Far too often our queerness is only discussed in three contexts: relationships, family and politics. But our queerness plays a role in our friendships with other queers, too, and that’s what this series is all about. In honor of Gal Pal Week, welcome to “Interview With My Queer BFF,” in which gals interview their best queer pals about their exciting queer paldom. And by “gal pals” we don’t mean “girlfriends” or “wives” … we mean GAL PALS.
Today, Senior Editor Yvonne is interviewing her BFF Mary, who she’s known since they were baby gays in high school.
Yvonne: Ok, ready for the first question? How did we meet?
Mary: Like in 2006? I don’t remember you my freshman and sophomore years too well. Like I would see you, you were really into your books and I thought you were kind of mean because you would keep to yourself. I was intimidated by you because you always walked around campus like you were on a mission. You would sit in the middle of the bus when we would go to UIL [academic] competitions because all of us loud drama kids would sit in the back. Then all of a sudden, you started appearing a lot in my life because we had mutual friends my senior year.
What about you?
Yvonne: I specifically remember meeting you in the band hall because you were in color guard for a hot second, and I think [your ex] introduced us. That’s all I remember and I would see you too and what not, and I knew of you but I don’t think we were friends. I would say the first time we hung out, hung out and the start of our friendship was when we saw each other at your cousin’s wedding.
Yvonne: I was there with my mom because it was her comadre’s son’s wedding and I was super bored just sitting there because I didn’t know anyone. And then I was like, “Oh, there’s Mary!” Hahaha
Mary: I remember it was super random that I saw you behind all the dancing people. I was really bored too and I felt really awkward and then I saw you and thought, “Omg! This is perfect!” I remember your mom and saying hi to her and then we danced? Did we dance?
Yvonne: Yes! We danced a huapango! I remember that! I think we danced more than just a huapango — super Mexican. It was fun!
Mary: We have to do that again sometime.
Yvonne: I don’t remember when exactly that was but it probably happened early in my junior year and your senior year. I don’t remember high school, everything is hazy. So yeah, that was the beginning. Ok, the next question is how long have we been best friends?
Mary: So you moved to Austin for school and I was already in Houston for school at that point. I think we were already friends just because we both had girlfriends in high school and we were the only queer people we knew — at least, that’s how I felt. Anyways, I think it wasn’t until we were outside of our hometown that we actually really bonded. You know over relationships and college experiences.
Yvonne: Yeah, I definitely agree. After we moved from our hometown that really was the turning point. I guess mostly because I don’t think I came out to you until after high school, right? I think you weren’t there anymore. I was still in high school and you had moved to Houston.
Mary: I knew you were gay before then, before you came out to me.
Yvonne: Yeah, exactly.
Mary: Do you remember how I found out?
Yvonne: No, how did you find out?
Mary: So, I was going to the Eagle Café [cafeteria] to get my lunch and then go back to the drama hall and I would always go around this corner where y’all sat to get in line and you were holding hands with your girlfriend at the time. I remember looking down and then y’all let go of each other’s hands and I was like, “Omg!” I felt it, but I don’t know, it was so weird to me. It was exciting! But I didn’t want to talk to you about it because you would’ve felt really awkward even though you were holding hands in front of all these people — like it was hidden underneath the table, but still. I was really confused.
Yvonne: We would do that often because it was in that corner where nobody saw anything — except you. Hahaha. I’m pretty sure a lot of other people saw but I think you’re the only one who picked up on it.
Ok, so are you ready for your next question?
Mary: Ok, go for it.
Yvonne: It says, “why are we friends and not girlfriends?”
Mary: The most obvious reason is that we’ve been in relationships, I think? I don’t know. This is really weird and awkward!
I saw you like a younger sibling in high school especially after finding out you were gay. I was like, “aww, she’s my little queer baby.” And then in college, I remember during the Victoria Secret fashion show we were messaging about The Script and I asked you to edit an essay for me. It was the first time I realized that friends can fill voids too? I’m not sure what it was about trusting you with my writing that made me feel that much closer to you. I mean, even now, when I write really personal things about my birth family or anything really, you’re the first person I send it to.
Yvonne: I think it’s because we formed a friendship first. I don’t even know how to explain it. Like you said, we were both in relationships, and it was more of we became friends by also talking about our queerness. That really is a hard question. We’re just friends, ok.
