't know why I was just attracted to makeup. And I guess it's just because I saw it was like a form of art in a way because I mean it is 00:34:00a form of art.
And I'm like a very, very artsy person. And that was something that I neverthought could be art and then slowly, like little by little, I started seeing videos of YouTubers and everything. And I was just like wow, this is actually so cool.
And then now I feel like I'm a pro at makeup but I can't do my own makeup. Solike I can read your makeup but like I can't do my own makeup. It's just that I really haven't like practiced, I guess, in a way.
It's just like Simon Cowell. Like I don't even know if he sings. He can judgeyour singing, but he doesn't sing. So like I'm just like that way. But yeah. Whenever I did drag, or actually yeah, I think it was after whenever I performed. They swept up on my story.
And they were like, it's so funny because I remember that you were so againstmakeup. And look at you now, you're in a dress. And I just started laughing. I 00:35:00was like yeah, you're right. Things change. Things happen.
Misa, Interview...:And what do you think, why do you think that ... What am Itrying to ask? Why do you think it was, did you have like an idea about makeup and that's why you didn't want to do it?
hector:I don't know. I just thought it was very feminine and I had just recentlycame out. So I still had that mindset that I had to act a certain way. Even the way I dress completely has changed. Like I feel like I'm, like I said, I'm very artsy so like fashion is a whole, whole different art category itself.
So like I'm into fashion and everything as well. So I used to try dress, Iguess, very like straight in a way, all the time. And now I'm just like over here wearing short shorts and all these other stuff. So like I guess it was just 00:36:00like me coming out and I guess, in a way, like after everything, for every year and everything, I was experiencing something new and it's just opened my mind a lot. Like a lot a lot.
Misa, Interview...:Yeah. Think of all you have developed into-
hector:Oh yeah, yeah.
hector:I feel like I was already mature like growing up and everything. I feellike I was already way mature, too mature for my age. Which I mean I don't even think that exists actually. But I feel like it also had, like now it has matured me even more. Like the way I think and how I see stuff as well so-
Misa, Interview...:I was going to ask you a question but I completely forgotwhat it was. I also thought like so it was at Scandals when you saw your first drag show?
hector:Yeah, that was my first ever gay club I went to.00:37:00
Misa, Interview...:And what do you feel about the atmosphere? About people?
hector:Do you really want to get into the people? Let's not, I don't know. Imean people are nice. There's some of them ... I don't think I have drama with anybody, but I have heard about drama. But I feel like honestly the music could be better but it's okay. Once you're drunk, you forget what's going on around you so it's totally okay.
But I feel like there does need to be more like people of color or mostly likeLatinos. Like drag queens. I feel like we need more representation of that. But other than that, the atmosphere is very, very good. I like it. It's like it's pretty friendly. I mean every time we see somebody we know we're like get a smile on our face and we give each other a hug. So like it's that kind of 00:38:00environment. And then you meet new people.
Misa, Interview...:And you met other people at the different events in Ashevilleand different places?
Misa, Interview...:Or Hendersonville too?
hector:Mm-hmm (affirmative), yeah. I mean like my friends and I, we're all veryoutgoing. So sometimes we talk a little too loud and people seem to eavesdrop in our conversation and then they join our conversations so it's just like that's how we make a lot of friends.
Misa, Interview...:Has that happened before?
hector:Oh yeah. And mostly in Hendersonville. Like we were having a conversationabout zombies. And like Angel and I, like he's my best friend, we were talking about ... It was him, my friend, Christina and I. And we were all like sitting down. We were outside having a drink. And there was this guy next, like on the table next to us.
He was by himself. He had his dog. And we were just talking about zombies. Like00:39:00it was just a random conversation. And what we would do and everything. And like out of nowhere the man just jumps in and he starts talking and then like we started talking to him and we just like became good friends and we were petting his dog and everything.
