I sat on my front porch, hands in my lap as my legs swung back and forth. I could feel the sweat running down my forehead due to the Texas sun radiating on my face and body but I didn’t care.
I let out an exaggerated sigh hoping it would lift my mood; it didn’t. I had too many thoughts going through my mind but one kept jumping out at me like a fruit loop in a bowl of cheerios.
What was a mere thought in the back of my mind had turned into my reality. A reality I would never be able to escape.
Coming out as lesbian in a Latinx family wasn’t the easiest thing to do. I didn’t receive acceptance and understanding; instead, I was faced with judgement and criticism. Just because I come from a minority family doesn’t mean they’ll understand.
Every time I think of it, I can still feel the butterflies erupting in my stomach. I can still feel the sweat on the palms of my hands because of my nerves that never calmed down.
I could see the disapproval on their faces as soon as the words came out of my mouth. Their traditional roots couldn’t comprehend something that seemed so simple to me.
I was told I was naive. Too young to know if I liked girls but that’s where the double standards came in.
When my brother came home with a girlfriend in middle school my parents were ecstatic; why couldn’t they have the same reaction with me?
But I obviously didn’t know what I was talking about. In my family’s eyes I will always be too naive or too young to understand the topic of sexuality.
I knew I was different. Apart from the criticism coming from my family, I had become accustomed to the insults and the rude words that would be spit in my face by people I considered friends or even strangers.
This wasn’t new to me. I was used to the constant teasing from speaking Spanish better than I did English, but this aspect of it was unique.
I wasn’t used to this. I wasn’t used to being picked on for liking the same gender.
Now I was a minority within a minority.
It’s not only what people physically speak to you; it’s the side stares, the glares, the push when you walk past them, the anonymous notes in your gym locker.
These small actions and words gradually build up and keep you awake at night.
It’s sad to think I may not even know these people but they automatically assume so much about me. About who I am and how I act. You get judged before saying a single word.
I’ve had to learn to live with the fact that people are always going to judge you. I know it’ll happen multiple times in my life but I don’t have enough time to care. I have more important things to deal with than what others think of me.
I wish I knew that before.
Not everything turned out terrible; the teasing turned into the fuel that would drive me to protests, pride parades and let myself be who I am. I’m proud and comfortable in my own skin.
Regardless of my last name, my sexual orientation or where I am from, I will continue to contribute to the fight and search for peace and happiness.
Now I sit on the front porch again and sigh happily, thinking about how much I have changed in the past couple years. My family accepts me for who I am and even though certain people don’t understand, I know my family and friends love me.
I don’t think the name-calling or hate will ever stop, but I am who I am and nothing will change that.
This story was originally published on Farmers’ Harvest on April 2, 2019.