Religion, “traditional” mindsets, and language barriers have always complicated the ways in which younger generations of the Latinx community relate to the older ones that raised them. For Latinx who identify as queer, these factors typically heighten the obscurity of their own experiences particularly when it comes to opening up about their sexual identity. Still, unlike what TV would have you believe, not all coming out experiences for Latinxs are the same. Yes, many are emotional, some are even devastating and torrid, but plenty are just as equally empowering, heartening, even playful.
Over the weekend, we talked to seven Latinx at LA Pride who revealed that when it comes to coming out, Latinxs have stories as assorted as our cultura.
CREDIT: Credit: Alex Portée. Naomi is to the far left.
“The funny thing is that even though my mom grew up in Peru in a really conservative environment [my mother] is super progressive and open-minded. I remember I called her and it wasn’t even a coming out thing I was literally just like ‘Mom, I’m getting a little panicked here. I just started hooking up with this girl from work.’ Literally just like that and she didn’t react any type of way except just to say “Mijita, you don’t get involved with people at work.’ To this day its never been a weird conversation [between us]. I haven’t come out to any of my other family members on my mom’s side of the family because I feel like they’re Catholic and I think that they might be a bit funny about it. I think they sort of know about it but I’ve never talked with them about it.” — Naomi
Liz Gomez & Veronica
CREDIT: Credit: Alex Portée. Liz Gomez to the left and her partner Veronica to the right.
“The first person I came out to was my father. Actually, it was for my daughter’s birthday party. I was 29, even though I knew since I was in high school. He actually said to me ‘Do you actually like women?’ and I was like ‘yes, I do.’ It was a very liberating moment. He was very accepting of it. (Haha, even though it was at my daughter’s birthday party.) It was an amazing experience and it pretty much set me free. It was a lot more easy to talk to my dad than to my mom. When you come from a Mexican family, old school, it’s a lot more difficult because your moms grow up in the mentality that you’re going to marry a man.” — Liz
“So I was like 15 when I came out. I was in high school. I didn’t really tell my mom or anyone in my family and one day, finally, I was like ‘okay I gotta come out and I gotta tell my family.’ I was like ‘um I’m gay,’ and they were like ‘we know.’ I was like ‘how the hell do you know?’ They were like ‘we’ve known since you were little.’ I was kind of mad, I said ‘why didn’t you tell me?’ I could have avoided all of those weird awkward moments with those guys. But I needed to experience that on my own.” — Veronica
CREDIT: Credit: Alex Portée
“My best coming out experience was probably to my grandma because she was the last person I thought who would accept it and she did. I thought she was actually going to hate me a hundred percent but she was like ‘No, I love it just be you.’ She raised me and so I was very nervous because she’s someone who is very old school and very traditional, which is in part because of her Hispanic culture. It was terrifying but great.” — Dominique
CREDIT: Credit: Alex Portée. Cylvia Rodriguez
“When I came out to my mom. I was a little scared about the idea. I wasn’t sure how she would take it. We’re Salvadorian so [the culture] tends to be old school in some ways but when I came out to her she just held my hand and said, ‘We still love you. Your dad and I will always love you it doesn’t matter, you’re still our daughter, you’re still you.’ Feeling accepted, that was the most meaningful. I love my parents, I love my family. — Cylvia Rodriguez
CREDIT: Credit: Alex Portée. Lena Kinney
“My best experience was actually helping my friend come out to his parents. They’re from Trinidad so you know it’s a little bit more intense over there as far as judgment. I really just made sure that we explained in a very calm and honest way and it went really well. It was just so nice to be that support for him when he needed it. — Lena Kinney
CREDIT: Credit: Alex Portée. AvaNicole Marie
“For me, my coming out experience [started with] having family members tell my parents for me but I think one of the best parts was actually telling them. I did tell both of them myself eventually. The best part was that they both told me the same thing, they told me they loved me and that I was their child and it didn’t matter who I was that they were going to love me regardless because I am their child. I think that was really freeing and it helped me to really become who I am as a person on my own.” — Ava Nicole
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