The First Gay Romance Storyline I Ever Read: or, a Case Study in Why We Need Representation

I don't know how old I was when I found out that gay people existed. I probably learned it from my friends, who were a lot more worldly than me; I'm pretty sure I learned a lot of (mostly erroneous) facts about the birds and the bees from them, too. I do remember a lot of jokes about the the gay kid in our school and the lesbian in the school across town—not that they were out, they were just assumed to be queer.

I grew up in a conservative, mostly Catholic, mostly low-income town in Neuquén Province in northern Patagonia. One of my classmates got pregnant at thirteen; by the end of high school, I'd lost track of how many girls dropped out of my school or got held back a year because they had a baby. Gay rights were a pipe dream in Argentina (though same-sex marriage was legalized country-wide before it was in the United States). I didn't know a single out queer person until I left my town, and my country, to come to college. The only queer people I encountered were in literature and media.

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