As much as I love my Latine background, I absolutely hate our religious perspective on same-sex love.
Being raised in a Catholic household, I would go to church up to five hours a week. I would routinely hear about how the plague that is homosexuality would land you a one-way ticket to hell for eternal damnation.
I was easily indoctrinated with this homophobic rhetoric and personally internalized it to the point that I ultimately became homophobic myself at such a young age.
It took me being confronted, due to this newly adopted ideology, to realize the irony of the Catholic exclusion of gay people within the religious boundaries of forgiveness.
In that moment of realization, I was able to find the courage to look deeply within myself and admit the single most liberating and terrifying thing I ever had to say out loud, “Oh my God, I’m attracted to women.”
I looked in the mirror with tears in my eyes genuinely believing that I had committed the ultimate sin by finally accepting the truth. No matter how much I could try to repent, I would never be able to go to heaven, and that was a very traumatizing concept for my 11 year old self to understand.
Thankfully, I was always surrounded by accepting friends and peers whom which I was able to fully be myself around, but I knew I had to revert back to my old self whenever I was home.
I decided I would never come out to my parents because I could not accept the thought of them looking at me with disgust, so for the longest time I didn’t.
However, the summer going into my senior year of high school, I wanted to attend the San Francisco Pride Parade to openly celebrate my queer identity. I wanted to escape the heteronormative environment I lived in, even if it was just for a day.
Being heavily sheltered in high school, my mother repeatedly asked me why I wanted to attend this event as badly as I did. In the midst of a heavy verbal argument, I yelled, “Because I’m pansexual! I want to go because I’m gay.”
After a long moment of silence, she began to tell me that I wasn’t queer, that I was severely confused. She said that I only identified as such because it was trendy to say so.
Although I felt as if her words were a bullet that had penetrated right through me, I didn’t expect anything less from her. After that, I have tried to explain my sexuality to her on two separate situations, and each time she stated the same thing.
I was comfortable enough to tell her every single one of my straight relationships, but I had to keep my relationship with my ex-girlfriend a secret because her closed-minded brain couldn’t comprehend the idea of her daughter being capable of loving women.
Now that I have been with my boyfriend for almost three years, the idea that it was a phase has only been further cemented in her mind. She isn’t the only one who thinks that either.
On multiple occasions, I’ve been told that I was straight, and that I have no right to identify with the LGBTQ+ community because I am dating a man. The invalidation of my sexuality has been an ongoing theme in my life, and I’m done questioning the validity of my identity.
I am proudly pansexual and capable of loving anyone despite their genitalia. In terms of gender, love has no bounds and I’m tired of hearing that there are.
Coming out is never easy, and whether or not people accept the truth, never be afraid to own your sexual orientation.