Sex, drugs, and gangbangers. All that and more are discussed openly and honestly in Dino Dinco's documentary, Homeboy, an in-depth look at the lives of gay gang and former gang members.
As you can imagine, these men, all of whom are Latino and from the Los Angeles area, faced tremendous pressure to fit into gangland's ultra-macho world, but they also often felt isolated off the streets, too, in gay bars and clubs where race and class present their own challenges.
Yet the men, and many women, as well, also felt like they had no other option but gangs. In this excerpt from Press-Telegram reporter Beatriz Valenzuela's report on Homeboy, one of the documentary's subjects, Sergio Romero, says he found protection and family on the streets:
"'My mom wasn’t really around too much,' said Romero, who lives in East Los Angeles.
A quiet boy, he was frequently the target of bullies, Romero said, until one day a gang member offered him protection and taught Romero how to fight.
For several years Romero committed crimes for the gang, including drug-related crimes and was even picked up in a murder investigation.
'It was really hard because it’s not accepted by the gang and as Latinos, it’s not really accepted by our families as a culture,' said Romero, prompting nods from Cisco Rios, another former gang member featured in the Homeboy movie.
Rios also agreed with Romero that there are ways to signal one’s intentions within the gang. 'Sometimes it’s a look and you just know,' said Rios, who has been in a committed relationship for three years."
Here's a short trailer for and some more footage from Homeboy, which took Dinco a decade to make and which was screened today at the QFilm Festival in Venice Beach, California.