The first interview that Katie and I did when we got to Guatemala City was with a woman named Samantha. She is the director of OMES, Guatemala’s first sex workers union. One of the first mental notes I made about Samantha is that she looks hella queer. And of course she is. Over the course of our four hour interview, Samantha reveals that she has two wives, a beard, three daughters, one grandchild (WHO IS SO CUTE AND TINY YES YOU ARE) and three yappy chihuahuas who were very disruptive to ourinterviews. It was later brought to my attention that she also has two other girlfriends and those girlfriends also have girlfriends who have girlfriends until infinity. These are the relationships she manages on top of directing a union and having a variety of other side hustles. Not limited to selling ice cream and hosting events at OMES HQ. During the interview she mentioned that there was going to be a wedding in their yard on Saturday, so Katie and I invited ourselves.
When we arrive on Saturday, we find out that it’s not just a wedding. It’s several. Seven to be exact. Every 20 minutes or so, they would cue the same wedding music and another queer couple would walk down the aisle, stand at the altar and mix their respective cups of sand which symbolizes two people coming together. They would exchange vows, rings and kiss, you know the deal. This of course is not a legal marriage, but a symbolic one. Although being gay is not a crime, same sex marriage does not exist in a legal sense. But beyond the legal hurdles, being gay in Guatemala is dangerous, much like it is in many places. So twice a year Samantha and her compañeras host a day of weddings. It was intimate, joyful and definitely corny, like most weddings. Some of the ceremonies had tears, while others did not. Some had mariachi’s, some had family, some had many friends and some had none at all.
– Mitra Kaboli