Evangelina turns on the camera and smiles: the European spring sun enters through the window. She’s in Wiesbaden, Germany, on the banks of the Rhine, about to embark on a challenge that makes her nervous: she will cross, from one end to the other, five countries on five continents standing on a battery-powered skateboard. The story that is about to be told, however, takes place in the small town of Mendoza where she was born, among goats, cows, Catholic schools and friend-enemies.
The story is not called “the day I came out of the closet” but “The day they pulled me out of the closet.”
the town it is called Colonia Bombal and has, according to the last census, 3,300 inhabitants, about 70 times less than the district of Palermo. The context was not entirely favorable for someone who was beginning to consider the possibility of being homosexual: “Imagine that in 2010, when same-sex marriage was legalized, at the school where I was we prayed for it not to be approved,” he says. Infobae Evangeline Gonzalez.
Evangelina is 26 years old and 130,000 subscribers on their social networks. She is known for her adventures around the world, for her tips – “48 ways to make money while traveling” – and for her challenges, for example “From 0 to sexy”in which he encouraged showing herself half-naked, her way of ripping that old dirty feeling out of her body. But before all this openness, it happened in the city.
“They forced me out of the closet. Who is it? My class mates. A friend discovered the gossip and spread it, an ex-friend rather. Evangelina was 16, with a boyfriend she used as a front and a gay friend who was her confidant, the only one who knew she liked girls. Then one of the teenage girls in her school group read a private conversation between her and her friend who had been left open on her Facebook.
What he read was that Evangelina not only did he like the girls, but one of the friends of the group. She told half the town, but Evangelina knew everyone was secretly talking about her sexuality months later, when she was already going to a new school: the gossip had come to that.
“I was like an idiot deep down, everyone knew it except me. These friends had suddenly drifted apart, friendship was broken and I never understood why. In the new school, they also showed him what he had written, when he discovered the gossip, the girl he loved: “Oh, what a waste.”
“I wanted to die. I felt dirty, hated, very bad with myself. It ruined my self-esteem for years. I think to this day I’m embarrassed to tell a girl I like her. I carried this filth with me for a long time. Even though I knew being a lesbian wasn’t wrong, part of me said ‘but I suck’. To this day it hurts, I feel like I was kicked out,” he said in a video he uploaded to his channel.
“Don’t pull people out of the closet, give people time to discover themselves. If you’re straight and someone likes you, they discover themselves and feel something nice for you, love, then, disgust? I disgust the balls”.
The catharsis happened as she sat on a dock in Indonesia, one of 40 countries she’s visited, a place that isn’t exactly gay-friendly.
From village to world
The situation forced her out of the closet with her parents before the gossip reached them elsewhere. It was in October 2013 when he told them: two months later, Evangelina left town and began a journey around the world that has already lasted eight years.
“I went there partly because felt like I didn’t belongI needed to find a place where I didn’t feel dirty,” she says. Infobae. “My mom gets arrested again and they ask her stupid things. ‘Did you always know your daughter was like that, rare?’. Poor old lady who has to go around to answer that.
The other part that inspired her to travel was her desire: I was 18 years old and I wanted to see the world. He didn’t want to face an adult life making goat cheese and selling vegetables at the fair like his parents.
During these years, Evangelina everything worked: fished salmon in Alaska, was a professional diving instructor in Mexico, the Maldives and Indonesia, cared for the elderly in Spain, juggled and played guitar in Latin America and Europe, worked in hostels in exchange for a place to sleep, she was an underwater photographer, she made underwater videos for tourists, she was an Italian, German, Spanish and English teacher.
The distance, however, allowed him to see his past in perspective. “I was in some countries that were much worse than the people: the village is heaven compared to being a lesbian in the Muslim world.
The first reference is the year you worked in the The Maldive Islandsa Muslim paradise in the middle of the Indian Ocean, 450 km from India, when I was girlfriend with coworker. In the Maldives, same-sex relationships are illegal under Islamic law and same-sex marriage is prohibited. The penalties for “the crime of homosexuality” They range from deportation to prison.
“Obviously we were trying to hide it or just keep it in the dive center workgroup, but the ball was rolling. Imagine being a woman and a lesbian in such a place, it was a really bad idea. On the island there were 23 working women and 300 men, the one who served me the food found out and called me ‘sir’. ‘Sir, what are you going to serve?’, he said.
“Among these 23 girls, there were four lesbians. That is to say, veiled lesbians all covered. It was a plea every day: “Eva, please help us to go to Europe”, “please, can you find something for us in Germany? “, “please help us out of here”. On the one hand, I felt I had to hide it because something could happen to us, but at the same time I didn’t want to: if these girls could see a lesbian couple in the Maldives maybe we could be a role model.
During this year in the Maldives, he also did a photo shoot for a group of women, one of them, the cousin of the Prince of Saudi Arabiaa country where homosexuality is punishable by death (also with fines, beatings, prison sentences, psychological treatment in mental institutions, castrations and public executions).
“After the photos, one of them said to me ‘when you get married and you have a child, you have to come and visit us’. I told her “ah, but I don’t want to get married, I don’t want children and I’m a lesbian”. My God, there was a lady who was praying and repeating: “No, it’s not natural, you’re going to change, you’re going to change”.
Evangelina also spent six months in Indonesia with her girlfriend. Homosexuality and gay sex aren’t illegal in Indonesia, but they are “exorcisms” are frequent, a sort of rehabilitation and conversion therapy to which they are subjected in order to be “cured”. “There were other countries, like Georgia, next to Russia, which are more open but still uncomfortable. People assume you’re heterosexual, your sexuality isn’t valid and that’ll pass.
from 0 to sexy
The pandemic found Evangelina in Indonesia. It was there that a photographer from Mendoza told him “you have to show yourself more, you still have the Catholic school in your head”.
Evangelina took the opportunity to undress and put on the table the beauty mandates that, like a letterbox, we women swallow:
“As a woman and a crazy lover of women, I experience this up close. Our illogical acceptance that we are: ugly that needs makeup, fat that needs magic cures, wrinkled or acne-prone skin that needs thousands of creams, gray hair that needs dye, breasts and buttocks that need surgery, and buttocks and armpits that need bleaching and permanent hair removal. ”, written next to one of these photos.
Why did he do it? The answer is always written there: “Showing the body will always be an act of freedom.”
What will start tomorrow may have nothing to do with all this, even if it is a new stage in its long journey. Evangelina will travel five countries on five continents aboard an electric longboard. She will begin in Portugal, where she 900 kilometers with various difficulties: the battery of the skateboard for example is empty every 45 kilometers, so he will go and look for families who will let him spend the night and allow him to recharge it for 5 hours.
In total, he will travel on the longboard for a year and will end up in three African countries (Malawi, Zimbabwe and Mozambique: in the first two homosexuality is illegal, Besides). Once in Africa, he will try to raise funds for the NGO he works for, called Music Cross Roads. The idea is to give scholarships to boys who live in the African savannah so that they can learn to write their music in a Western system. “The plan is that his music doesn’t get lost, that it lasts,” he says goodbye.
The journey has already begun.