And then like a few weeks later, like Angel and I, we went ... Angel was atShine and I was went with my other friends and we met him at the restaurant. And the same guy that we were talking to outside was happened to be like literally sitting next to us at the bar.
And so we were just talking to him again there. So it's just like we just makethose types of connections with people.
Misa, Interview...:That's so sweet.
Misa, Interview...:Let's get to more serious questions, I guess. (silence) I00:40:00know I already asked you about your coming out story. And how you realized yourself, realized that you were gay yourself. But how was it coming out to your family? How did they react to you?
hector:Well, my dad was not okay with it. But I actually came out to my momfirst. And the one thing that I did which I regret was coming out as bisexual, 00:41:00even though I knew I wasn't bisexual. And I know it happens a lot with in the gay community. And I feel like that's why there's still a bad representation, or I guess a bad how do you call it? Idea about bisexual, like being bisexuals.
But I feel like that was the easiest way for me and that also I felt like it wasmore accepting. So that's why I did that. And when I did come out as bisexual, like everybody was okay with it. Nobody cared. I told my mom. But my mom was kind of like what? She was really confused. She said some things and then I ended up just like getting away and just like having a moment to myself. Then 00:42:00she apologized and everything. And then she's like you can't tell your dad. So I never told my dad when I told my mom.
But eventually, my dad asked me once and I told, I was like I'm tiring of hidingthis so I'm like yeah, I'm gay. And he was mad, but he says he still loves me and everything no matter what. But like he will never go to my wedding. He will never approve to any of that. So like we've had those types of conversations.
And like I said, right now I mean we don't even talk as much. Like I just don'tlike the energy at all. So I try to be away from it just because I don't want any drama in my life.
But other than that, everybody else was accepting. One day I feel like I didn'thave to actually say I was gay. Like now I say I am gay, but back then like when 00:43:00I first came out as bisexual, everybody was okay with it. Like my friend group and everybody.
And then like I started hanging out with Angel. And I feel like maybe myattitude and the way I was acting was changing. And one day, my two closest best friends, they were like, "So are you gay?" I was like, "Yeah, I am." They just straight up asked me, they're like "Okay." Like "We really don't care. We just wanted to make sure like what you actually were."
And I was like, "Well, thanks for asking." And they're like, "Nothing's going tochange." So like nothing ever did change. Like we're still good friends and everything. And every time we see each other we say hey. But like we don't hang out like we used to.
Misa, Interview...:Guy, friends?
hector:Yeah, they're like straight, cis men. So like I am still close to themand everything. Like if we ever hang out, it will be like we never left. But I sometimes miss them a lot. Like I do miss them. But I have asked them before if 00:44:00like everything has changed. They're like, "Well, we didn't like-" One of them told me once like "We didn't stop talking or anything like that because you were gay. We just saw-" He literally was like, "We just saw how happy you're being and like how happy you are that we didn't want to hold you back.
So that's why they pushed themselves back a little bit. And I understand wherethey're coming from and everything. But at the same time, I'm just like I wish you didn't do that. I wish you would have given me the option to decide that. But like I mean it's understandable. But like I said, we're still close. If we see each other, it'd be like nothing ever happened.
Misa, Interview...:Is it or was it harder to come out or to tell people, wellback then come out to straight people. Was it harder to do?
hector:No, I actually remember like I came out working at Hobby Lobby. And I00:45:00actually then I got my job at Publix. And I felt like I was really comfortable with myself that I was actually telling people, hey, like I am gay. Like I wanted to put that out there.
Because like at Hobby Lobby, I was in high school and everything. And I was, Ihad come out there so they already had, I guess, a way, the way they saw me which was like that a closeted person. Where there in this new job, I can't start fresh and I can be a whole different person and actually be myself. And that's what happened. So I feel like a lot has changed.
Like not only my sense of style has changed. But like my attitude, my way ofbeing. Like everything has changed. My weight loss, everything. So I mean 00:46:00everything I feel like has changed for the good.
