A debut memoir about coming of age as a gay, Latinx man, High-Risk Homosexual opens in the ultimate anti-gay space: Edgar Gomez's uncle's cockfighting ring in Nicaragua, where he was sent at 13 years old to become a man. Readers follow Gomez through the queer spaces where he learned to love being gay and Latinx, including Pulse nightclub in Orlando, a drag queen convention in Los Angeles, and the doctor's office where he was diagnosed a "high-risk homosexual."
It’s largely the ugly that High-Risk Homosexual is concerned with, and though often heavy, Edgar Gomez’s debut is also a breath of fresh air ... It’s a compelling portrait of machismo: a surveilled, violent dance ... As a writer, he invites us into the chasm between what he is expected to do and what he is capable of, giving himself plenty of room for emotion, self-deprecation and acerbic observation ... Gomez writes with a humor and clarity that generally keep the melodrama at bay, an absolute must in a memoir that might otherwise have been a laundry list of painful experiences ... Ever committed to parsing its central themes of masculinity and queer identity, High-Risk Homosexual does circle back on itself a bit, the chapters teetering on uniformity. Gomez’s voice is equal parts warmth and acid wit, like a good friend you’re slightly afraid of, but there are times in the middle of a passage where you’ll feel you know what he’s going to say before he says it ... These minor complaints do little to dull the shine of an exciting debut from an author with a rare point of view ... By its own admission, the book doesn’t have all the answers, but it makes a compelling case that they will come from the razor-sharp queers living in the margins.
Edgar Gomez’s High-Risk Homosexual sashays and shantays readers through the author’s teenage years and into his early 20s ... Like a night out in Manolos, High-Risk Homosexual brings both pleasure and pain, and readers are lucky to be invited to this coming-of-age ki-ki ... Gomez’s pain is felt in the narrator’s silence and in words unwritten. Gomez captures a truth for many LGBTQ+ youths: ignore the hate, silence your secret, and you may survive ... High-Risk Homosexual creates a safe space where Gomez navigates through the hostile world that wants him to be someone other than himself. Among the most beautiful scenes in the book is one in which the narrator finds his tribe ... Gomez’s memoir werks it and serves the tea with humor while addressing serious issues; therefore, the reader is not overwhelmed with sadness ... Gomez’s vulnerable and humorous voice gives strength to High-Risk Homosexual. And yes, while this highly personal memoir is written through the unique lens of a femme-queer-Latinx, there is a universal narrative that will resonate with anyone who has ever felt marginalized. No matter how we identify or where we end up, ultimately, we are all high risk, and Gomez captures this universality so well.
That search for a way to exist at the intersection of ethnic identity and sexuality—a fraught expedition filled with alarming discoveries and awkward encounters—is fiercely articulated in this excellent debut memoir ... Gomez sheds light on the obstacles working-class Latinx queers continue to face, at home and in social settings. Information, education, financial support, and social services—all of those resources that become lifelines at the most critical junctures—can be elusive, resulting in dire consequences. But Gomez also illustrates how, despite limited access to many of these privileges, a young queer Latinx can still thrive, as he did. A journey not without difficulties, but also not without saving grace.