Connect with us

Arts & Entertainment

Heavy pages

Latino gay memoir brief but searing



Autobiography of My Hungers, book, Rigoberto Gonzalez, gay news, Washington Blade
Autobiography of My Hungers, book, Rigoberto Gonzalez, gay news, Washington Blade

Latino gay memoir, ‘Autobiography of My Hungers,’ is brief but searing. (Image courtesy University of Wisconsin Press)

‘Autobiography of My Hungers’
By Rigoberto Gonzalez
University of Wisconsin Press
113 pages

Your life is full.

The days are packed with work. Evenings are crammed with home, hobbies and relaxation. Weekends? Well, there’s nothing left of those, between friends and family, travel, shopping and chores.

Yes, your life is full — and yet sometimes you notice a lingering feeling of something missing. In “Autobiography of My Hungers” by Rigoberto González, you’ll see that you’re not the only one with holes in your heart.

When he was a young boy living with his family in Mexico, Rigoberto González remembers that his kitchen job was to separate the piedrita (pebbles) from the beans before his mother put them in the pot. He “enjoyed … the small stones” then. Piedrita followed him into adulthood.

Back then, he was his parents’ oldest child, but he was close to his Abuelo and Abuela. The entire family was poor, but they “were not going to starve, despite what Abuelo had said the week before.” Despite their poverty, his Abuela made sacrifices for him, especially after the family moved El Norte (north, to America). Her gifts were something González didn’t fully understand until many years later.

He did understand loss, however, starting with the loss of his mother, who returned from California to Mexico to die. González was still a child, missing his mother, and that, too, was something he didn’t fully appreciate until he was a man.

Following his mother’s death and his father’s remarriage and subsequent departure, Gonzalez continued to live with his grandparents in a tiny apartment, where all the home’s residents slept in one room. He went to school, but felt out of place, with one foot in Mexico and one in his new country.

He was devastated when his family moved back south, leaving him to finish school in New York alone. Still, college was where he found a girlfriend and came to terms with his “hungry gay body.” It was there that he tried to commit suicide, tried to starve himself, felt unloved and came to terms with memories of embarrassment in childhood and the hurt he held from his abusive, alcoholic father.

And New York, post-college, was where he came to realize that he could fall in love too quickly with a man, but “if the waters got rough, I could always beat him to the exit.”

Looking for a quick little pick-me-up read? You’d be half right with this book.

Yes, “Autobiography of My Hungers” is skinny and, at less than 120 pages (most of them, partially filled), it’ll be a quick book for most to finish.

But short doesn’t necessarily mean lite. Author Gonzalez brings a deep, soul-crushing sadness to the pages which gives the book a gravitas that belies its length.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Out & About

DC Center to host estate planning seminar series

Three sessions presented by Murray Scheel



The DC Center hosts a series of talks on end-of-life planning next week.

The DC Center for the LGBT Community and the DC Department on Aging and Community Living will host “Estate Planning Tools with Murray Scheel” via Zoom. 

Scheel will walk guests through the process of taking care of the end-of-life planning business that needs to be addressed during the golden years. Scheel is Senior Staff Attorney at Whitman-Walker Health’s Legal Services.

This event series will consist of three 1.5-hour sessions:

Jan. 19, 3 p.m. – “Tools for while you’re living” (overview, general power of attorney, healthcare power of attorney, disposition of remains, etc.)

Jan. 26, 3 p.m. – “Tools for after you’re gone” (living wills, last wills, assets, etc.)

Feb. 2, 3 p.m. – “Healthcare insurance & long term care” (Medicare, Medicaid, correcting misinformation, skilled nursing, hospice care, etc.)

To register for this event, visit the DC Center website.

Continue Reading

Out & About

DC Center to host legal seminar for trans people

Attorney Richard Tappan and paralegal Miranda Shipman to give legal advice



The DC Center for the LGBT Community will host a “Gender and Name Change Legal Seminar” on Wednesday, Jan. 19 at 5:30 p.m. online. 

Attorney Richard Tappan and paralegal Miranda Shipman will give legal advice and speak on the importance of the legal community within the LGBTQ community, the difficulties of the LGBTQ community in the legal field and name and gender changes. 

Guests can find the link at the DC Center website.

Continue Reading


Seeking love and community in Nicaragua

‘High-Risk Homosexual’ explores author’s youth, coming out



(Book cover image courtesy of Soft Skill Press)

High-Risk Homosexual: A Memoir
By Edgar Gomez
c.2022, Soft Skull Press
$16.95/304 pages

Here. Try this.

It fits you, but the color isn’t flattering. It’s too long, too short, too tight, too loose. That’s not your style, so try something else until you find the thing that looks like you. The perfect thing is out there. As in the new book “High-Risk Homosexual” by Edgar Gomez, when something’s right, it’s right.

He was 13 when he figured out that he was a problem to be solved.

Edgar Gomez’ mother had left him in her native Nicaragua with his tíos, just for a while because she had to return to Florida to work. He wasn’t there without her for long, but it took years for him to understand that his time with his uncles was meant to make him more masculine.

In retrospect, he says, nobody wanted him to be a man more than he did. He wanted to be liked by other kids and so he told lies in school to make himself stand out. He wanted his mother to see his love of pretty things and say that it was OK. He wanted his brother to acknowledge that Gomez was gay, and to tell him that he loved him.

Instead, after his brother left for college, Gomez got his first boyfriend, a boy he came out to but who couldn’t come out to himself. He was called names in school. He came out to his mother, who freaked out about it. He befriended a drag queen, but “Princess” used him.

Things he wanted: a real boyfriend. Love. A ban on the stereotype of a macho Latinx man.

Things he still had, while in college: his mother and older brother. A tormentor-turned-mentor. A part-time job. His weirdness. His virginity.

Things he wanted to lose, while in college: his room at his mother’s house. His virginity, but that wouldn’t happen until later, during a painful one-afternoon-stand with a hot man who said he had a girlfriend. That hurt, both physically and emotionally but like so many things at so many times, Gomez tried not to think about it.

If he never considered what he didn’t have, he says, “I wouldn’t miss it.”

In a way, you could say that “High-Risk Homosexual” is a book in search of a point. It’s really quite random and told (mostly) linearly, but not quite. It has its peaks, but also low valleys. And you won’t care about any of this, because you’ll be enjoying every bit of it.

Yeah, this memoir is good: author Edgar Gomez’s literary wandering makes it feel much like an honest conversation with readers. There are wince-worthy moments that allow empathy here, and experiences that are unique but oddly ubiquitous, that leave space for a sense of sympatico. There are passages that are so wistfully uncomfortable that you might squirm, or start “snort-laughing,” or want to stop a moment and just think.

And there’s room for that, too, so take your time. “High-Risk Homosexual” is an affable book with just enough seriousness to make it worth a try.

Continue Reading

Follow Us @washblade

Sign Up for Blade eBlasts