A mural has been created in Argentina inspired by a real story of overcoming childhood bullying and internalized shame.
Cristian Pons grew up in a small, rural town in Argentina called América.
He always knew he was different. His family moved to Buenos Aires when he was younger. In the city, he finally discovered what the word ‘homosexuality’ meant.
When Pons’ family returned to América his peers at high school did not accept his newfound identity. They punished him for being different by bullying him and shouting slurs.
The homophobia followed him to college in the city of La Plata. It was around this time when he found a long-term boyfriend.
Despite the relationship, Pons’ parents still didn’t know he was gay. He hid the relationship from his parents and as a result they slowly grew apart.
The truth finally came out 10 years later, when he was 28, when his father asked him ‘Are you gay?’
Pons told him ‘yes’. His father said he would love him no matter what.
Mural inspired by homophobic bullying
Talking about his mom’s reaction, Pons said: ‘She told me she’d known since I was 10. She said it would take her some time to get used to the idea, but that I could always count on her.’
Pons is now 33 years old. He has been with his new boyfriend for four years has found an accepting work environment at the business software company SAP, where he works as a finance specialist.
To celebrate living openly, with a loving family and supportive workplace, Pons has worked with graffiti artists and SAP to create a beautiful mural. The art is titled The Right To Be Yourself and shows Pons in front of a huge rainbow putting on his rainbow-face paint.
You can read more about this artwork and others that are part of Diversity in the Streets project here.