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The Mexican Issue

A Mexican In... Toronto

Vice: Why did you come to Toronto from Mexico?

by Paul Johnston
02 June 2008, 12:00am


Jose Maximiliano Suarez Velazquez

Vice: Why did you come to Toronto from Mexico?

Jose:
The principle reason is because I’m gay, and for gay people in Mexico it’s not easy. I’m from Quarétaro, about three hours south of Mexico City. I had some problems there, so I came to Toronto about two and a half years ago.

Do you find you’re treated better here?

Yeah, I think it’s good. People respect me. I can be who I want to be. It’s a little bit hard because it’s a new country, but at least I feel free about my sexual identity.

Can it be dangerous for people who are openly gay in Mexico?

Yeah, it’s dangerous. For everything. Not just for physical violence, but psychologically as well.

Did you ever get beat up?

Yes, but I don’t want to talk about it.

Mexican guys versus Canadian guys: Who do you like better?

I think I prefer Canadian. I don’t know why.

What do you think about hockey?

I don’t know too much about hockey. I don’t like it.

How about soccer?

I hate soccer.

Were your friends and family pretty accepting of the fact you were gay?

No—my friends weren’t.

Do you still keep in touch with any of them?

Yeah, but in different ways.

Before you left, what was your job?

I was working in a restaurant as a cook and as a waiter.

And now?

I work in a restaurant as a cook.

What do you miss about Mexico?

My family and the food.

How does Canadian food compare to Mexican food?

Here, you can find whatever you want. But, I mean, Mexico has different food. You can find Mexican restaurants here, but it’s not the same. Only Canadians could be fooled.

How do you like Canadian winters?

At the beginning, I liked it. The first winter, I loved it. The second one was OK. The third one [laughs], I don’t like it.

Why did you decide to come to Canada and not the United States?

Because if you go to the United States, you need a visa. And I had to go fast. So the first country that I could be welcomed by was Canada.

Are you happy you came here?

I’m happy. I want to stay, yeah. Permanently.