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When Hummingbirds Fly Out of the Closet

El Canto Del Colibri explores Latino fatherhood in the LGBTQ community

Director+Marco+Castro-Bojourquez
Director Marco Castro-Bojourquez

Director Marco Castro-Bojourquez

Javonne Crumby

Javonne Crumby

Director Marco Castro-Bojourquez

Javonne Crumby, Contributor

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It was an intimate audience in the University Student Union Theatre on Thursday, Jan. 26 for the viewing of award winning Director Marco Castro- Bojourquez’s documentary El Canto del Colibrí. The title of this film translates in English to The Song of the Hummingbird. It focuses on five Latino fathers who have gay, lesbian and transgender children. The film opens up with a hummingbird fluttering about at a bird feeder. The opening caption explains the title choice, “Much like the seldom-heard song of the hummingbird, the voices of the Latino fathers are rarely heard in addressing LGBTQ issues.” That is until now.

The fathers, who have all emigrated to the U.S. from Mexico, Venezuela, and Columbia open up about their relationship with their children. They retold stories of their own childhood and how they viewed the LGBTQ community prior to learning their children were part of that community. El Canto del Colibrí also challenges the concept of machismo. Machismo is a term used in the Latinx community to describe masculine pride.

Santiago Vasquez, father of his gay son Santi, explained how he was raised in machismo culture where men are expected to be aggressive and call the shots. Vasquez, who is also a police officer, opened up about his unexpected reaction to his son Santi coming out as gay. He turned to his wife smiled, and cried tears of joy. He said told his son to give him a hug and kiss. His acceptance defies the machismo values he was raised on. The film also follows the lives of the father of ‘Cris’ a transgender man who was once ‘Cristina,’ the fathers of Jorge, and Salvador who are both gay, and the father of Zizi who is a lesbian. The fathers recounted any signs, or lack thereof, that their children were different, their initial reaction to their children coming out and eventually, acceptance.

After the film some viewers shared their thoughts on the film. One woman said, “I’ve never really thought about the perspective of the parents because you never hear that. I think it was interesting to see their perspective as well as the child’s perspective . . . It just brings in a whole deeper layer.”

“I never seen the parent’s side of it, especially coming from la cultura. Most of our dads are very machismo and very hard. But they [the fathers] were just so kind and loving, and I really really liked it,” said a male viewer, who came to the film in support of his sisters. “I came here in support of my sisters, they’re both gay, and I love them dearly,” he added.

After thoughts and reactions were shared about the film, Director Marco Castro-Bojourquez came to the stage with his guest Mariela, who he introduced as a healer and a woman who “fights for la tierra, the earth.” Marco thanked everyone for watching his film. He said, “I consider my film an anti-racist film,” he said. “Stereotypes are utilized, in our culture to oppress us, and I think the film does a good job to dismantle those stereotypes.”  

The screening concluded with the viewers joining Marco and his guest Mariela on stage and forming a circle. The small group held hands as Mariela gave breathing exercises, reminding us to be in the moment and to transfer a positive energy into the world.

The Film El Canto del Calibrí can be purchased on Vimeo.

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