Yvonne: Ok, the next question. What role would I play in your wedding?
Mary: Oh my god, I’ve told you this before and I don’t know if I was drunk but I’ll tell you again in a sober state but you can be one of my bridesmaids. I already have them all planned, that’s if I get married, ever. I’m just saying.
Yvonne: You would be a bridesmaid too. But I don’t think me and Gloria would want to have those roles so you would be…
Mary: …a person…
Yvonne: …an important person at the wedding….
Yvonne: VIP! Yes, there you go! Um, what’s the most annoying thing about me?
Mary: Jesus! Ok, the most annoying thing about you. It’s not really about you but it’s that you don’t come to the Valley very often. So when I do see you, I have to like schedule a spot.
Yvonne: Yeah, that’s really annoying!
Mary: It’s not annoying, but you know what I mean.
Yvonne: Yeah, I do! I don’t think there’s anything annoying about you. Not seeing you that often is definitely annoying. What have you learned from our friendship?
Mary: Well, I didn’t expect you to come out to your family before I did. You were very hush hush about it in your previous relationship and in high school. When you took that leap…It’s not easy coming out to your parents at all. You came out to both of them and you came out to them in a very responsible way. It wasn’t like you got caught. You actually came out to them and you were one of the first people that I knew that came out to their parents. We knew a lot of people in high school who had really bad experiences coming out to their parents or being found out so for you to do that, it kinda inspired me to do it too. It wasn’t till years later, but I did it. If there’s one thing I could learn from our friendship, it’s that. You’re so amazing, strong and brave. You’re doing so much with your life.
Yvonne: I’ve learned so many things from you, like so many things! When I was in high school, I feel like you didn’t give a fuck about what people thought about you. I was super in the closet, I wasn’t even out to myself, I denied it so much. I think you being somewhat out was pretty comforting. There was a certain comfort in knowing that there were other gay people out there. I think ever since we’ve been friends, it’s been a journey through our queerness. It’s really amazing to have a friend on your side, by your side, experiencing these things as well and learning from each other. We both had really horrible breakups with our high school girlfriends. They weren’t similar breakups but the heartbreak was similar and we’ve processed that together. We’ve processed a lot.
Mary: Yeah, I remember making those midnight trips to Austin and you would be there for me. We went to the hookah lounge that one time.
Yvonne: Oh yeah!
Mary: We would go to Kerbey Lane at 1 or 2 in the morning and we’d just talk, maybe one of us would cry. It was a good time for both of us to be there for each other. I think that’s something I can’t say for just about anybody.
Yvonne: Yeah, I don’t think so either! It’s so weird because I recently found and sent you our Myspace conversations. I was just like wow, I didn’t even know I was this cool with Mary at that time. I was reading those conversations and I was like oh shit, that was in 2008 and there clearly was a strong bond — a friendship.
Mary: And it’s evolved!
Yvonne: Yup! I’ve learned a lot from you. Mostly because it was seeing another queer person in the world, a queer Latina.
Ok, do you think our friendship would be different if we were straight?
Mary: No. So obviously we both became friends because we were both queer and feminists. I feel like if you told me you were straight, I would still love you the same. Obviously, it’d be different but I still would be your friend. It’s not like I like you just because you’re gay.
Yvonne: I think our friendship would look radically different if one of us was straight because a big basis of our friendship was our connection, that we were both queer in the Valley. I’d still be friends with you because we were both nerdy kids — we were in UIL, you were in drama and I was in band. We also had lots of mutual friends and you’re super hilarious and fun so yes, I’d still be your friend. Our friendship would’ve looked different if we were straight though.
Mary: I can’t even picture myself straight.
Yvonne: Right?! It’s so weird.
Mary: Do you think our dynamic changed when I had Kat? I think at that point I was uncomfortable with being “queer” because I didn’t understand all the dynamics at play with sexuality and fluidity and stuff. I was very much a lesbian at that time, then I had Kat. I felt lost and confused about myself and also ashamed of myself. You’re saying that if we were straight our friendship would’ve changed, so I’m asking like do you feel our friendship changed at all with me conceiving a child naturally?
