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VIEWPOINT Coming-out letter
2020-07-28

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Mom,

Starting this letter is by far one of the toughest things I have done in a long time, and trust me, I've done plenty of difficult things. First of all I want to note that this letter is not intended to hurt your feelings at all, but to allow me to be myself and move forward with my personal growth. I have been hiding a very important part of myself because of the shame created by religion and uneducated people around me, but I'm done hiding, I am done considering everyone else before I consider myself.

I am pansexual.

What does this mean? ( from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary )

Pansexual, adjective

Definition of:

Relating to, or characterized by sexual or romantic attraction that is not limited to people of a particular gender identity or sexual orientation.

Pansexual people are attracted to all kinds of people, regardless of their gender, sex or presentation. —Farhana Khan

Alos: not soley homosexual or heterosexual

The famous 0-6 scale — was devised to chart sexual proclivities, from purely heterosexual ( 0 ) to purely homosexual ( 6 ). Kinsey said humans are pansexual ( most falling somewhere between 0 and 6 and restrictions imposed by society and religion lead to sexual maladjustments. —Lisa C. Hickman

So that is the dictionary definition of pansexual, but what does it mean to me?

Being pansexual means being attracted to people because of who they are and how they look regardless of their gender ( aka, regardless of their genitals ).

I am guessing one of your first questions is: When did you realize you were pansexual?

I was a child the first time I consciously realised I found a woman attractive, probably around 7 years old, it wasn't sexual at all, but I felt butterflies in my tummy for boys and girls. It was just as innocent as a 7 year old girl who only likes boys, except I didn't only like boys.

As I grew, I realised these feelings were not going away, they were actually growing stronger and louder in my brain, I buried myself in religion because I could not deal with my sexuality, I was ashamed, I was disgusted and, honestly, I was mostly afraid of hell and how it would make my mother never love me again. So I hid it, I prayed and prayed it would go away, I prayed and prayed God would make me straight so my life could be easier, but he never did.

As the years passed, I realised being queer ( part of the LGBTQIA+ community ) did not make me feel separated from God at all, it was the church's stigmas and interpretation of his word that did, so I separated myself from the church, and from your views, but never from God. I accepted my sexuality around 15, I realised God was still with me around 20, after I stopped going to church and got the opportunity to get to know God and create a real and personal relationship with him.

One of the strongest reasons I moved to the US was because I was ready to be free and I needed the opportunity to be myself and create a life without the restrictions of being your daughter. I am still your daughter, but I have been openly queer to everyone in my life since I moved here, and I made sure you were not included in this to avoid hurting your feelings, so in a way, my queerness wasn't your daughter, but now I am prepared and ready to come out and fully be your daughter, but most of all, fully be who I am.

Hey! I am just here as a little reminder to take a breath, this is a lot of information and you do not need to overwhelm yourself, get up, get some water and breath.

I love you, no matter what, always.

I am and will always be your daughter, I am still the same person, and I am just as human as I was before you read this, but this might explain to you why "I am praying for you to find a man" is so triggering for me ( apart from the fact that finding a romantic partner is not my priority at all, and I have decided since about 10-12 years I do not want children, but we'll get to that ).

This is not a phase, nor am I rebelling against anything or anyone. THIS IS WHO I AM. I can't change my sexuality, it is a part of me. The reality is if you want to have a relationship with me, you will have to accept me as who I am fully, just like I do with you. I do not agree with you in many things, and I am not the best at handling it always, but I am constantly trying to be gentle and respectful of your way of thinking even if I do not agree with it.

EVERYTHING in life is subjective, mostly opinions, no matter how much they are based on facts. You can manipulate information to become a fact that backs up your way of thinking no matter what you believe in, so I would advise you to step away for a second, step away from everything you have known my entire life, and see me for who I am: A pansexual, bipolar strong, educated, and beautiful mexican woman . This will make you angry every time you try it, until you actually take off your stigma glasses, take your time, I will wait.

Hey! I am just here as another little reminder to take a breath, this is a lot of information and you do not need to overwhelm yourself, get up, get some water and breath.

I love you, no matter what, always.

