Updated: Jan 4, 2021
Growing up queer in a Latinx household can taste sweet like honey; it can taste salty or anything in between.
The experience for young queer folks of color is different from others, especially compared to white folks. However, this is my experience, my story, and does not mean it applies to every queer, Latinx, cis-gendered boy out there.
There are various things that I would want to talk about in this blog, but I will briefly talk about two things, family and coming out.
To be able to talk about a queer person’s experience growing up in different families and cultures, we need to understand that every community is layered. I come from a Latinx family who is also Catholic. As a young kid, I remember hearing that marriage was between a man and a woman and that being a joto(gay) was a sin, and we were all going to hell. I remember my abuela saying that if one of her kids were to express that they are queer, she would rather never see them again. I remember hearing one of my uncles saying that if one of his children were gay, he would burn them alive. My family has insulted me and the queer community as a whole, which is why I have chosen not to engage with them.
Yes, it hurts, especially when it comes from a family who is supposed to love you for whomever you are. This is one reason why I believe family is something the LGBTQ+ community yearns for. We want to feel loved and cared for who we are, but this is not the reality for most of the queer community. I also want to acknowledge that even though I have been insulted by family members, there are queer people out there who are disowned and kicked out of their families. I am privileged to have not experienced that, and I do not want to discount the reality for various queer folks out there, especially our black and brown trans brothers and sisters.
My family have utilized religion as a weapon to exclude and oppress queer folks. I do not blame religion itself, however, because I have met incredible human beings who happen to be religiously/ spiritually inclined. Instead, I blame the way certain people will use religion as an excuse to justify their homophobia.
With growing queer comes other challenges like the erasure of young love. Like many other queer children, I was afraid to come out in high school and miss out on young love. By no means, am I trying to say that coming out is a race, it is not. However, this leads to the young love that most queer people are robbed of.
Moreover, coming out in a Latinx family created various mental traumas for me because of everything I had experienced. These mental traumas will not be acknowledged in Latinx households and are only seen as being weak. I have not addressed these different traumas I experienced until recently, and I am just learning new things about myself; I did not know then. On the other hand, a straight person will never have to come out.
But mental traumas coupled with the limited or non-existent sex-ed at schools for LGBTQ+ folks in the curriculum create a vortex for potential danger. With no guidance from family or the community, queer people are set to experience trauma after trauma. This is true, especially for queer folks of color.
I could continue with my story, but there is much I can talk about. Again, my realities are only mine and I do not want that to get confused as the reality for every queer folk because it is not.
And to close off, I want to leave a word of advice I always remind myself and those around— if you would feel bad if someone did it to you, why would you do it to someone else?