Exclusive: Whats it like being gay in the Hispanic culture
I am SOOO excited to bring you all the second installment from our exclusive series about growing up gay in different cultures. If you missed the first story about growing up gay in the Asian culture you can view it here. This story was submitted by one of our FAB readers and the views/points discussed in this article belong to the author :-) Enjoy the story!
Growing up Gay and Hispanic
So I didn’t want to start this off by sounding like a dating website. By stating who I am and tell everyone my name and back ground. My name is Jay and I’m a Puerto Rican Lesbian. Whew it feels like I came out again. By now I am used to this happening on a daily basis, but no one really knows the back story or better yet the personal struggles that I went through living in a Latin world and being a lesbian. Hopefully someone out there will read this and see me in a different light other then just a Hispanic lesbian.
Growing up in a Latin household is really simple “keep your mouth shut.” sounds crazy but true. There is always that pink elephant in the room but no one wants to say something about it because it would be rude. Not only does this work with sexuality but with everything that we don’t want to see in the light. Whether it is abuse or cheating, if the one that is going through chooses not to speak about it then no one will. I remember one day coming home and seeing my mom with a fat lip and she said “oh no honey I just took the wrong pill and I have an allergic reaction”. Mind you I was thirteen and have seen enough lifetime movies to know what was really going on but I was raised to not talk. Funny how when me being lesbian came up everyone was talking about it behind my back. I was pushed out the closet to say the least; my brother found my instant messenger name and told my mom what it meant. I was sitting in my room when she came to me and bluntly asked me if I was a lesbian and I said “yes mom”. She looked at me up and down like I was short, threw my boot on the floor and walked out the room. The one person I thought I can always turn to gave me her back.
You can’t talk about struggles growing up in a Latin world with out talking about religion. I wasn’t raised Catholic but I was raised as a Baptist Christian. Growing up the best way to describe me is as a self-hated scared little girl. I buried myself in the Christian lifestyle; I went to church about four times a week. I hated anything that had to do with the homosexual lifestyle, and anything else the bible said was wrong. I couldn’t take it anymore and decided that god would want me to be happy then hate myself. That’s not how my community saw it though, they wanted me to know they don’t approve of me or who I choose to love. We know how to love but when we want to hate we know how to hate until it stings. Still to this day in Latin countries there are murders being committed on the Gay community and many that we don’t know about as well. One of my closet friends comes from a Salvadorian family and theres not a time when I don’t see her crying because the one person she wants to talk to about her life, which is her mom; she can’t because her mom just won’t have it. At times it feels that committing a murder is more acceptable then being Gay. They see it as a crime against God and it will just not be tolerated.
As far as struggles in my lifetime I would have to say the most struggles I have had are with my inner self. Changing myself to feel comfortable within my own skin. It has taken me a few years to truly accept who I am meant to be in life. I never had anyone I can turn to, someone to look up to and show me how to adjust to living this lifestyle. There were plenty times where the option I wanted was not to live. I soon discovered that no one lives my life but Me. I have to be who I choose to be and run with it.
Although I have had some of these struggles I must say that I am now at a great place in my life. I am living for me and pushing on to make my life better for me and my family. At the end of day I love my friends and family and there actions through out my life have made me see how I will live my life. For those who feel like they don’t have anyone just know you do have someone. There are so many groups and websites that will listen to you. I can also tell you what I did to get by; I wrote a lot of poetry. Most of the time you just have to let it out and writing it is one way of doing that. As I quote a line from my favorite song “Free your mind and the rest will follow” (En Vogue “Free your mind”). Just let go and be you, at the end of the day you the one that has to be happy with yourself not anyone else.
By Jay Torres