Misa, Interview...:I mean if you want to talk about it, how has your weight lossexperience? Like what made you decide oh I need to lose weight or I want to.
hector:Well, I honestly ... I guess, okay. I didn't lose weight the healthy way.So like I mean I was very depressed growing up and everything. I had a lot of things going on in my life to the point that like I feel like was stressing me out so much that I was eating a lot.
But then that all changed to the point that I would go two to three days withouteating. And this was like after high school. So I just wouldn't get hungry so I 00:47:00would just forget to eat. And that happened for about a year. And I really didn't notice there was a problem. Like I remember people telling me that oh you look skinny, all this and that.
But in my head it was just like what are you talking about? Like I see the sameperson I saw a few years ago in the mirror. Like I can't see what you're seeing. So I never thought there was anything wrong.
And then slowly I started noticing like I'm actually ... The way I startednoticing was my pants. I went from, I believe a 32 to a 28. I used to weigh 175 to 180. And now I weigh 135-140. So that was a lot of weight that I lost. And it wasn't in the healthiest way. 00:48:00
And when I ended up in the hospital the last time for a suicide attempt, like Itold them what was going on and everything like that. And they put me on this specific diet that for a whole week. And I've kept that diet going. So I'm still, I've gained a little more weight. But I'm also like slim. Like I'm not like that weight that I used to be. But I'm also trying to watch myself not to get there either. Because I like the way I look and everything now.
So like I'm also just balancing everything. But it wasn't in the healthy way.And I wish I would have seen that sooner, but I mean, things happen for a reason and I learn from my mistakes.
Misa, Interview...:And what made you depressed?
hector:It's just my whole childhood. Being sexually abused and being physically00:49:00abused. Me not telling anybody that was going on and then going to middle school and getting bullied. And having that on my plate because I actually never told anybody I was getting bullied. Then I started having suicide attempts. I was harming myself and like it's just like everything started gathering up together.
And I knew what was causing my depression and I knew what was going on, but Inever said anything. Like I was prescribed medication and everything. And I knew that I didn't need the medication because I had to do was just talk and say what was going on to me. But chose not to.
So I had to take the medication. Like just to like I'll be good and whatever.But yeah, just everything balling up and it just got a lot and it just led to 00:50:00depression and I just didn't want to do anything. I would go to school, go home, do my homework, go to sleep. Same routine over and over again.
Misa, Interview...:Was that making you feel like you were trapped inside yourself?
hector:Oh I was definitely trapped. I would cry myself to sleep. I would cry inthe shower. It was just a lot. Like a lot to handle. And I feel like I had a lot of stuff going on that I shouldn't have gone through. But it's made me who I am today.
But it was definitely a dark, dark moment in my life. Like I literally I triedsuicide three times. And the last time I ended up in the hospital. And ever since then, that was back, I believe, in 2018 I want to say. No, actually I 00:51:00think I believe it was actually 2019.
Misa, Interview...:So like about two to three years ago?
hector:About so. It was around that time. But yeah. I mean I learned a lot ofcoping skills and everything. And I was able to open up and finally say everything that I needed to say and let out to my parents and to, I guess, like people around me that were very, very important to me.
And like I said, I knew that's all that I needed to do but I was always scaredto do. And when I finally did do it, I felt completely alive. Like all that negativity, all that black energy. Everything was just gone. Like faded away. And like now I just felt so relieved. I was able to sleep at night and 00:52:00everything. Like it just felt so good. And now I feel like a whole different person.
Misa, Interview...:So you told your parents everything that was happening?
hector:Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah, I told them everything. It was really hard atfirst because my dad was one of the first persons, whenever I first came out to him. I told him that I was gay, but I also told him I was being sexually abused as a kid. But he didn't want to believe me. He was just more, to him, it was more important that his son was gay than to listen to the other part that I said.
So like first he didn't believe me and everything and he was just worried aboutme being gay. He told me not to tell my mom anything. The person who was doing that to me was actually my mom's son. So I never had the guts to ever tell my mom at all.