We all do this at some point of our lives, we step away from our parents' beliefs to find our own, the big difference usually lies in the way the parents decide to react. For example, your mother's horrible racism, you saw it as a stigma you do not want to rule your life under, so you deconstruct yourself and learn better ways. Want to know some good news? If you can dismantle one, you can usually work up to doing it for other types of discriminatory thinking, like homophobia ( yay! You can do this! ).

So what now, Marlo?

Now we work on loving each other for who we are and not for who we want or expect each other to be, and we stop trying to change each other by focusing on bettering ourselves instead of one another.

This is going to be difficult mom, VERY difficult, but we have gone through so much... I believe in us, I believe in love, and I believe in you.

One of the first big things is creating boundaries and respecting each other's boundaries .

Example:

Marlo: "Mom, when you tell me about how you envision my life with a husband and children, it hurts my feelings, because it means you don't want the best FOR ME, you want the best for you, and it shows you don't see me as a woman, but as a child, which I am very much not."

Pina: "I am sorry for projecting my needs and expectations onto you, you are your own person and I respect if you do not want the same life I want."

Also Pina: Pina stops making those comments because she values her daughter and having a relationship with her more than proving her point and being right. The only way Pina can talk about something in Marlo's life is if Marlo is comfortable talking about it, not through "force" or uncomfortable and endless repetition.

Hey! I am just here as a little reminder to take a breath, this is a lot of information and you do not need to overwhelm yourself, get up, get some water and breath. I love you, no matter what, always.

So what do we do?

Oh I am so glad you asked!

- The first thing is educating yourself , and don't worry, I will help you. In this document you will find a good amount of resources that will lead you to very interesting information that,

if you allow it, will help you understand who I am and how to process this better.

- We are going to set clear boundaries with each other so we can have a better relationship with each other.

- We will respect those boundaries , and request the permission of the other person to break those boundaries when really necessary. ( Example: " Marlo, is it okay if we talk about your romantic life?" & I can say yes or no, and my decision must be respected, because it is a subject that pertains to my life, not yours ).

- We will focus our self growth in ourselves, not one another's.

One of the hardest parts of this is creating boundaries and keeping up with them, so I have created a list of things I need from you if you want to have a relationship with me:

- I am who I am, I do not need yours or anyone's opinion about my sexuality, it's not up to discussion ( just as me being mexican would never be questioned, neither should this ), this is who I am, and if I am not loved and respected as a queer person, then I am not being loved and respected period . This includes videos, links, conversations, images, audios, etc.

- There will be no talk about my "family life". This is NOT a priority in life and it is disrespectful to disregard my decision as the adult I am. If I ever want to bring this up, we will bring this up under my terms, not yours ( you already had your children and made your decisions, these are mine and mine only ). This includes videos, links, conversations, images, audios, etc.

- I would prefer "I am praying to God to bring you a man" to NEVER be used again, but if you can't refrain yourself from talking about this with me, you will refer to them as my partner , not my husband or man. If you are unable to use this term, you will not bring this up with me again. This includes videos, links, conversations, images, audios, etc.

- For the time being, we will not talk about political things , I do not agree with you, you do not agree with me, we will not change each other's point of view, so it is unnecessary and hurting our relationship. This includes videos, links, conversations, images, audios, etc.

- We will not talk about religion until you understand I do not need to believe the way you do in order for my belief to be valid. You might be right in your eyes, but I am right in mine, so there is no point in discussing this. I want to talk to you mom, not to God, when I want to talk to God, I do. This includes videos, links, conversations, images, audios, etc.

- We will avoid commenting about my weight unless it is a conversation started by me.

Nobody needs to have an opinion about anybody's body than their own, if you don't have something good to say about my body or my relationship with food, then don't say anything. I have struggled with eating disorders my entire life, and this is a very triggering subject for me, you don't need to understand, you just need to respect it.

Do not send me diets or any diet related content ( unless you are telling me about your personal experience, like how fasting has been helping YOU ). This includes videos, links, conversations, images, audios, etc.

These are only some things, and you are welcome to create your own list of boundaries as well. I want to love you for who you are entirely, I want to know you as a woman, and I want to build a real relationship with you. You are not the mother of a child, you do not have a say anymore. You are the mother of an adult and your opinion is not a rule, it is just that, an opinion, one that I can dismiss or disregard if I choose to do so ( I actually always listen to your point of view, I just don't follow every opinion unless I truly believe it is the best for me at the moment ).

