Cati Gomes lives in Albufeira with her wife Raquel and their few
months old baby, Noé.
AGG: You grew up around Albufeira here in the Algarve, how is life for you here?
CG: My wife Raquel and I really appreciate our privacy and there's no better country than Portugal to get that. And yes, we both grew up here and don't plan to go anywhere else. There is a saying in Portuguese, "My freedom begins, where your freedom ends", meaning we need to respect each other. My point is, that even though the older generation don't necessarily get the LGBT community yet I still respect them by not forcing them to approve of our relationship. We both feel that we don't need to prove to anyone that we are a lesbian couple by kissing in public. I´ll kiss Raquel every time I need to, without putting us in to a difficult situation. And this is another reason why we appreciate our privacy. I am not a poet or a writer but I do appreciate the finer things in life. This can be anything from enjoying the taste of a good red wine, getting lost in reading a crime novel, watching my son grow and develop, or when I witness the magic of a beautiful sunset.
AGG: What about the rest of Portugal, do you see any changes for the lives of LGBT people?
CG: Rachael and I have travelled a lot together and we are pretty sure that Portugal is getting to be more accepting of all orientations. And that's good news, right?. We don't need to scream out loud about 'our' gay pride because we believe that being gay, lesbian or bisexual is so normal, as is being straight. We act normal, not like everybody else, but just normal for what being gay is all about. We all need to believe that!
AGG: You say you are a private couple but do you still feel connected to the LGBT community?
CG: I feel ok being a member of the LGBT community as firstly, I have accepted myself and secondly, I am no different from the rest of the population. Being lesbian is my nature, but it isn't my job, it isn't a disease, not even a choice, it is part of my DNA. That's why both my wife and I feel comfortable here in our country.
AGG: Congratulations by the way on the birth of your son, Noé. How is life for you now you have a baby?
CG: Ahh, thanks. Raising our son is obviously taking up a lot of our time, and with all my heart I want him to grow up in a world where there are gay doctors, transgender politicians, lesbian teachers, and bisexual lawyers, and for this to be the norm. There is a lot of secrecy still, and that is what we need to change. But step by step. One day I will be proud to tell my son why he has two mummies and how we managed everything. That's my current mission on this earth. I also work part time with my father in a snack bar in Albufeira and, apart from the English, Irish and French customers, many local people are our customers. My point is that these local people have known me since I was eight years old. They are a generation of Portugese people between 50 and 70 years old and I personally feel they don't understand why I decided to have a child. Maybe it is because I don't have a husband? But my point is, that despite what they may or may not be thinking, they have never said anything rude to me. Never! I respect myself and I respect them. I will not force anyone to accept me just because I am a lesbian. And I refuse to be rude if they don't accept me. I am a woman, I am Cati and I got married to a woman and had a child. I have good and bad days like everyone else. Being gay has been a taboo for a long time, and a huge secret for the older generation but hopefully not by the time my son has become a grown man.
AGG: Where do you like to eat and drink and generally socialise with friends?
CG: I love Caniço in Alvor. It is a great restaurant on the beach, a little bit strange but very magical at the same time. It is always busy with great jazz music playing. Alte is a gorgeous place to visit with its beautiful waterfall at Queda Do Vigário. It has plenty of places to sit and enjoy a picnic. Silves with its famous castle is also brilliant, especially during its late summer medieval festival. Faro is pretty amazing too, it has a four day motorbike festival in July where bikers from all over europe gather together. In terms of LGBT places t,here are not a lot of options but I feel completely comfortable with my wife and our friends anywhere. There is the gay club in Portimão of course, and a few more in Lisboa where we like to go and party. But we are perfectly happy to celebrate and enjoy the company of friends in some lounge bar, just like we did for our wedding.
AGG: Thanks Cati for talking to us, any words of wisdom that you would like to leave us with.
CG: I believe it is important to be true to yourself. I feel sorry for people who pretend to be happy when they are truly not. They're wasting their life.