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Thu 29 Mar, 2012
By Newsdesk

“I wanted in a way to honor that community. I hope they feel honored,” Rice-Gonzalez,

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Gay coming-of-age novel ‘Chulito’ puts Hunts Point in the literary map

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Charles Rice-Gonzalez set his gay coming-of-age debut novel, “Chulito” on Garrison Ave., a gritty commercial corner of Hunts Point in the Bronx known for its auto glass- repair shops.

“I wanted in a way to honor that community. I hope they feel honored,” Rice-Gonzalez, 47, says with a big nervous laugh over coffee on a recent afternoon.

He has reasons to be a bit nervous.

The area is a macho heaven, both in real life and in “Chulito,” but in the novel, there’s a homoerotic vibe present in almost every character, gay and straight.

Rice-Gonzalez’s very honest book is the story of Chulito’s coming-out process in a neighborhood where few dare to be openly gay, much less him, a streetwise, 16-year-old high school dropout who works in the drug business.

The author, known in the Bronx cultural scene as the co-founder and executive director of the non-profit Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance (BAAD!) in Hunts Point, found inspiration many years back in a passing kids’ exchange along the Grand Concourse.

“I saw these two little boys running and they were saying ‘Ewww, hurry up, Tony is gay, Tony is gay.’ They were all like 15 years old,” Rice-Gonzalez recalls. “Then, a few minutes later, Tony comes running behind them, ‘Yo, wait up, I’m not gay, I’m not gay’ and he had like the baseball cap and the big clothes and I just said ‘I wonder what if Tony was gay, what would his life be like?”

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Source: New York Daily News


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