So then one day, my dad, whenever I ended up at the hospital, we got out and Ididn't ... My mom was so confused on why I tried doing it. My dad had an idea, 00:53:00but he was also like terrified and so confused.
And my mom believes in the healers and everything and all these spirits and shewas like I feel like you need to go to a healer so you can be good with yourself and everything.
And I was just like I don't really believe in that because I stopped believingin having faith in God at that time. And my mom was like, "Let's go." And I was like, "You know what? I don't want to argue so let's just go and do it. And I'll do it just for you."
So we went and keep in mind I don't know who this person is, this lady. I'venever seen her in my life at all. I walk into her house. She gets her herbs. Does what she needs to do. She cleanse me with her herbs and puts her hands on my head.
And she was like, "Speak to him." And I was like, "Speak to who." And she'slike, "Talk to God." And I was like, "Okay." I was just confused. And I was like 00:54:00okay. So I did. And the thing that I told, what I was saying in my mind was like if you're actually here tell me, show me a sign. Like show me that you're actually here with me.
And she opened her eyes. I opened my eyes too and she turned around and to mydad, "He has a lot of trauma. He had a lot of things going on in his childhood that he has not told you all." Or mostly specifying to my mom. And she was like, "When he's ready to talk, you need to listen."
And I just started crying because like I stopped believing in God for the00:55:00longest time and I felt like that was my sign because like I said, I don't know who she was. How was she supposed to know what I went through and all these other stuff. So I just started crying because I was like he's actually here with me. And that's honestly when I got my faith back.
Like I don't go to church anything, but I do believe that there is a God and Ido believe in all these other stuff as well. But that opened me up to actually tell my mom. So that night when we got home, it was midnight. And I couldn't go to sleep at all.
So I was like how am I supposed to tell my mom without proof? Is she going tobelieve me? Is she not going to believe me? Like what am I supposed to do? And I got the courage to message my half brother who was, like I said, the one that was doing, like sexually abusing me and physically abusing me as a kid. 00:56:00
And I messaged him and I told him and I still have the messages to this day. AndI told him, I was like, "I need to tell mom what you did to me because it's killing me inside. You're one of the main reasons why I've tried suicide. Like you took my innocence away. You took a lot from me that you have no idea you did."
And I was just so angry like typing everything. I had my niece and I was like, Itold him, I was like, "Those things I pray and will always pray is that nothing like this ever happens to my niece because she does not deserve any bad in her life because of a mistake that you did."
And he messaged me back. Because he was currently, he's like he got deported.And he was in Mexico whenever I was messaging him. I mean he's still in Mexico. But like he replied back and he was like, "I just want to say I'm sorry." Like 00:57:00he started off with I'm sorry.
And just reading that line took a whole weight off my shoulders because for thelongest time, I thought I was actually making it up. Because I kept it, like it happened to me as a kid. Like when I was five years old to the point that I thought and I kept it in, with me and never said anything at all for 15 years.
So a part of me thought that I was making it all up. And but the pictures in myhead were so vivid to the point that like I could actually take you right now exactly where things happened and how they happened. And I always thought that I was making it up. And I just told myself, I was like there's no way I'm making it up if I can see it clearly in my mind.
And like I don't have those dreams anymore. But like if I think about it, I canstill them. It's something that will never go away. But just him saying I'm 00:58:00sorry relieved me because it meant that I wasn't making it up.
And he told me like "Do what you have to do for you to be good." And also thatmessage and him saying I'm sorry and him telling me all this, there was my proof that I'm not lying so when I tell my mom, I can show her this.
So I got up and I tell my mom and she cried and I cried and my dad cried too. Mydad couldn't sleep for a whole week because they also had been whenever he wasn't with us here, he was actually in Mexico. And he blamed himself for not being there because he wasn't able to be there to protect me.