Yvonne: I think it changed but mostly because you couldn’t leave in the middle of the night to come hang out in Austin. I don’t think it changed my view of you or anything like that, it was just more it changed the way I got to see you. We couldn’t just mess around doing college things like drink and stay up all night because you were about to have a kid and you were a mother now so you had to think about Kat. I don’t think it changed my view of you or your sexuality. I just missed you because you couldn’t come to Austin whenever you wanted.
Ok, I don’t know about this question. It’s obvious who you’re going to say — which of my exes do you hate the most?
Yvonne: I don’t think I can answer that question for you because I only know one of them and I wouldn’t use the word hate for that person, like at all.
Mary: Not even for, like not that person, but the other person?
Yvonne: Well, I never met that person but based on what you told me about her, yeah I would hate her but I’ve never met her. I feel like I couldn’t say that about her but as your friend I’ll hate her.
Mary: That’s weird right, we’ve only met one of each other’s exes?
Yvonne: Oh wait, actually I know two of yours!
Mary: Oh, duh!
Yvonne: I just remembered right now, and I can’t use hate for either of them at all.
Mary: They’re good people.
Yvonne: Yeah, I agree. What’s the most embarrassing thing you’ve seen me through?
Mary: Probably all of high school.
Yvonne: Hahaha, yes.
Mary: You know what’s not really embarrassing but really awkward? When you and I and our girlfriends at the time were all volunteering at the library together. Actually that’s embarrassing. All four of us were gay and going out with each other and the children’s librarian would always make these comments about us being best friends and how good friends we are.
Yvonne: Hahaha. Why did we even volunteer?
Mary: I think we needed hours or something?
Yvonne: Oh, it was probably for NHS [National Honor Society].
Mary: We just needed excuses to hang out with our significant others.
Yvonne: Yup, we were just lesbians in a library. You know, just hanging out.
Yvonne: Did you make out in the bathroom?
Mary: I’m pretty sure I did more than just make out in the bathroom.
Do you have a question you would like to ask me in this Interview With My Queer BFF?
Mary: Ok, where do you see our friendship at 45? Do you still think we’ll be friends or do you think we’ll drift apart?
Yvonne: We’ll still be cool and we’ll travel together and go on vacation. We weren’t that close in high school until the very end and then in college. And a lot of my very close friends in high school and even some college friends, we don’t really hang out or talk to each other that much besides the casual hey what’s up and Facebook interactions. So I think me and you, it’s going to last. And also Gloria likes you too! At 45, we’ll be drinking mimosas on a trip.
Mary: Aww, I love Gloria! I always tell her she’s the perfect comadre because she likes rancheras just as much as I do. Did you ever tell Gloria about that 5-second high school crush?
Yvonne: Like when you would write letters to me?
Mary: I didn’t write letters to you.
Yvonne: What are you talking about?
Mary: What are you talking about? You’re making this real awkward.
Mary: I told you right, that I liked you for five minutes in high school.
Yvonne: Yeah! That’s what I’m talking about.
Mary: But I didn’t write you letters.
Yvonne: Dude, I had Alegbra 2 with Mr. Wolfe right after lunch and you had Pre-Cal with Ms. Guerra right next door and you wrote me letters before you went into class. I still have them! You only wrote a couple, and they were just like hey what’s up, cool, whatever.
Mary: HAHAHA Shut the fuck up, dude. I would write notes to everybody, so don’t feel too special.
Yvonne: Hahaha I remember [my ex] being like Mary likes you, Mary likes you and the letters were proof that you liked me. So the letters just remind me that you liked me for five seconds.
Mary: Yeah, at that time I really really liked this person and then I felt like I shouldn’t because we were really good friends. So I was like, I’m going to try to like someone else and I don’t think at that point I knew you were going out with [your ex].
Yvonne: I remember you picked me up from my house and we went to Barnes & Noble and then we went to Wendy’s afterwards and I was like is this a date?, but like jokingly.
Mary: Oh my god, in Mission! I fucking remember that, I thought you meant in Austin.
Yvonne: Yeah, we were still in high school and you had your old car.
Mary: Shitty Shitty Bang Bang
Yvonne: And I told [my ex] about it and she was like Mary wants you, she likes you. And I was like, “We’re just going to hang out.”