Gabo’s childhood in Venezuela was marked by love, happiness, and a unique journey of self-discovery. Surrounded by a matriarchal family, Gabo found solace and support among the female figures in their life. However, like many who grew up in a society still grappling with understanding and embracing diversity, Gabo encountered instances of prejudice and homophobia. Despite these challenges, they were fortunate to find a safe space within their support system, allowing them to navigate this journey with resilience.
Lack of role models
Growing up, Gabo lacked a diverse range of LGBTQ+ role models in their personal life and the media, leaving them with limited narratives to construct their own identity in later years. Stereotypical and “ultrafeminine” portrayals of gay individuals dominated the media, leaving them conflicted about their identity. They had to navigate a path undefined by society’s narrow labels without someone to look up to or identify with. This absence of role models only intensified their determination to carve out their own unique pathway.
Journey of self-discovery
Gabo’s personal journey with identity and gender began at the age of 12 when they first realized they were gay. Over time, they also began questioning the concept of gender and where they stood within it. It wasn’t until two years ago, in 2021, that they began embracing their gender fluidity, allowing them to flow between different points on the gender binary spectrum.
“I started exploring the concept of gender being a spectrum,” they reflected. “Since then, I have been navigating the fluidity of gender, which, very much like water, flows from one side of the spectrum to another. It has to do with my identity, challenging the binary system; although my expression remains mostly male for the time being, I can explore freely the non-conforming aspect of gender.”
Understanding one’s personal journey
From Gabo’s personal journey, they offered advice for others navigating their own paths of self-discovery and understanding. They emphasized the importance of patience and being kind to yourself, understanding that self-acceptance is not a race but a gradual process that takes time.
“As is true with every journey, it takes time,” Gabo explained. “It is not a race against time. Take your time to explore what the spectrum means to you. There is no right or wrong answer and no need to be “only” this or that. Surround yourself with people with whom you feel safe to navigate and explore.”
Finding a safe and inclusive environment
Gabo expressed particular gratitude to Rapport Guest Services for being an organisation that not only supported but celebrated their journey of self-discovery. Throughout their role as residence manager, the company has provided a safe and inclusive environment that has allowed Gabo to express their authentic self however they choose to. Not only does this consistent support positively impact Gabo’s day-to-day life, but it also plays a vital role in fostering personal growth and cultivating a workplace culture that values diversity.
To Gabo, authentic allyship goes beyond token gestures or performative actions. True, impactful allyship involves vulnerability, acknowledging and expressing gaps in knowledge, and actively seeking to challenge stereotypes and biases put forward by others. They expressed their belief that LGBTQ+ individuals also have a role in creating safe spaces for allies, promoting meaningful and enlightening conversations where both sides can learn from each other, expand their knowledge, and grow.
“There’s no right or wrong way to live and navigate through gender”
Looking towards the future, Gabo is filled with hope for LGBTQ+ equality. By sharing their personal journey and embracing their authentic self, they aim to inspire others and create a more inclusive world for all. Their journey of self-discovery and acceptance serves as a testament to the power of resilience and self-exploration. As the world progresses towards greater inclusivity for diverse identities, Gabo’s story is a reminder of the beauty and strength that lies in embracing and celebrating your authentic self.
“There’s no right or wrong way to live and navigate through gender,” they noted. “More and more, there is space for everyone to be who they want to be and to show it the way they want to show it.”