But I mean I don't talk to him anymore, like my half brother. And I told my mom,00:59:00I'm like, "I don't care if you're having contact with him. I don't care if you still talk to him. Like I honestly don't care. I don't care if anybody else in the family does. I personally will not have that relationship with him anymore. I had to pretend to have a relationship with him because I'd never said anything. But now that everybody knows everything, I have my own reason on why I don't want him around me or near me."
So whenever I go visit my family in Mexico, I better not see him. If he evertries to come back to the U.S., I will press charges on him and that's how it will be. And I still have the messages. So like those messages will never be gone.
So like I told my mom that and she still talks to him. My brother just recentlycame back from Mexico. And he knows what happened too. And I don't blame him. Like he grew up with him and everything. And I protected him in a way too because my brother, he's not like that younger than I am. We're just like two or 01:00:00three years apart.
So whenever that was going on with me, he was just like three years old. Twoyears old or something like that. And I always put myself in front so nobody will hurt him. So like I always protected him, but I feel like him and I really don't have that relationship and he really doesn't know that. And I've never told him that.
But I feel like our relationship isn't really as strong as their both of theirrelationship. Which I wish the relationship was the other way around. That him and I were closer. And him and my half brother weren't. But I mean that's nothing I can change. It hurts sometimes. But like I just say it is what it is.
And when he went to Mexico, they posted pictures of all of them together andeverything. And it hurt, but at the same time, I'm just like it's okay. Everybody knows what happened. I'm okay and that's all that matters. 01:01:00
Misa, Interview...:After you said everything, like you were able to feel better?
hector:Oh I was definitely way, way better. Definitely way better. It definitelyhelps speaking out. So I recommend that for anybody who's dealing with stuff just to speak up. Say what they're feeling and everything. Because honestly like I feel like that's why I can't be quiet anymore. Because I finally said everything I needed to say.
And it felt so good to the point that I will never keep anything in anymore. Soif there's a problem, I want to talk it out. So like it's just how I am now.
Misa, Interview...:And after everything was released, you did not attempt any other-
hector:Mm-hmm (negative). My depression was all gone. And it sucks because Iknow a lot of people suffer from it. But everybody suffers from it differently. 01:02:00But like I said, from the beginning, like I knew what was causing it and I knew it was that. Once I let that all out, I had no more problems in my life that were caused by all that.
Like yeah, I still have problems in my life, but it's nothing close to thatever. So like I felt like I was finally free. Like literally woke up the next morning and I looked at the mirror and I told myself I was like you did that. It took you 15 years, but you finally said everything that you need to say and now you can move on. What's next?
Because I felt like that was a whole chapter. 15 years, a whole chapter and I'mfinally moving on to the second chapter.
Misa, Interview...:Do you feel like a stronger person now?
hector:Oh most definitely. I feel like everything that I've been through, noteverybody has been through it. Maybe you can relate in little stuff. Like if 01:03:00somebody were to come up to me and talk to me about depression and tell me how they're feeling, I would be very understanding because I know how that feels.
So like I know that feeling and I can relate to you. If somebody tells me, likeI tell somebody my story and what actually happened and everything and how things went, they may not relate to the part of being sexually abused, but they might relate to the part being physically abused.
Or they might not relate to any of the abusing part, but they can relate to thesuicide attempt. Harming themselves. So like everything that I've been through, I feel like somebody has gone through it at least once. It might not be the whole thing, but it might be one little specific thing.
Might be being bullied at school. Might be like starting to take medications. Itcould be like ADHD, is that what it's called? Like whenever you have like take meds and everything? So like I don't know. It's just like you can always relate no matter what. Okay. 01:04:00
Misa, Interview...:Okay. I'm sorry
Misa, Interview...:In espanol?
hector:en Atlanta, Georgia. in Hendersonville?
Misa, Interview...:nombre in espanol?
Misa, Interview...:In Ingles?
hector:I don't know how to say sassy in Spanish. Un poco fresa. Un poquitofresa. I don't ... I'm trying to think of what I said in English to see if I can translate it. But I forgot what I said in English.
