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Women Who Inspire Change: Anabel Ochoa
In 1997 I was 18 years old and had just moved to Mexico City. Although I had moved away from Zacatecas to study at the university, I also had the desire to fully embrace my sexuality and live as a gay man with dignity.
One night when I was feeling alone, far away from the family and friends I’d left at home, I heard something on the radio that took me by surprise. The program being broadcast was called “Totally Naked,” and its host was sexologist Anabel Ochoa. After that night, I never missed a show.
Every night at exactly 11:30 p.m., I tuned in to listen to Anabel Ochoa have intimate conversations with callers that reflected our society’s traditional, religious values and double standards. Never before had the Mexican public been exposed to someone so well informed who spoke directly about sexuality, using everyday language that was easy to understand.
Anabel Ochoa spoke fearlessly and didn’t mince words. She called things by their names, instead of using euphemisms, and wasn’t embarrassed to describe something’s texture, smell, or flavor. She came up with accessible ways to describe complicated feelings, such as describing the experience of not fitting in or being “normal” as feeling like a green dog.
There’s no doubting the importance Anabel Ochoa’s work in Mexico. She opened the door to discussion about sexuality in the media and in other forums that are more widespread. But there is also a personal side to every story of inspiration.
After being exposed to Anabel Ochoa, for the first time in my life, I began to understand that being gay wasn’t something I should be ashamed of; it was an identity I should live with a strong sense of pride. This realization was what made it possible for me to authentically live my sexuality, and do so with integrity. As Anabel Ochoa would have said, I finally stopped feeling like I was a green dog.