Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2020-05-13
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



Homo Say WHAT!? Freedom
by Tony Alvarado-Rivera

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

I recently had an argument with my boyfriend about money, which molded itself—not on purpose—into a conversation about my freedom.

Here is where my story begins. Growing up in a working-class, lower-income immigrant family, I was happy. I never felt like I needed more. We had food on the table, clean clothes, and lots of love. That was all I needed. Growing up, I never had the best school supplies, the best toys, or the best clothes. However, I always lived in a fantasy world. I was always aware that there was more to life than what I was limited too. I always wanted to experience life. I always wanted more.

My parents taught me how to survive—and that's how I know how to live—I survive to live.

Now, I survive, but in a different way than when I was younger. I work in order to get my finances back on track and try to get out of the hole before I go in deeper. The thing is, I still want to enjoy life. My family never went out for dinner because it was too expensive. We never went on family vacations because there wasn't any money. We never over spent on anything because we were living from check to check.

But now I want to experience that part of life that I didn't when I was younger. It's selfish of me to be spending money on my enjoyment rather than on more important things, but I want to experience what's out there. Unfortunately, that sometimes means being broke.

My boyfriend was blaming me for not eating right, for living from check to check, delaying some bills, and worrying about money. He said it was my fault because I could easily go back to living with my parents and have an easier life or I could move away from Lakeview and into a cheaper neighborhood.

What was my defense? Living in Cicero I felt closed off. I had no transportation. I had no community. I had no outlet. Living with my parents (while I love them) was limiting. Here in Lakeview and on my own, I can go any where in this beautiful city. I can experience new things. And I can enjoy going out to a community where I don't have to closet myself.

Yes, I am out in Cicero, but you have to agree—it's not the same. When I walk around, people stare, they talk, and I get the names. Every time I walk into those streets I take a risk. If I have to pay hundreds of dollars to live in a place where I can feel more relaxed—I can walk with my boyfriend hand in hand, I can feel like the majority—then so be it. GLBTQ people come from all over the place to be in the vicinity I live in. They spend their money on drinks, clubs, and transportation for a few hours of freedom and then have to go back home.

While sometimes I feel like I don't belong in this classist, elitist, mostly white neighborhood, it's still a piece of home. I love Cicero, but it's honestly not the greatest place to live. I'm proud of where I come from and where my heart is. I never pretend to know the struggle of working in factory assembly lines or breaking my back working the jobs that are left for immigrants to deliver. I know I haven't killed myself like my parents, and my hands are free from calluses. I never pretend to be someone I'm not, but I've worked hard too.

I try to be a change agent for my community—I try to help people, I try to make an impact—and I do most of this work either for free or for a wage that I can barely get by on.

So yes, my life is a bit messy and some bills go unpaid—but you know what … money comes and goes. I know that one day I will be able to not only survive, but also thrive. Maybe one day I'll be a Tico Valle or a Mona Noriega—or maybe I won't, but all I want is to be happy. I'm happy living where I am. If I have to pay so much for freedom, then right now that's what I'm willing to do.

My boyfriend was living in Aurora where he felt alone and far from living the life he wanted to live. He wasn't happy, and he saw that while I'm struggling, I am happy. He started to understand where I was coming from—and where I wanted to go in life.

I'm young. I have met amazing people and I have done things that I am proud of. I have helped my community and love doing what I do. I have done things with my life that I never knew I would have that opportunity to do.

I want to experience life and not let it pass me by. I fully understand that to have fun, you do not need to spend lots of money, but sometimes to experience things—you do.

You only live once, and I plan on taking full advantage of my life. One day, I hope to look back and think of how difficult things can get, but know that I survived with a cosmopolitan in one hand, a calculator in the other, and a life full of memories.

To contact Tony, send an email to ...

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.

Copyright © 2020 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.







About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.