Félix Garmendía

Félix Garmendía

"I was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico in the 60s. Living in Puerto Rico, and growing up there was a bumpy process. I was very aware of my homosexual identity at a very early age, so fighting the stigma was a very intense journey in my native island.

I love art. The Ponce Art Museum was my shelter since I was in high school. As my first job ever, I guided bilingual tours for locals and tourists from all over the world.

In high school, I was introduced to music and theater, after that, I chose to pursue a B.A. in theater at the U.P.R. ( University of Puerto Rico ). Rio Piedras campus.

In college, I discovered many things about myself. My sexual identity became established, my religious beliefs changed dramatically and my awareness of my role in society became the first and biggest challenge of my life. I became a proud gay man, an atheist and an activist. The political climate in Puerto Rico was very far away from recognizing any kind of gay rights so I knew that I needed a community that I could call my own, and be myself. After several years in Puerto Rico, in my twenties, I moved to N.Y.C. to pursue a Master’s Degree in Art Education and Art Criticism at New York University. I decided to stay in Manhattan. Here I found myself. I discovered my passions, causes to fight for, and the strong community that I always dreamed of. I became a passionate man with strong convictions.

After graduation I became a N.Y.C. school teacher. I taught art in the South Bronx, Spanish Harlem and Upper Manhattan for 15 years.

Sometime in my twenties, I was exposed to HIV. I tested HIV-positive and after a serious depression, came out strong and victorious. I became an AIDS activist. My passions in life became the gears that fed energy into my existence.

Very early in my N.Y.C. years, I became a staunch liberal. All my causes were related. I was trying to survive in a world where not everybody cared if I did or not. Politics made clear who cared for me as a human being.

That’s why I’m very vocal about my postings. Not because I want to convince anybody, but I do it for those who, like me, once needed some direction in life. I want to share the "real" me with those friends with similar beliefs or at least respect for my beliefs.

Today, I still live in Manhattan. I’m legally married to my husband Denis Beale and I’m disabled. My life is not easy, I have several health related conditions that are a real challenge these days. This bring me to another one of my causes. From personal experience, I believe in the legalization of cannabis (marijuana). 

I consider myself a loving, compassionate and spiritual person. I have no patience for bigotry, especially the kind of sanctimonious bigotry that wraps itself in prayer and fake compassion.

This is a synopsis of who I am. It would be really helpful to start introducing myself with my favorite warning. Warning: I’m human, far from perfect, passionate about life, the pursue of difficult answers, and the conviction that we are all equal."

Felix has been featured in The Huffington Post’s Queer Voices; see the piece here.

You can follow Felix on Facebook here or here and on twitter @PozHeart.

  

I'm still here!

published: May, 14, 2015 Written by // Félix Garmendía Categories // Gay Men, Lifestyle, Living with HIV, Population Specific , Félix Garmendía

Our New York guy on wheels Felix Garmendia says “accepting the idea of being in a wheelchair was a very long process”

I'm still here!

Accepting the idea of being in a wheelchair was a very long process. The journey of my disability is a long and winding road, starting years ago when I had the feeling one afternoon that something was wrong with my muscles. I was working out at the gym. I had a very disciplined routine of working out for two hours, three times a week. The results were showing and I was very pleased with them. Slowly but surely, though, my body lost strength, my muscles began to feel tired and my doctor sent

My HIV story

published: May, 07, 2015 Written by // Félix Garmendía Categories // Activism, Social Media, Gay Men, International , Living with HIV, Media, Opinion Pieces, Population Specific , Félix Garmendía

New York poz guy Felix Garmendia returns with .his story. "HIV struck me like a lightning bolt but it also helped me validate the wonders of life, friendship, love, and compassion.".

My HIV story

It was December 19th, 1989. After being celibate for three years, I decided to get tested to give my then boyfriend the nicest Christmas present I could think of. We were decorating our Christmas tree when the phone rang. My boyfriend answered and his words were, “They are calling to give you your HIV test results”.  I grabbed the phone and a cold voice that I will never forget said, – “ Mr. Garmendia your HIV test came back positive”. I became very confused, How could it be possib

Too much sex?

published: May, 04, 2015 Written by // Félix Garmendía Categories // Gay Men, Lifestyle, Living with HIV, Media, Opinion Pieces, Population Specific , Sex and Sexuality , Félix Garmendía

Being poz and sex positive in New York City in the 90s, Felix Garmendia was asked by the Advocate magazine back then “how much sex is too much?”. Now writing, for PositiveLite.com he provides an update.

Too much sex?

In the summer of 1997, I received a call from a friend asking me if I wanted to be interviewed by The Advocate. I asked my friend, "Why on earth would The Advocate be interested in interviewing me?" The Advocate was looking for HIV-positive men who were sexually active and would be interested in sharing their experiences in an interview. I accepted the offer. The interview mostly dealt with my active sexual life then, and my opinions about how to have multiple partners and still act responsib

Vinny's cat

published: April, 30, 2015 Written by // Félix Garmendía Categories // Gay Men, Population Specific , Sex and Sexuality , Félix Garmendía

Felix Garmendia goes to a New York City sex club where not all the attendees are human

Vinny's cat

I have always been a very sex positive person. Sex is an essential part of human nature and now that I’m older I really remember and celebrate every single moment of pleasure that I shared with other men.  About 20 years ago, I used to be very active in the gay leather community in NYC. It was a routine that after a few drinks in the three favorite bars, The Eagle, The Spike and The Altar, people used to go to after-hours clubs. One night, at The Altar I was having a few drinks with a gro

"Husband and husband"

published: April, 23, 2015 Written by // Félix Garmendía Categories // Activism, Gay Men, Living with HIV, Opinion Pieces, Population Specific , Félix Garmendía

New writer Felix Garmendia from New York City says the use of words like ”husband and husband” gives us the opportunity to educate people about gay rights and same sex marriage.

I just arrived home from the doctor’s office.  On our way there, a shirt in a store window caught my attention. We decided to buy it but they were all too big for me. A clerk came out of the store to help us. He barely spoke any English. It is my guess he was from the Caribbean, like me. Denis started asking some questions related to the shirt's sizes but he looked at me lost, so I decided to translate for him. The store is located in a neighborhood mostly populated by Latinos. After liv

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