qvFeature Story


The Reyes Brothers
An intriguing story about three Latino brothers who happen to be QV!
By qvStaff

At 14 years old, Carmelo Reyes was just beginning to understand his homosexuality. For him, it was a scary time in his life, having grown up in a traditional Puerto Rican familia where just the thought of being QV or bisexual seemed to mean sure excommunication from the family. So Carmelo kept his sexual orientation to himself.

One day that year, Carmelo was talking to his older brother Orlando about nothing special, when suddenly, Carmelo suddenly asked him, "So, do you have a girlfriend, yet?"

Orlando, not knowing what to say, came back with an unexpected reply. Stumbling over his words, he looked at Carmelo and answered, "Ummmm...let's see...How do I say this? Well...I'm QV!" Or course, Carmelo was surprised and before he had a chance to respond to his brother's revelation, Orlando then said, "And so is your brother Wiggy!"

Carmelo didn't know what to say. He was shocked, but at the same time, there was a pleasant feeling knowing that he had brothers who were just like him, and brothers to whom he could come out to as well.

When Carmelo finally did come out, it wasn't much of a surprise to Orlando. In fact, Orlando says when Carmelo was younger, he was already showing signs that he might be QV. Orlando lightheartedly explains, "Carmelo would go around singing with a hair brush. He'd also put a towel around his head and make believe it was long hair."

Although Orlando pretty much knew his little brother was QV, Carmelo's coming out was still a bittersweet moment for Orlando. He explains, "I didn't want to believe he way QV at first. But I felt that I had no choice but to accept him, take him under my wing, protect him, and be a positive role model for him."

Among the Reyes brothers, Carmelo was the last to come out in the family. To get a better feel of the situation here, let's go back and see how the two older brothers, Wigberto and Orlando, came out. Late in his teens, Wigberto (aka Wiggy) decided to join the army, and while in the army, and after a few years into his military experience, he felt that he needed to come out to someone. He decided to come out to his mother. So he wrote a letter to her, and in it, he explained his QV sexual orientation. He sent the letter, but it never made it into her hands. Instead, Orlando, who was 16 years old at the time, intercepted the letter and read it.

Dealing with his own sexuality, Orlando was shocked discovering that his brother was also QV. Orlando reflects, "I was in shock because I was just accepting myself as being QV and had not yet mentioned it to anyone other than a cousin."

So did he ever give the letter to his mother? After reading it, Orlando wasn't sure what he should do. He wasn't sure whether or not to give the letter to his mother. But in the end, he decided not to. Orlando says, "I never gave my mom the letter because I felt that if she got it, I would have suffered the repercussions."

A few days later, Orlando contemplated whether or not he should talk to Wiggy. He wasn't sure whether he was ready to tell Wiggy that he intercepted the letter and that he knew Wiggy was QV. Furthermore, he wasn't sure if he, himself, should come out to his brother. It wasn't until about a year later that Orlando developed the courage to call Wiggy, who was now living in Hawaii.
So what happened on the phone? Orlando says not much. Even though he talked to his brother about everything, and even came out to him, too, Wiggy just laughed. In fact, the only thing Wiggy had to say after Orlando uttered the words, "I'm QV," was, "So?"

Coming Out To Mother!
Now that Orlando knows that his two brothers are QV, and that his brother know he is QV, too, let see what happened when they each came out to their mother.

As the story goes, Orlando was the first one to tell his mom that he was QV. He was, in a sense, the guinea pig-the first one to see how she would react to his coming out, and unfortunately, she didn't take the news too well. Orlando says, "She reacted in the typical Latina woman way of her generation-screaming, crying, throwing plates at me! She stopped talking to me for about two years and vowed that she would never accept me nor any of my male companions."

In terms of Wiggy coming out, he has never come out to his mother. Perhaps influenced by the negative reaction Orlando got when he came out, Wiggy has decided to keep his sexuality away from her. However, she did somehow find out he was QV, and interestingly enough, it wasn't such a big deal for her. Orlando explains, "Three years after I came out to my mom, she found out about Wiggy. She had had her thoughts that he might be QV so when she found out, she didn't care, anymore. She just accepted him."

The last brother to come out was Carmelo. When he told his mother he was QV, she had a difficult time accepting it. Orlando explains, "She blamed me (for Carmelo being QV) because she said he always wanted to be like me-so much that he was 'acting' QV." Orlando then adds, "But believe me, he wasn't acting!"

