Amy Quichiz, 21, She/Her
How long have you been out?
I came out to my parents in freshman year of college during the summer break. So now, it has been roughly four years since I’ve been out as queer. However, I came out as bisexual to them since I knew they would not have understood if I said I identified as queer.
Was it a positive or negative experience?
I would say telling my parents was a great thing for self-love and healing, but overall, I would say it was a negative experience just because I knew it was about putting myself on a pedestal. I was ready to be insulted. I expected the worst and truly I received everything that I got with their reaction. However, coming out made me truly believe in myself and my queerness, and for me personally it was beautiful. It was beautiful to know I can truly be myself without hiding something from my personality.
How did your family react?
My mother automatically asked me, “So you’re not giving me grandchildren? Since when were you gay? Have you gone to church?” She immediately started crying as she was questioning my life decisions for me. When she asked me if I told my father, I begged her not to tell him, but it was too late. When I came home from a walk to the park, my father was already worried with the news that I was about to bring up.
I started from the beginning, “I knew I liked girls when—,” “What?” After he let me finish, he said, “I hope your kids don’t turn out as liberal as you are.” I looked at my mom and all she said was, “You need to go to church and talk to the pastor. There’s workshops where the devil cures you.”
How do you feel being out now vs. not being out before?
I feel great! Being out is so awesome. Not only because I get to openly date cute girls and not care about what people say, but also because I get to be a voice for queer people of color. Specifically, I get to be a queer disabled Latina activist, which is something I cherish so much in this world that constantly gives you something to be oppressed about.
Back then, I would have to lie to my parents and say I like a guy, this boy this, this boy that, instead of just admitting it was a woman. Now, I say partner and my mom even says the word “partner” when speaking about the future — back then she used to say husband. However, because I am an activist and now go to many queer spaces, of course, I am more in danger. However, just being queer in general is revolutionary and fear should not stop me.
Do you think coming out stories and practices are different for queer people of color individuals than for white LGBT people?
I would say definitely. If you are queer and a Latinx, best believe you’re about to get hit with the chancleta. It depends on how the parents themselves feel about queer people in general. Speaking from my experience, my parents would always say, “Look at those gay people, they aren’t normal,” in Spanish. However, through time those ideas change. Coming out in Latinx spaces is definitely tricky because we are very family-oriented.
First thought is, “What would the family think? What would la tia say?” It becomes more about other factors, rather than you first and what is better for you as the one that is coming out. I’ve heard white folks that come out and most of their parents understand them because they listen to that individual. In no way I am saying it is easier, however there are a lot of “cultural” or religious practices that play into it as well.
What advice would you give to someone looking to come out? What should they keep in mind?
I know why you are scared, I know why you are afraid of coming out. I was there, too, and I thought of the worst — which is normal. I thought my parents were going to kick me out, but trust me, you are loved, loved, loved. The queer community acknowledges you in the movement and we are here for you.
Don’t ever think you are alone, and do not ever think you do not have resources, if something that you least expect happens. Keep in mind that this is all part of a big movement of love and that love is part of the pathway to justice together. The more you try to discover about yourself, the closer you’ll be to self-love and most importantly, healing.