gay | J.LO | The Johnny Lopez

https://hornet.com/stories/maricon-proud/

by Johnny Lopez

Maricón. It’s a derogatory Spanish word that I, like most gay Latin boys, know far too well.

As a kid, I heard it on the street. I heard it from people I knew. I even heard it at home via Spanish-language television. Whenever I heard it — even when it wasn’t being hurled directly at me — it made me feel small, ashamed and less than. It’s a word I could never really shake off.

Growing up, I was also frightened by the partner-in-crime of maricón, “faggot.” He came around a bunch too, but mostly in the schoolyard.

The Big F was extra loud and obnoxious, so I could usually see him coming and find ways to avoid the line of fire. Unlike Señor M, I knew that Big F had little chance of showing up in my safe spaces or in the middle of my abuelita’s Telemundo soap operas. Señor M was stealthy, and always looming, ready to expose, ridicule or worse.

During my time in the closet, Señor M made sure I stayed locked away in the dark. He kept me in check, on alert and miserable. He made sure I was punished whenever I was overly expressive, played with my sister’s Barbies or hung out with the neighborhood girls instead of the boys. Even worse, Señor M threatened to tip off my parents about my dirty little secret.

Unbeknownst to me, the bastard was also a pretty effective teacher. By the time I got to college, all of his lessons had been fully mastered; I scored straight As in both Suffering in Silence 101 and Denying Yourself Happiness. Now the only person beating me up was myself.

This internal war went on for several more years, continuing to rob me of joy, love and romance.

Then one day, at the point of exhaustion from repeatedly fighting off my persecutor, I surrendered. Taking a deep breath, I turned to my Cuban-born parents and simply said, “Soy gay.” I exhaled for what felt like the first time in my life, unleashed a deluge of tears and collapsed into my mother’s loving arms. I had survived the worst and made it to the other side. I thought I was free.

As most in the LGBT community know, coming out is an ongoing process that extends well beyond the moment you first announce who you are. It took me years to garner the strength to accept and reveal my truth, but it would take even more years to undo the residual shame, internalized homophobia and general feelings of unworthiness that came from being bullied by this slur.

Even after all of my work over the last two decades, living my best life as my authentic self, I realized I was still under the tyranny of my captor. I could still hear that Spanish voice telling me to dim my light in order to make others feel more comfortable. I could still hear that voice calling me maricón.

So this year, I finally said enough. Enough to this one-word childhood oppressor. Enough to these seven letters (accent on the ‘o’) that continued to have a hold on me as an adult. Enough to feeling small, ashamed or less than.

This year, feeling louder and prouder than ever (the one positive effect of being subjected to this relentlessly vulgar, corrupt, backward and vehemently anti-LGBT administration), I chose to unravel the grip of Señor M once and for all.

This year I chose to reclaim the word for myself, and reclaim my time (thanks, Auntie Maxine) under its torment. This year, maricón, I chose to stand tall in my rainbow socks and finally own you!

Words have power, but so do I.

 

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This week SCREAMING INTO TRAFFIC goes nude with Orlando Bieber Melania, gay for Tyler Posey & crazy for those killer Suicide Squad reviews. So fire up the Zika shots, whip out your best Olympic drag & lip sync for your legacy with us, Gorge!

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My top 10 televised moments which ran in Frontiers Magazine.

600-TV

With apologies to Honey Boo Boo and Kris Jenner’s evil empire, these were the year’s best televised moments.

10. THE MILEY CYRUS REINVENTION TOUR

Whether twerking at the VMAs, smoking a blunt at the EMAs or flashing her adorable pussy at the AMAs, 20-year-old reformed Disney baby Miley Cyrus had everyone sticking their tongues out as she shed her skin while simultaneously committing murder on awards show stages around the world. RIP, Hannah Montana.

9. SHARKNADO!

Just when you thought it was safe to never see another Tara Reid movie, Sharknado happened. Syfy channel’s awesomely terrible B-movie about a freak storm that causes shark-infested tornadoes to ravage Los Angeles was absolutely the best comedy of the summer. Unfortunately, the CGI unearthed to help Ian Ziering hack his way out of a great white’s belly still wasn’t as cheesy as his hair on Beverly Hills, 90210.

8. THE SOUND OF MUSIC LIVE

The hills were alive with the sound of everyone throwing shade at Carrie Underwood’s acting. Despite her line-reading skills, NBC pulled off the impossible and made three hours of live musical theater “Must-See TV.” The fact that it was a ratings hit assures that we’re about a year or two away from watching Mandy Moore and Ashanti in Cats. Now and forever!

7. THE GOLDEN GLOBES

Every awards show needs more T&A—Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. The reigning queens of comedy hysterically ripped on everyone from James Cameron to James Franco and even managed the perfect closing line after a certain rambling quasi-coming out speech—“Good night, everybody. We’re going home with Jodie Foster.” The ladies are hosting next month’s Globes, and chances are their sequel will be even better than the first.

6. THE RISE OF NETFLIX ORIGINALS

This year Netflix started creating original content, and it had the likes of HBO and AMC shaking in their critically acclaimed series’ boots. With all-new episodes of House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black available at once, Netflix changed the television programming landscape and made binge watching more fun than binge drinking. Cheers to Season 2!

5. THE BEYONCÉ BOWL

Following in Madonna’s footsteps, Beyoncé brought 13 minutes of fierceness—and hordes of gay viewers—to the most-watched television program of the year, the Super Bowl. Throw in a Destiny’s Child reunion featuring Kelly and Michelle shooting up from under the stage and we’ll let slide that Mrs. Carter had the nerve to end her weave-tastic performance with a ballad. I can see your hell no!

4. GIRLS: ONE MAN’S TRASH

You know, the one where Lena Dunham played ping pong with Patrick Wilson in the nude—and everyone shrieked.  After getting past the misogynistic rants of how unrealistic a coupling it was, this fantasy episode took a break from Hannah’s usual narcissism and entitlement to perfectly highlight the vulnerability, hopes and insecurities so prevalent in one’s 20s. If you don’t think a guy would sleep with someone half his age who isn’t the standard notion of beauty and who just happens to show up at his front door, you’ve obviously never used Grindr.

3. AMERICAN HORROR STORY: COVEN

What AHS lacks in scares this season is more than made up for by showcasing three stellar actresses at the top of their game (Jessica Lange, Angela Bassett, Kathy Bates) battling it out Drag Race-style for the best lines with even better wigs. Throw in the amazing Lily Rabe and a landslide of Stevie Nicks adulation and you’ll see why this season is supreme.

2. PROP. 8 PLAINTIFFS MARRY

The roller coaster ride that was the Prop. 8 case received the storybook ending we all dreamed of when local news stations aired outgoing L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa marrying plaintiffs Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo live on June 28. For once there was a reality show we could be proud to watch.

1. THE RED WEDDING

Speaking of weddings, the most controversial one of the year did not involve a Supreme Court case or same-sex couples. In one of the most violent and brutal episodes to air on television, HBO’s Game of Thrones killed off a slew of main characters and dethroned Dynasty’s “Moldavian Massacre” for bloodiest wedding reception ever. The Red Wedding is the only thing—on TV, at least—that will leave you gagging from getting so much head.