As Chican@s and as LGBTQ peoples, our roots are Indigenous to these lands from which our ancestors sprung forth. Our sexuality as an indigenous people has been repressed since the invasion of the Americas, and we see the effects of the colonial wound manifested today in the treatment of Queer individuals and how they HIDE in every Barrio. The ways in which society AND our own cultura view “homosexuality” is based off of a colonized model/cycle and an over-surveillance of the Brown body which has viciously been repeated for 500+ years.
One of the main justifications for the conquest was to “conquer” the “immoral heathen sexuality” of the indigenous populations of Turtle Island (America).Indigenous Nations across what is today called the United States always had the presence of our Two Spirit peoples known in each tribe and nation, and given a role and status. These two spirit people were what today are called LGBTQ. These were spiritual leaders who were male but took female roles in the community ruled over counsel, spiritual ceremonies, chanting. The women who took on men’s role and status appropriated the bow and arrow, the hunt, leading tribes and nations through diplomacy, and the like. We never had to hide in our ancient Barrios.
Today in many ways carrying on the Two-Spirit tradition many Lesbian Chicanas have taken on the Baggy Shorts, pulled up tube socks with Nike Cortes, and pressed and creased flannels. But with Gay Chicanos, besides the finely tweezed eyebrows, instead we have seen an over performance of masculinity or “machismo” displayed to cast shadows of doubt in the minds of anyone who questions their sexuality. Men/Chicanos/Cholos are extremely oppressed within a patriarchal and heterosexual society which is constantly making projections about them and restricting them to “Macho” stereotypes. For every community that Two-Spirits were apart of they had a role and a purpose to play in their society. Queer Cholos have their role to play in Chican@ Barrios across this slice of sweet citrus by reinstituting a feminine/Queer balance within the hearts of the Barrios inhabitants.
In order for Queer Chican@s to manifest their presence in the Barrio, we must re-appropriate EVERYTHING that we have been taught about our sexualities from the outside community and from our own communities as well. We are colonized people and it is not our fault. It is our fault when we are made aware of a particular issue and we make a conscious choice to ignore it. Gloria Anzaldua says, “The painful thing about knowing is that once it happens I can’t go back to not knowing. I am no longer the person I was before. No hay mas que cambiar.”