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The Gates

One of the gates
into the garden
is never locked.
Let’s go.

Sun, Oct 15, 2017 | Model info | Footnotes
Uriel is 24, from Mexico City, a city filled with immense culture and beautiful colors and every kind of person you can imagine (in a city of 22 million, perhaps that is not so hard to believe). I have commented on some of the harsher realities of living in this city as a female, constantly feeling like a rabbit caught in a hawk's gaze if we choose to navigate the city with exposed skin. What I haven't commented on yet is another side of that story, which is to be a gay male amidst a population that is reaching forward but still is in many ways firmly planted in machismo culture. Early in my days in this city, I found myself crying as I wandered the streets after a failed shopping trip, feeling defeated with a dead cell phone and not sure where my home was. The thing is, I am allowed to do that without much question, cry in the streets, for crying is a feminine attribute that is perfectly acceptable for a female. And I wonder what it would be like to feel feminine as a male in this city now, especially after meeting Uriel, an unapologetically fabulous gay man with a spirit the size of Jupiter, rivalled by his refreshing and magnetic openness as his most pronounced quality. As we entered the scene of the photo shoot after he went in my bathroom to change from pants to a skirt, he told me how right it feels for him to wear a skirt, and how he relishes in the chance to express his femininity. I imagine that is because to wear a skirt regularly in public as a gay man could be a hazard, so he usually has to repress that side of him. I don't want to make it sound as if he could never do it, but any reservations he might feel are founded in the city's too slowly dying machismo culture that could easily arrive to literally break his knees. That's a worst-case scenario. More likely, wearing that skirt he would feel the whole world watching him with heavy, judgemental eyes, a kind of energy that is hard to grapple with when you are just going out into the public world to pick up some groceries. Part of it is simply because society is not accustomed to men in skirts; still the majority of the attention would without a doubt be negative. I witnessed it first hand, and we hadn't even left my building. While our original plan was to go to a gorgeous little plaza for the photoshoot (I only sensed a moment of hesitation from him or else I wouldn't have suggested it), when I saw the color of the skirt in person, I changed plans and we headed up to my roof because of the way the colors would accent one another. Still, upon arrival back into my apartment afterward, a crew of guys were hanging getting ready to go to a party, and their gazes upon Uriel were felt even by me. While they are a friendly and open bunch, they still couldn't help but awkwardly try not to stare at a man in a skirt--which goes to show that even the people in society that would never present harm to Uriel are still part of what makes him uncomfortable to live as freely as he would like. Let me tell you, throughout our late afternoon photoshoot on the rooftop in the center of Mexico City, he was in the zone, free and happy and relaxed, and I felt freer just being around him that way. He is not only a sweet and sensitive and beautiful soul on the inside, but a captivatingly gorgeous physical being as well. He shines bright like a motherfucking diamond in every direction.

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