Sunday, July 23, 2017

Spotlight: Franco – A Local’s Views on the LGBT Community in Argentina

Do you know what being bi-curious means? Until recently, neither did I, but here's Franco, who explains to us what it means to be bi-curious and gives us an insight into the LGBT community in Argentina.
1) Tell us a little about yourself.
Hi! My name is Franco, I was born in Córdoba and raised in Buenos Aires. I'm 21 years old. I study programming and German. And I spend most of my time hanging out with friends and working as a volunteer for an English conversation group here in Córdoba. 

2) Give me your definition of bi-curious. What does it mean? How is it different from just being bisexual or just curious about same sex relationships?  
What bi-curious means is something I learned rather recently. The way I see it, a bi-curious person is someone who can't define themselves as bisexual just yet, but that suspects they might be. For instance I consider myself bi-curious because I could say I enjoy watching straight porn, especially when a monster cock is involved lol. 

3) How do you feel with your straight friends versus your gay friends? Are you more comfortable with gays than straight? Or do you feel comfortable with both? 
Comfort is something I definitely value a lot. So I’ve got to say I feel comfortable around all my friends. The difference is the topic of the conversation. I feel comfortable talking about anything, but my gay friends are more accepting of my taste in men for example. Whereas if I were to talk about my taste in men with my straight male friends they would feel a little awkward. Either way, I say too bad. If we come across a hot guy or a hot girl, I'm going to say something, regardless of who I am with. 

4) Do your friends know about your bi-curious nature? 
Only some. Mostly my gay friends and my female straight friends. 

5) When it comes to labels, is Argentina as obsessed with them as some other countries are? For example in the States, you're not just American, you're Irish-American, Cuban-American, African-American, Asian-American, gay, bi, pan, trans, etc.? 
In Argentina no one cares about labels. We care so little about it that we call white guys and black guys "negro", skinny and fat people "Gordo" (which means fat), etc. Only the whiter people enjoy talking and finding out about where they come from because they know they must be European descendants, ugh. 

6) Do you know of other bi-curious people? Have you ever felt the need to look for others who feel the way you do? 
My ex-girlfriend is bi-curious and yes, it was nice knowing someone like me. However, I've never found any male bi curious person. I bet we would get along. 

7) Do you think it would be difficult to find other people who are bi-curious or gay in general? Is there an LGBT group or community center that you can go to for guidance? 
Mmm... I think that what we lack in Córdoba is a place where the LGBT community can communicate or meet without a looking-for-sex approach. But then again, I've never really looked for this kind of place, so it's only my opinion based on what I've heard. 

8) Was there ever a time when you encountered someone who wasn't tolerant or understanding of your bi-curious nature? I have come across people who give me "the look" when I say something nice about a person of the same sex. And I have honestly even bothered trying to explain to them that there's nothing wrong with saying that a man is cute even if you yourself are a man. For example by asking them what the difference is between saying "my friend is handsome" and the acceptable-apparently-not-gay phrase: "yo mah boy's looking bigggg" when you want to compliment a friend for being muscular. They never know what to say. 

9) Have you always felt comfortable in your own skin as a bi-curious man? 
Of course I feel comfortable. It's like being able to speak another language without even practicing. I can understand the gay and the straight language and make both types of people comfortable by connecting with them, which has got me many friends throughout the years. 

10) Do you think people in Argentina are more accepting and tolerant of people in the LGBT community? 
I mean, I may be biased because I'm Argentine, but you can never compare a country like the United States with Argentina in terms of acceptance towards minorities. Why? Because to us the fact that there's people who would kill other people because of their sexual orientation is just crazy. We don't understand it. There may be some Argentine people who dislike seeing men holding hands on the street (mostly old people), but the thought of killing them would never cross their minds. 

11) Growing up in Argentina, how were you raised to view homosexuality? (example: It's a sin or it's okay) 
This is rather general. There are many ways to be brought up in Argentina. In my own experience, I've been lucky enough to get to know many different contexts without being completely devoted to anything. I grew up being Catholic, went to a public primary school, then to a private and religious secondary school... Honestly, it feels as if no one had ever told me anything about homosexual people. No one (that I can remember) ever told me how I should treat gay people. Not in church, not at school, and definitely not at home. I guess being gay was only a joke in my younger years until we all grew up and understood it's a sexual orientation, and after that no more jokes. When it comes to violence, the few episodes I can remember had to do with kids bullying other kids for "looking gay" rather than for "being gay". Almost as if it was wrong only because you wouldn't accept it. And let me tell you an interesting detail that I am thinking about right now: I bet that in that religious private school there were far more homosexuals than in the public schools. Why? Because they all were these typical fuck boys who loved touching each other, either with hugs or by punching each other, but as an adult now, I can tell that's repressed homosexual behavior. 

12) What was your first exposure to gay culture? (For example: Through a TV show, books, comics, movie, a personal experience with another member of the LGBT community?) 
I could never go back in time far enough to remember that, but it's likely to have been through Cartoon Network. Only back then I probably didn't understand what being gay meant. When I was younger, we would yell "gay" at someone if they acted "girly", and I bet this would happen because of some resemblance with some cartoon we had watched.  

13) If you ever found yourself in a same sex relationship, how do you think your family would react? 
My mother would approve. My grandma would act like most old people and be disgusted. I would lose some of my cousins' respect (which I'd be fine with btw). And my uncles would probably be a little disappointed at first, but then would support me. 

14) Were you taught about sex, STDs, and how to use protection (like with condoms)? If yes, what grade (year) was sex education applied to the curriculum? 
I was taught this for only a year, and teachers were never able to teach it without making us cringe, which is understandable. But I'm sure a good teacher could've done better. We were taught this at around the age of 13 or 14. 

15) How safe do you think members of the LGBT community are in Argentina? (For example, is gay bashing or murder a high risk in Argentina?) 
Like I said before, compared to the States, Argentina is a paradise of acceptance; unless you're from another South American country (because we're a tiny bit xenophobic). I'd say to any LGBT member that your sexual orientation is not a factor that will contribute to you being murdered in Argentina. Argentina is not the safest place in the world but love for people of the same sex does not make you a target.


Franco, thank you so much for being so open about your views for this interview. Your answers will surely help others who are living in countries where it's not safe to be a member of the LGBT community, and are looking to migrate to a country that is as open-minded and welcoming as Argentina.