This week’s film festival, This is Me, explores different people who have had to overcome societal pressures in order just to be themselves. From LGBTQ+ communities where transgender people can thrive to “LGBT free-zones” in Poland where simply “being” is too much.
To kick off this film festival, we’re going to Texas so see how a Lucha libre fighter is letting his gay flag fly inside the ring.
“‘It’s Lucha libre not a beauty parlour’, Even though it looks like it sometimes…” he says proudly. Wrestler Casandro has found homophobia outside and inside the ring but when he looks out to the crowd cheering him on, he knows the confidence in who he is is validating.
When the LGBTQ+ community has to not only come to terms with their own realisation, which can sometimes be devastating, finding community can be a lifeline. Highlighted in another clip of this film festival, LGBT youth deal with suicidal thoughts 5 times as much as heterosexual youth (The Trevor Project). Is this a result of the outside world feeling like they’re not “normal” or is it the swallowing of that rhetoric until it becomes an internalised darkness?
Cassandro El Exotico knew from a young age that he was gay. As a performer he has created a drag persona; big hair, rhinestones and spandex. Strutting around in a floor-length cape, it’s not until he sheds this and climbs through the rope where he becomes “macho”. Cassandro is proof that the idea of gayness isn’t limiting, it’s freeing.