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Regner Ramos

@guestroom bed, Miguel's flat, Gasholders, London, UK

For a little boy growing up in a Catholic family and in a Baptist school, telling anyone that he was queer meant facing eternal damnation. In hell. No, really.

Regner Ramos probably didn't grow up any different than most 80s kids in Puerto Rico. But today he accepts and celebrates his queer identity. Speaking with him, he tells me, “I don't understand LGBTQ people who say that their gender identity and sexual orientation ‘doesn’t define them’. It defines me, thankfully. It guides me, pushes me, moves me, it gives me purpose, ideas, and nurtures me.”

As he fixes his beret while I take his portrait, he continues, “Everything I’ve accomplished professionally hasn’t been in spite of my queerness; it’s because of it.” As Pride wraps up with the last of the global celebrations, I ask Regner, if a 34-year-old-you could give advice to a 21-year-old-you, what would you tell him?

“You don’t have to pretend to be straight. Firstly, you’re not gonna succeed, and secondly, there’s nothing wrong with you.”
“Your friends love you no matter what. They already know and are just waiting for you to confide in them.”

“Your dad’s not gonna kick you out. Give him some time, and in a couple of years he’ll be cool with it.”

“Don’t go out with Ruben in 2008.”

“Be authentic. You’ll have gay students knock on your office door, crying because of a broken heart and looking for someone to comfort them. Be you for you, but also be you for them.”

“You don’t have to wake up at 5:30am to go to Confession and ask God for forgiveness because you kissed the guy you liked. God doesn’t give a shit that, and He’s got bigger problems to worry about.”

Portraits and Interview by Regner Ramos

“Pride” is part of a series I’m currently thinkingabout/mullingover/workingon where I interview myself to put together thoughts, stories and images. Initially I began publishing these interviews on my personal Instagram because I’d gotten bored of the same old content being regurgitated over and over again. The idea was: if my Instagram profile were a magazine about me, what would it say? I wanted to think about my life and daily events as editorial content with super flashy, high quality images with high contrasts and lots of Photoshop. These would then be placed alongside mundane Q&As where I’m both interviewer and interviewee. Totally subjective, unremarkable. I often find myself in my daily life asking myself questions and then responding. I do this out loud. Often verbalizing and articulating replies helps me come up with answers for things I’m dealing with at that particular moment. Having worked in magazine publishing since 2012, not to mention with my dissertation and current research, I’ve become all too comfortable with the Q&A format as not just a way to get to know someone really well, but also as a valuable research methodology. Having said that, when it comes to my auto-conversations/self-interviews (or whatever I’m calling it), I’m not sure where it’s taking me.