Jerry Martinez

As Interviewed by Zoe Pena, March 24, 2019

Jerry Martinez: in his Words

At a very young age, growing up, just knew I was different.

We didn't really grow up with a lot of gay people so being different just wasn't normal especially coming from Port Lavaca, to experience growing up in a very sheltered small town.

A lot of me not liking school had to do with the experience of getting harassed and bullied every single day of high school. Aunt Connie when she found out that I was outed I remember in I think it was in the 7th grade that I was outed, the Calhoun County fair, it was going around that I was gay. So everybody was talking about it, and my aunt, my aunt Patsy she actually called me and told me what she had heard, and she goes “deny it”, and my response was “Why, why should I have to deny it... if it's true?”

My older sister Lisa, she's a lesbian as well, when I think it came to that, my mom has two lgbt people in her life, their her children. So I think as a parent it was hard for her because she just she knew what came along with the lifestyle we were choosing and I think she was more scared than anything. I think it was fear, a lot of people feared it, when people don't understand things they're really fearful. If people had a better understanding of all these extra acronyms that are being added to the lgbt, then they would be more accepting, and not really questioning it.

My train of thought every day waking up was to be the best I could be, I was really, I’d wake up every day nervous to go to school. Cause I didn't know how the day was gonna end up, I didn't know who was gonna make fun of me I knew it was gonna happen throughout the day.

Women were the most comforting people in my life, just because no matter what there was always a woman around to comfort me when I was going through a hard time.

It finally came out she's [Lisa] like alright I'm tired of you procrastinating right now what's going on? And I'm like: well, I'm gay and that's when she came out to me and she was like I'm gay as well. There's an outreach center called *center name* so my sister would drop me off there. We came from Port Lavaca we didn't know anything like this and coming to the city where everyone’s so accepting. And nobody judges you here, you can be whoever and whatever you wanna be.

I appeal to women, I appeal to men, I appeal to the gay community, I love the gay community, I love the drag queens. This is my 5th year as a designer, and just the opportunities coming my way, like not too many people know, I don't know when this interview is coming out, I'm actually going to be applying to be a stitcher for lady gaga. Coming from nothing, coming from Port Lavaca, a little boy who always got bullied every single day, to working this hard. It's what I'm learning along the way.

Talked to one of my girlfriends today about this, I was like I had it hard, I had it hard so these people wouldn't have it hard. My time is my experience. And more of the LGBT youth, I hope they know, the should be grateful for all the support they have today.

I worked with a photographer, she was doing headshots, and we decided to dress her up, I dressed her up in a feathered maxi dress I had made and I told her straight up, let me style you. And I styled her, and she started crying... because she felt so beautiful. And that right there, that makes me love what I'm doing, if I can make somebody feel better, then it's worth it.