Hello everyone, my name, as you already read it at the top, Fernando, and I’m originally from San Luis Potosí, Mexico. Many people know me by my nickname, which is “Fercho”. I’m 17 years old, and I am about to turn 18. I consider myself as a happy, positive, social, resilient, patient, kind and helpful person. I belong to the Girl Up Club called “Fierce Femmes” at the “Tecnológico de Monterrey Campus San Luis Potosí”. This club started in January of this year and we are basically new in the movement. I’m currently the only boy in the Club of our Institution, but I hope that this will change soon and many more will be added.
When our Club heard about the Girl Up Leadership Summit in Mexico, we were really excited and we all wanted to go, but at the end, it was just the Club’s President, Cossete Pérez Cabello, and me. Despite all the difficulties that we had, and the fact that it was just two people from our Club, we did attend the Summit and I do not regret doing it, because it has been one of the best experiences of my life.
When Summit Day began, my friend and I were lined up for registration, and I started looking around in order to see if I could find some other boy, so that I wouldn’t be the only one in the event. All the people who were in front of me were girls, and I still hadn’t seen another boy. I didn’t have any problem with this, and in fact, I get along pretty well with the girls, so I wasn’t really worried about that. I was very excited to meet all the leaders of the Latin America and the Caribbean Clubs, I wanted to talk to them, share ideas, and of course, I couldn’t wait to do so.
My friend and I checked in, we had our breakfast served, and immediately sat at a table. In this table there was another boy, and I said: “Ok, I’m not the only one here, there is another guy in the Summit”. Then I turned around and saw the other tables and again, another boy was there. After seeing two boys, I thought: “That’s so cool, at least I am not the only boy here who seeks gender equality, and who supports girls and women.”
I think it was quite comforting to see these two boys, and later on I saw a third one, making a total of four boys present at the Summit. This made me very happy and I said to myself: “Well, even if it’s three children and I, we are contributing to change the mentality of the “macho” men around us, and we are trying to make a change”.
Something that fascinated me at the Summit, was the participation of the great activist Nicko Nogués, who is the founder and creator of “#demachosaHOMBRES”, which is a creative activism that generates meeting spaces, aimed at men or people who identify themselves as so, in order to challenge “machismo”. I love the project he has, and the fact that he was present at a round table and in a workshop given by him as well, made me the happiest boy in the world.
I think I learned a lot from what he said, and he inspired me to give much more as a man in this struggle that we have in order to achieve gender equality. Now I’m more than determined and sure of what I want to do and achieve. Almost a year ago, I considered myself a feminist, I still am and will be. I will continue to support girls and women to achieve gender equality, but I will also do my best to involve and engage boys and men, so that they too get it, so that they are not affected by it, and that they understand and support the feminist movement.
The first Girl Up Leadership Summit in Mexico was definitely an exciting, enriching and incredible experience for me. I met girls from Monterrey, the State of Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica and other places. I participated in the workshops and I was in a great environment full of leaders and people who wanted to change the world, and that was just amazing. I carry with me all the memories and learnings that I had, and I hope that I can get to attend the Latin America and the Caribbean Summit next year and also the Washington D.C. one in the United States.
Blog by: Fernando De los Santos Ledezma, Member of Fierce Femmes Girl Up Club in San Luis Potosí, Mexico.