Hey! I am just here as another little reminder to take a breath, this is a lot of information and you do not need to overwhelm yourself, get up, get some water and breath.

I love you, no matter what, always.

I have spent my life curating my community, ensuring I only have people in my life who want to be there and who deserve to be there. It took me a while to expand this into my family, but a while back I realised: blood should never excuse the lack of respect, or the abuse from any person in your life. Just because you are related to someone does not mean you need to accept their actions if those go against you and who you are.

Mom, I am not pushing you out of my life with this, I am letting you in, I am opening up to a part of myself that I never thought I would let out until the day you died or I had a non-cisman ( not a biological heterosexual man ) partner and had to inevitably tell you. But I am ready to be the strong empowered beautiful woman God meant for me to be, and I can't do it if I don't love and accept myself fully, and I need to be "out of the closet" in order to do so.

So this is it mom, this is my coming out letter.

Please note I do not need to discuss this, I do not need your opinion, because this is not something that can be changed, this is not up for discussion, this is me.

At this moment I am setting a boundary of non-communication unless you have a positive response to give me. What does this mean? Any response along the lines of: I don't understand you, but I respect you, love you and stand by you, or I am sorry you felt like you had to hide yourself from me for so many years, I hope we can work on a better relationship together.

Mom, I am not lying or exaggerating, I have put up with a lot in my life, I have let you decide enough for me and I have let you fill my head with fears and ignorant stigmas my entire life and it is over. If you do not stand with me, I will forever love you, but I do not want you in my life until you accept me as I am.

I love you so much, you are a huge part of my life, but I am unable to go on like this. I hope you understand this comes from a place of love and a desire of growth. You are my mother and that will never change, I will love you even after I die, and that will never change. Please understand this, everytime you feel like this is too much or you are ready to give up, think about how much love I have for you, and how much you matter to me. I would not have hid this for so long and I wouldn't be telling you if I did not love you.

You are a light, mom, you always have been. You are a fighter, you are an amazing woman, but you stopped questioning yourself and your environment at some point of your Christianism, you stopped educating yourself in anything that does not have "God" written on it, and how can you understand the world you live in if you only see one truth ever? The answer is simple: you can't.

How can you have any conversation that is unrelated to God if that is all you have in your life?

You can't.

Hey! I am just here as another little reminder to take a breath, this is a lot of information and you do not need to overwhelm yourself, get up, get some water and breath. I love you, no matter what, always.

Resources:

- What to Do ( and Not Do ) When Your Child Comes Out to You:

www.familyequality.org/2018/06/01/what-to-do-and-not-do-when-your-child-comes-out-to-you/ .

- Is being Pansexual the same as being bisexual?

www.healthline.com/health/bisexual-vs-pansexual? .

- 4 celebs explain Pansexual in their own words:

www.glaad.org/blog/what-pansexuality-4-pan-celebs-explain-their-own-words .

- Definition by Urban Dictionary:

www.urbandictionary.com/define.php .

- Ted Talk about Sexuality 2012: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0mD3QXUP8z0

- TED Talks about LGBTQ topics:

www.ted.com/topics/lgbt .

These should be enough resources to get you started, I really hope you take your time and get to know more about me. I love you mom, and I can't wait for what's ahead of us. This has been one of the hardest things in my life, I am so scared. I am scared you won't love me, I am scared you won't respect me, I am scared you will hurt me with your words and actions.

Hey! I am just here as another little reminder to take a breath, this is a lot of information and you do not need to overwhelm yourself, get up, get some water and breath.

I love you, no matter what, always.

Please remember this isn't about you, this isn't about your life, this isn't about "how you feel about this", you're not the protagonist of this situation, I am. This is my story, my life, my well being, and as much as you matter to me, your opinions on who I am, do not matter, unless they are filled with love and respect.

I love you. I love you so much.

Your daughter who loves you with the power of ten suns,

Marlo Reyes.

Marlo Reyes has a Spanish-language podcast about breaking stigma in the LatinX/Hispanic community ( mental health, LGBTQ+, relationships, feminism, intersectionality, etc ). Reyes' podcast handle is @caguamasydramas and the website is anchor.fm/caguamasydramas, while Reyes' personal Twitter/Instagram handle is @marlocreyes.


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