Armando Rubio, now 28, has known he was gay since he was a child. But he grew up in a full-of-machismo Mexican community in Phoenix, Arizona, so he kept his true sexuality hidden.
At the young age of 24, Armando married his girlfriend of three years in January 2012. He became a dad to daughter Hannah in November of that same year. The young family lived between Phoenix and the Mexican state of Baja California, eventually locating full-time in Baja California.
Armando’s story is not just that of a closeted gay man marrying a woman to fit societal norms. The quiet and private Armando found himself married to an abusive wife who hurt him both emotionally and physically. Although she was a great mother to Hannah, in times of anger her physical aggression towards Armando would get out of control.
But he would never hurt her. Instead he would tell her that he didn’t want to be with her anymore and then they’d separate for a couple of days. He told himself that he just had to tell her that he was gay and then he’d be free. But instead he’d find himself going back to her, seeking reconciliation.
That seven-year saga finally ended early this year, when, following another abusive episode, Armando summoned the courage to tell his now-pregnant wife the truth. The two soon separated, but with one small child and a baby on the way, they kept in close contact. The abuse continued.
Then one day in May, a couple of months after Armando had come out, his wife cornered him, angry about his new life and seemingly jealous. He escaped and drove off. But she followed and things got out of control. She began ramming his truck with her car.
Armando describes what happened next, “Then all of a sudden she just drove off the road, I don't know if she did it on purpose, or her tire popped, I don't know what happened but she lost control and flipped the car. I saw it all.” He lost both his estranged wife and his unborn child.
Today Armando is still living with his daughter in the same small Mexican community. He’s gay, but there is no gay life for him. He lives with guilt and has not sought help to deal with his very mixed and complicated feelings about his life with his former wife, her death and the death of his unborn child.
His family knows he’s gay, but they do not understand. He does not really socialize, and he certainly doesn’t have any gay friends or go on dates. He is able to count on the help of family, his and his former wife’s, to help him raise Hannah. She knows that her mommy is in heaven and Armando tells us that their father/daughter bond has become even closer since her mother’s death.
When asked, Armando disclosed that he wanted to share his story with us as a kind of catharsis, to help him get his feelings outside of himself. He knows that some day he and his daughter will need to move to a new community, ideally back in the States, so he can escape his past and finally live the life he is meant to lead.