By Jyllian Roach, Editor-in-Chief
Editor’s note: this interview was originally three and a half hours in length. For space concerns the interview was edited to include only the most relevant information.
Sexual identification is a personal and often varied thing. The CNM Chronicle sat down with a group of people with varying sexual backgrounds to discuss what life is like for them as people in Albuquerque.
How did you realize what your sexual identity was?
Sarvis: “I was eight or nine. I first realized I wasn’t straight actually watching “Star Trek: Voyager” and I realized I wanted to be with Seven-of-Nine and Captain Janeway. I don’t think I really knew what it meant though until about middle school.”
Jensen: “Well I would say it’s kind of weird for me because I, I thought I was straight until I was 31 years old, but I always knew that I found men – certain men – were attractive without being attracted to them.
It wasn’t until I had a same-sex experience when I was 31 that I was like ‘oh. This is not nearly as bad as I would’ve thought.
When I first realized I could be sexually attracted to men I was like ‘I’m gay then,’ but then I was like ‘no, I’m not gay. I love women. I love having sex with women.
I think women are gorgeous’ and that’s when I was like ‘Ohhh. You can be bisexual.’ Then I realized that I’m more interested in relationships with men than women. So I’m bisexual leaning more toward men, now.”
Galvez: “When I grew up, you just were and nobody and you were expected to have specific roles.
So from really young – I had a mock wedding at six – so from a really young age I just always identified as heterosexual, although I do think many very women are attractive. That’s just kind of how it’s always been.
I don’t think I ever really had this dawning of ‘I just want to be with men’ it’s just always been that way.
Silva: “I kind of feel the same way. I can’t really pinpoint at what are or certain moment in life where I said ‘Yeah, I’m straight now’ but I can identify beauty in both sexes. Even though I’m not gay and don’t have any tendencies I can see men and see beauty of a physical body or whatever.”
Slattery: “For me, I knew on some level from about the age of four. I didn’t actually, and then I started cross-dressing secretly when I was about 13.
I grew up in a very conservative religion in a small town so it actually took me longer to realize than it would have, because I had gotten the impression that if I was transsexual I had to be attracted to men and I’m not very much.
I had a friend whose boyfriend was also Trans and I didn’t know this until early college, but I ended having talks about it.
When I was 20 I finally had private internet access so I looked and I was like ‘Wow, so there’s a lot more variation here and it’s allowed. Ok good.’
The other thing is, I don’t know that the church I grew up in has this formal of a stance on it but I always figured that if I even acknowledged it I was going to go to hell.
When I was 21 I spent a week where I did nothing but try to figure this out, praying, being willing to accept and then basically it was like ‘Oh yeah, I am a woman.’
I didn’t go fulltime until I was 29 but I came out to my parents about a year after I figured it out. It is probably worth noting that the only relationship I’ve had happened after I went full time.”
Wells: “Basically since I was little I’ve felt different but I could never figure out in what way it was just a lingering feeling. I was raised Jehovah’s Witness which might explain –“
Galvez: “The rebellion?”
Wells: “Fallen angel all the way. Personally, I didn’t do much dressing up when I was young. At a certain point in my life I met someone who let me know that she, as a woman, thought it was incredibly sexy to see a man with certain features in panties, stockings, garter belts, so on and so forth.
Personally, any time I’ve dressed up – for me, it’s the clothes. Oh god. But really, I’ve never felt right putting on make-up and a wig in a male body because this is my male body.
I feel comfortable with clothing it feels really nice on your skin. So very recently what I’ve been talking about and thinking about for a very long time I realized that it’s ok, I realized the fact that I’m heterosexual and Trans.
I don’t like who I have to portray as a man, it’s not me, I want to be sensitive.”
Silva: “So you’re attracted to women and you’ve going to have the surgery?”
Wells: “Not fully. I love my penis. It’s so awesome to just stand up and stare at the night sky while you’re peeing. It also has other advantages.”
Galvez: “So what is it that you’re planning to do? Is it a partial transition?”
Wells: “Yeah. In about a year, I’m going to start hormones. I’m going to see my doctor in April and I’m going to start therapy which is required to take hormones.
Ogden: “I really can’t give you a pinpoint; I just always knew I wasn’t like the rest of the boys.”
de la Cruz: “I can pretty much pinpoint the exact moment. I was in catechism because I was brought up Roman Catholic. Going through the first Holy Communion things and there was this nun and she was so banging.
She was just gorgeous; I was just really drawn to her for some reason. That was the moment. I still sleep with men sometimes, but having a relationship with men, I’ve tried.
But it’s just not there. As far as coming out and stuff, I really didn’t need to because I have friends over, the door would be locked. My mom is totally cool with everything. My sister and I are both gay and my other sister just got married to a man.”
Silva: “Something I don’t understand is that you identify as lesbian but you said you enjoy having sex with men. Doesn’t that make you lesbian?”
de la Cruz: “No. That’s the thing. I’ve tried dating guys. Identify as lesbian because I have relationships with women.”
Jensen: “Whereas I, there is a 99.5557 percent chance that I will never be in a relationship with a woman again, but I identify as bisexual because there’s no word like homo-relationship or homo-amorous. But I consider myself bisexual because I enjoy sex with both.”
Wells: “There are so many labels. There’s no way to look at another person for the first time and not have a snap judgment as to something about them.”
What have your experiences been as far as negativity goes?
Ogden: “I was in this sort of redneck town, working at a restaurant and I never had a problem until I worked a few graveyard shifts. The drunken cowboys would come in.
One night, this guy was talking s**t – and he wasn’t even in my section— he could just see me.
Another server came to me and said ‘Evan, stay away from that table. They’re saying a lot of f**ked up s**t about you. I’m like ‘I wasn’t gonna go over there; I’m busy over here.’
After that, I wasn’t allowed to work graveyards anymore. Because of them. The general manager said ‘Evan, I don’t want you to work graveyards anymore. I know you were just filling in a shift and being nice, but I don’t want you to do it anymore, because of this incident.’ There was no incident.
The only other time I had a problems is when I was managing one night at another restaurant.
Another gay guy was serving and there were problems with rednecks giving