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Men in the Movement: What Valentina Knows about Her Uncle Ricardo
Valentina is 4 years old and she has known me since she was born. She’s the niece of my partner Abel, and according to Valentina, both of us are her uncles and a part of her family. Valentina doesn’t know that I am an advocate working for LGBT rights globally. She only knows that both of her uncles love her, play with her, and teach her new things from time to time.
As a member of the Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights in Mexico, I have participated in many international projects related to the sexual rights of LGBT people and youth. In particular, I fight for the legal recognition of different forms of families. This struggle is personal for me since I come from a family where women had strong roles and have created a new family made up of two men and two beautiful doggies.
Many of the families in Mexico are not what is considered “traditional.” Families come in many different configurations, including single parents and children, straight couples with no children, and children who have two dads or two moms. These new family formations require men who don't follow gender stereotypes for males; they require people who believe families are simply people who love each other and choose to make a life together.
Valentina’s uncle is one of many people who are trying to make a difference in the way society looks at families in Mexico. As she grows up, she will know that men have more options than being the macho guy whose role is just a provider. She’ll know that men can be sentimental, can be responsible for the care of the home and the children, and can love other men just as some men love women.
Ricardo Baruch is a student of Public Health at the Instituto Nacional de Salud Pública. He is a passionate activist who has collaborated with many international organizations, including UNFPA, UNAIDS, and Mexfam, IPPF/WHR's Member Association in Mexico.