Dear Andy, I’m afraid I’ll end up like my mother with an abusive man like my father. I’m a 35-year-old gay male and I have always been a mama’s boy. In the right light, I look like my mother, I even sound like her. I’m a bit feminine but not enough to confuse me with a woman, but enough to be called ma’am on the phone. Before my ex broke up with me ten years ago, he said that I was just like my mother, in character, in action, even in attitude. I told him in anger that he’s just like my father, verbally abusive, uncaring, cheating, and self-righteous, except that my ex wasn’t a Mexican macho. At that moment I realized that he was right, I am like my mother and he was like my father, in many ways.  Since then I have not dated, I have not sought a lover and I’m afraid of doing so. I don’t want to be like my mother whose home alone all the time, waiting for my father to come home from being with one of his many mistresses, one who happens to be my best friend’s ex-sister-in-law. Will I ever find true love and not be like my mother?

–Nino Triste

Dear Nino Triste,

I can relate to your plight in so many ways. It’s not easy being a Mexican and being gay. It’s not easy trying to live in a conventional Mexican home in the United States and not have to deal with Machismo at its core when one is gay. Especially when the father is abusive. The main reason that we seek men that are just like our fathers, it’s because that’s who we grew up with. That’s all we know. Our first love is our father who gave us everything we wanted, protected us in their own Macho ways.

Our fathers probably come from a long line of Mexican men who worked in the fields, traded merchandise, and had no respect for women. They worked the land, came home took off their boots by the door, their pants on the way to the bathroom, walked around in their dirty underwear and sat at the kitchen table waiting to be served. The wife washed his feet, brought his food to the table, poured his beer, and sat there waiting for him to finish eating and picked up after him as he leaves to the living room to rest. Once he was out of the kitchen his wife could feed the brew of children, herself, clean after everyone.

This is what our fathers learned how to treat women and their children. It isn’t until recently that we have seen that vicious cycle break. Here’s your opportunity to do that. Find a different male role model and live a happy life. Just because your mother chooses to live in hell, doesn’t mean you have to too. Your mother probably didn’t have the option in choosing a mate. Her background was probably the same. Take a look at your family tree and see how many broke the cycle. Talk to them and see how they can help you break yours. No one should live in an abusive relationship.

Remember, you have options that your parents didn’t have before. It’s up to you to choose those actions and became a better man. Don’t forget to love yourself, regardless of what your parents say or don’t say.

Be happy, be free, be no longer the Nino Triste, but the Nino Feliz.