69 year-old, hispanic, lesbian woman Yvette Cortes at home in Orlando. Behind the scenes photography and video and assistant: Juan Pablo Ampudia, juanpablo@cuartocreativo.com. Phone +52 1 55 8676 5741. Photography by Robin Hammond, pitures@robinhammond.co.uk. Editor: Mallory Benedict, Mallory.Benedict@natgeo.com, +1 202.791.1282. 25 March 2019

Yvette Cortes /

“As a child I always felt there was something in me I could not share. Living in NY and coming from parents who were homophobic, and being catholic I guess made life a little difficult. Being a tom boy my mother would say she’s going to be like that when she grows up (in Spanish). My family new I was different than my siblings hearing my mom saying that all time, I guess as a child I felt there was something wrong with me. I would have nightmares. I guess I was in hell or would go to hell because deep down I know I was gay. At that time of my life I didn’t even know about being gay. But a mother know her child. Grow up always being attracted to girls, but at age 20 got married had 3 kids. But always knew this was something missing. I came out in my early 40s to a friend, what a relief I felt. After that I told my sisters, one of them prayed that I wouldn’t be gay.

At 45 I had my first relationship with a younger women then I knew was missing. I was always afraid to come out. I stood in my marriage in fear. But in 94 one of my son past away. I realized how short life could me, so he gave me the courage to be myself and asked my husband for a divorce.

I might have done that but because of my son It made me stronger. There is a song that say what doesn’t kill you made you stronger. That was time for me. I am really out and I really like myself. In the past I didn’t. I believe everything happens for a reason. Even thought I would rather have been unhappy in my marriage than lose my son. But I’m living my life as I always wanted. Since I was 5 years old. It’s been 24 years that I really outed myself. I’m very happy with that. I try not to make peoples problems mine… live and let live I say.”

Share this story:Share on FacebookTweet about this on Twittershare on TumblrEmail to someone