It is my intention in this digital space and place to express my authentic self clearly and verbally in order to courageously give a voice and message which is unique and purposeful. I am the Two Spirit Indian child taking on women’s tradition in ceremonies. I am the Queer Child of MY Chican@ family-the one who shakes up and challenges Masculinities. I am not the first, I am not the only, nor am I the last. I am Damien Paul Montano and I am a senior at Cal State University, Fullerton. Here, I come humbly to this technological BARRiO in order to exchange the power of the palabra con personas como ustedes. It is here where I will bring to the foreground that which has been silenced, ignored, and forgotten.

Throughout my life I have been heavily influenced by Chol@ culture. Most of us Chican@s can relate to having “those cousins” who within the cultura and family are stigmatized and labeled as being Chol@s. My grandma would see my cousin applying lipstick and reminisce of her Pachuca cousins she remembers “being scared of” because of their tough look. My father was involved in law enforcement for over 25 years and I was on over surveillance in my teenage years for dress, language, style, music, and anything that associated with gang culture. I could never buy Nike Cortes, “Rollin Hard” t-shirts, and my dad didn’t approve of what he would call “gang attire”. Going to family gatherings how I looked was an issue.

On top of identifying and being attracted with this culture, I was also beginning to identify with Queer culture. Both have often been referred to as kinds of counter cultures which conflict with mainstream ideals. My Queer identity was so repressed, and looking like a cholo allowed me to perform a masculine identity while repressing my innate feminine characteristics. Being attracted to Vatos, not the beautiful women on the ranfla of the impala posed so many questions in my mind. I used to think “Chol@s cannot be gay”, and I thought this because of everything that I had been told about Chol@s throughout my life both inside and outside of my culture…


About ocbarrios

Professor for Cal State Fullerton's Barrio Studies class for Fall 2011 semester

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