by Ben Harlan of La Casita Louisville
TW: Violence against queer and Latinx people. Having grown up and lived in Orlando, Edgar regularly visited Pulse nightclub and talks about the impact the shooting had on the queer community there.
If you happen to be AMAB and have sex with men, when you hear “high-risk” and “homosexual” in the same sentence, you probably know where the conversation is going. When you’re at the doctor’s office and they say, “are you, you know…?” Insert the limp-wristed Spongebob meme. In the title, Edgar perfectly captures how clinical “homosexual” is, especially, if, like me, your doctor happens to be less knowledgeable about gay sex than your grandma. Apparently in med school there’s approximately one sentence about queer sex which is why homosexuals are so very “high-risk.”
In their best-selling memoir, Edgar Gomez recounts their experience as a queer Latinx person, growing up in Orlando and navigating family, school, self-acceptance at the intersection of their identities. From first boyfriends to grad school, Edgar speaks with humor, earnest and candor about being a high-risk homosexual. Despite facing homophobia, Edgar’s trans neighbors in Nicaragua show Edgar love and joy. The book resonates so much–remember growing up super heteronormative and being taught “those people” are dangerous? And then you meet them and they’re so fun and loving? I do.
Edgar describes coming to terms with their sexuality and their first boyfriends. We’ve all had that one boyfriend who was “straight”–I remember my first heartbreak was also the “straight” boy. Then there’s the one who first showed us what “gay” is and of course, the older “mentor” who inevitably thinks they’re owed something in exchange for showing you the ropes. When I was a baby gay, just peeking out of the closet, I had an older gay friend and he propositioned me a time or two. Would it really be a gay story without an older friend at least suggesting sex? What I think is so beautiful about Edgar’s writing is that they so accurately capture uniquely queer experiences. It felt like I was reading back through some of my own memories.
It wouldn’t be a book about being a high-risk homosexual without a discussion of being broke, struggling, The Apps and, of course PrEP. Which all seems absolutely normal to me, but I know a literal nurse practitioner, an actual, real healthcare provider who did not know what PrEP was in the year of our lord two thousand nineteen. Wild. Edgar skillfully tells their story with passion and honesty about being gay and the expectations and pitfalls of gay life. But what is clear is that Edgar, like all of us, is so much more than a high-risk homosexual and their story is beautiful and compelling.
100/10, I completely recommend it. One of the few stories that accurately represents what it is like to be queer–relatable and just the right amount of funny and heartfelt.
LGBTQ+ Organizing Volunteer for La Casita Louisville, Sassa Rivera:
As a fellow queer, non-binary, Central American kid in the States, reading “High-Risk Homosexual” gave me a nostalgic reminiscence of my own life through Edgar’s memoir. Their stories of battling cultural gender norms, finding community, and the raw journey of accepting your true self ring loudly in my ears as well as many members of my chosen family. This is a needed read for any queer Latinx person hungry for representation, and for anyone else who knows wants to get a humorous insight to the making and life of a “high risk homosexual”. Couldn’t recommend it enough.