Misa, Interview...:I think. I'm not sure.
hector:Muy poquito. Le pera.
Misa, Interview...:That's the one.
Misa, Interview...:I wanted to say that.
hector:Oh my gosh.
Misa, Interview...:En donde vives?
Misa, Interview...:Maso menos. Porque maso menos?
Misa, Interview...:Mm-hmm (affirmative)?
Misa, Interview...:Si. Porque?
hector:I'm very sour.
Misa, Interview...:Latina o Americana?01:08:00
hector:Las tradiciones. You know like las quincenearas and like los tamales.Like those cosas festivales. That's what you asked, right?
hector:That's what you asked?
Misa, Interview...:Mm-hmm (affirmative).
hector:Okay. I was going to ... I forgot what the question was so it's like-
Misa, Interview...:What cultural parts do you like about being Mexican?
hector:Okay, yeah. So like.01:09:00
hector:Si. cinco anos. Si.
hector:Like I don't know. It's just like it's all diferente. Yeah. Like comidasmas authentica. all diferente. 01:10:00
Misa, Interview...:[Spanish]. He say wow. [Spanish].
hector:Less pollution. So [Spanish].
hector:[Spanish]. I don't know. [Spanish]. Anyways. [Spanish]. Sucks in the01:12:00juice or like sucks in the ... I don't know what I'm trying to say. Anyway, la tortillas [Spanish]. 01:13:00
hector:No, not Fluffy. It's very, I guess you could say, weak. Like it breaks easily.
hector:But it [Spanish] diferente like la leche. [Spanish].
hector:En Mexico? [Spanish].
Misa, Interview...:Oh. It's in the details.
Misa, Interview...:Oh yeah.
hector:[Spanish]. You hear this?01:15:00
hector:Mm-hmm (affirmative). [Spanish].01:16:00
hector:Chiquito. Maso menos. [Spanish].
Misa, Interview...:Oh okay.
hector:Oh no. [Spanish].
Misa, Interview...:[Spanish] the atmosphere the-
hector:Oh the atmosphere.
Misa, Interview...:The vibe.
hector:Oh the vibe. Okay, I was like what is that? I've never heard that word.
Misa, Interview...:Any smells that you-
Misa, Interview...:[Spanish] let me know?
Misa, Interview...:Okay. [Spanish]?
Misa, Interview...:En Mexico?
hector:[Spanish] mm-hmm (affirmative).
hector:Like are you trying to say like what I like about the holidays that we celebrate?
Misa, Interview...:Yeah, in the U.S.
Misa, Interview...:And if there's any difference between the U.S. holidays andthe Mexican holidays?
hector:Yep. [Spanish]. How do you say holiday in Spanish again?
hector:Yeah, la celebraciones [Spanish]. I don't know like Memorial Day.[Spanish]. And Labor Day [Spanish] red, white and blue. It's 4th of July, Labor Day and Memorial Day. And I'm just like okay. I mean [Spanish].
hector:[Spanish], okay. And there's St. Patrick's Day?
hector:[Spanish]. April, May, Cinco de Mayo. [Spanish]. I don't think there'sanything in June. But yeah, July's 4th of July.
Misa, Interview...:Y Navidad?
hector:Navidad [Spanish] diferente.
hector:Yeah, it's Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
hector:Si. So like I guess at Christmas Eve, [Spanish].
Misa, Interview...:No? [Spanish]?
Misa, Interview...:Oh God. I wish.
hector:Mm-hmm (affirmative). Si, bien maduro. Is that even a word maduro? Yeah,okay. I was like wait did I just like make it up and make it like masculine. [Spanish]. So like do it again?
hector:Oh si. [Spanish]. How do you say obstacles?
hector:Obstacles, uh huh (affirmative). [Spanish].
hector:Okay. Muchas gracias.
Misa, Interview...:Gracias a ti.