As for the boys' father and stepfather, they have remained silent the whole time. Orlando says he has never had a conversation with either of them about his sexuality-even to this day.

As for the rest of the family, their reaction to the brothers' QV sexuality has been mixed. Orlando explains, "There are those who have been very supportive and really don't care that we're QV-at least not to our faces, and then there are those who don't condone our sexual orientation."

But why don't those family members who don't condone homosexuality accept the fact that being QV is not a choice. And that it happens in a lot of families. In fact, Orlando reveals that homosexuality doesn't just exist in his immediate family, but in his extended family as well. He explains, "There are a total of about 14 QV people in my family including cousins, second cousins, etc. Some are still trying to come out."

Today, Wiggy, who is now 41 years old, Orlando, 36, and Carmelo, 25, say that things are starting to get better-particularly with their mother.

Orlando says, "My mom is getting better with meeting my friends. Finally, after many years of not wanting to meet any of them, she did accept an ex-lover of mine-actually two."

And what about the two other brothers? Have they brought their partners to see their mother? Orlando says, "None of my brothers have ever really brought any guys to meet her-they won't dare! Yo soy el 'atrevido' of the three. I was never ashamed of liking men, and I never will be."

"What Do QV Brothers Talk About?"
Orlando says, "We talk about how we meet guys, the kind of guys we are dating, the drama associated with dating guys-just normal stuff."

And what about the guys that they like? When it comes to men, Orlando says he and Wiggy have similar taste. He says, "We like them masculine and Latin-looking with dark features." About Carmelo's taste in guys, Orlando then adds, "Carmelo, on the other hand, likes the blond hair, blue eyed men-and also Asian men."

One may wonder if any of the brothers have ever been attracted to the other brother's boyfriend. The answer is, "Yes!" Orlando says that Carmelo became attracted to one of Orlando's ex-lovers. About the attraction, Orlando adds, "My brother confessed that to me after my ex and I broke up." He then says, "I think they had a thing going on!"

In addition, one may also wonder if one of the brothers have ever dated the same guy. The answer is also, "Yes!" Orlando explains, "There was one time that I dated one of Wiggy's ex-boyfriends-but that was years after my brother dated him. I knew who the guy was, but he didn't know I was Wigberto's brother until I told him. He freaked a little, but I just pursued him even more. I don't think my brother liked the idea, but he got over it, I guess."

In a somewhat ironic twist, over the years, all three brothers have never really gotten a chance to hang out with each other at the same time mainly because Wiggy left to Hawaii when he was 18 to join the Army and has been living there ever since.

Orlando and Carmelo did get a chance to hang out as brothers when they both lived in Washington, DC. Orlando was working in DC while Carmelo was enrolled at Georgetown University.

While in DC, Orlando says, "Carmelo and I would hang out together at some local bars. It was cool to go out with your brother and cruise other guys-and not feel strange doing so."

Eventually, Carmelo graduated from Georgetown University and accepted a job in Japan where he now resides. Orlando then moved to South Beach Miami after living in Washington, DC for 13 years. "I decided to find some sunshine and warmth," he says.

Today, all three brothers are currently single, but they keep themselves busy with their careers and studies. Orlando says he finds it difficult to find men who are long-term relationship oriented. He adds, "I guess they are out there, but I don't do the bars/clubs much, and I keep busy with work so I am not so easily available. I guess at 36 years old, I have become slightly jaded, and I wonder if anyone really is truthful and honest. I am sure they are out there. It's just that I haven't found my 'machito,' yet."

"So what's the coolest thing about having QV brothers?"
Orlando says, "It's calling up one of my brothers and telling him about a guy I just met. It's great to know that we can relate to each other. In fact, we can even relate to our sisters since we all like men (two sisters from the same parents, and one sister from their father's second marriage)! It's also great telling guys (dates) about having not just one QV brother but two! Guys find that amazing, and it makes for a great conversation at a bar or social party."

For Carmelo, he says that the best part about having QV brother is, "Being able to be myself around them." He, then, adds, "Being able to relay my feelings to family members who truly understand where I'm coming from is something that I cherish dearly."

Carmelo, perhaps, sums it all up when he says, "The fact that my brothers are QV has helped me face the daily societal and emotional trials and tribulations of being QV. Essentially, I view my brothers as role models. They're individuals who are capable of steering me from making mistakes and providing me with sound advice on love, relationships, and simply living a QV life."


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