I2017 episodes of the comedy series Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Latin American character Rosa Diaz (played by Stephanie Beatriz) comes out bisexual to her colleagues. She then says she will field questions from colleagues about it, whom she has known for years, for “exactly one minute and zero seconds.” The first to question Rosa is her Cuban-American colleague Amy Santiago (played by Melissa Fumero). Amy asks Rosa if she knows she’s bisexual, to which Rosa replies: “Since seventh grade. I was watching Secured by Bell And I thought, ‘Jack Morris is hot. And then I thought, Lisa Turtle – too hot. “
I am of the first generation, Sikander, Mexican American, and I am also bisexual; I am Openly With bisexual friends (including my little sister), my roommates, at work, and on dating apps – but I haven’t been able to come out with my parents yet, because I’m afraid they’ll love me less. Growing up in my family, which has been firmly Catholic for generations, meant that differences – or the notion that “normal” sexual identities were only being attracted to the “opposite” sex – were the status quo in my home. (It will take years for me to realize that there are many forms of sexual identity and forms of sexuality.)
So, you can imagine my confusion when I felt like Rosa. Lizzie McGuire As 8 years on the Disney Channel. I thought, Gordo? Lovely Miranda? So cute Honestly, those feelings scared the crap out of me at the time.
Nancy Paloma Collins, LMFT, a therapist and first-generation Mexican American, says that many Latino people like me have grown up in families where expectations are one of the differences. But one’s sense of identity does not fit into that framework, feeling the need to meet those expectations can be crushing and lead to feelings of inadequacy and failure. This was certainly the case for me, as I understood my own identity as a bisexual woman.
For so long, I was afraid to admit my sexuality because I was worried about how my immediate family and the large Mexican American family would react.
For most of my life, I lived with my mother’s younger brother, who I remember was openly gay. Although there was no lack of love for him in my family, my parents often said, “They don’t agree with his lifestyle.” For so long, I was afraid to admit my sexuality because I was worried about how my immediate family and the large Mexican American family would react. I still haven’t figured out what she might look like, because I am Still I am afraid of what my parents say when I go out with them. This fear may be due to my internal homophobia, and at the age of 28 – mostly as a bisexual woman on the outside – I finally decided to unpack it.
What is internal homophobia?
As is often the case with inherent prejudice, many of us are unaware that we have internalized homophobic attitudes. You might think you’re progressive (and you really can be), but it’s also possible that you’re at least a port. Some Homophobic attitudes are due to separatist perceptions in mainstream society. We are bombarded with messaging that tells us that being straight is the only right way – which is reinforced by the lack of bizarre representation in the media, including movies, music, advertising, and television. (Examples like the scene mentioned above Brooklyn Nine-Nine Should be normal, not remarkable.) Finally, in order to unpack and eliminate internal homophobia, introspection and reflection are key.
Community organizer and clinical social worker Ronnie Velez, MSW, says anyone who internally dissects homophobia has learned negative stereotypes or myths about strange people (albeit not knowingly) and is true to them. This misinformation – which can affect anyone regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation – can come from their family, neighborhood, policy, news and pop culture.
Anyone who has internalized homophobia has learned myths about negative stereotypes or strange people (albeit not intentionally) and they are true.
Moreover, it can mean different things. While many people may find homophobia to be a “fear of gay people”, it is missing important subtleties and textures in that definition. The Encyclopडियाdia Britannica takes that difference more clearly in the definition of the word: “Culturally, fear or prejudice arises against homosexuals … although the suffix Phobia Usually refers to an irrational fear, in the case of homophobia, the term rather refers to a light-hearted attitude of people who are sexually or romantically attracted to people of the same sex. “
When you know there are people out there who can “hate” your existence because of your identity, it can make it very scary to come out. Realizing that my internal homophobia as a bisexual woman was the main reason for my parents to come out, I sought the help of experts to find strategies to unpack it.
3 strategies to unpack my internal homophobia and celebrate my bisexual identity
1. Create a timeline detailing what I’ve heard about bisexual people
The practice of creating this timeline, says Véliz, can help me to know when I start to develop internal homophobia – which, in turn, can help to remove the grip I have in my life. That’s because the process allows me to replace emotions with new, real-life experiences.
Even though from a young age I found myself attracted to others and their sexuality and gender spectrum (bisexuality is often wrongly subject to gender binary), I often thought to myself, But I could not be in a relationship with anyone who was not a man. Because I heard about bisexual people: “It’s a step!” “Yet, you will end up with a man!” “You’re just trying to be tough!”
I realized that the more I listened to those things, the more I began to believe in myself. The part that leaves deeper untruths needs to remind me that they are not Mine Beliefs – they were just imposed on me.
2. Outline a family tree to remember what your family members have said about bisexual people
Growing up, I heard my parents’ rejection of my uncle’s “lifestyle” and it led me to believe that my bisexuality would also be less than ideal in the eyes of my parents. In the rare instance that we saw a gay couple on a telenovela, my parents would look away or say, “Ah, Porke Tienen Q censor Aso? “ (“Why should they show that?”) It didn’t make me feel proud to be bisexual.
When my younger sister came out bisexual in front of me, though, I began to feel that it was okay not to be straight. Before my sister came out, I still saw myself as heterosexual and sometimes, when I’m comfortable enough with the people around me, I say I was “bi-curious”, but for so long, I wasn’t comfortable accepting myself. Or else that I am, in fact, bisexual. Collins says, “All of us in the community, at some point we question ourselves.” We may carry some internal homophobia, but it comes from the outside and not really from the inside – because of society, we’re going through a lot of things, because we’re pushed into one place. Yes, and we are not given equal rights. “
Recognizing the attitudes that my family members have towards non-straight people, I’m sorting out messages that make me feel a little confused about being attracted to more than one gender, says Veliz. From there, I can unpack those statements to remind myself that what others think or feel has nothing to do with me being my most authentic self.
3. Find people who share your sexuality
The key to using this strategy to fight your internal homophobia, says Véliz, is to find someone whose interests or career is aligned with your own. For me, Véliz suggests finding a bisexual person who shares with me other elements of my identity, such as Latin, a woman, and a person working in the media.
“Knowing that someone out there has paved the way for you to be who you are, or at least have the courage to fight for your own understanding, is very powerful for many people,” says Veliz. To that end, I recognized Cuban-American writer, reporter, and self-proclaimed “Ethereal Bisexual” (according to her former Instagram bio) Suzy Exopito at the top of my list.
Formerly a Latin music writer Rolling Stone And now in a music reporter Los Angeles Times, Exposito – who are openly bisexual – is the guiding light for me as a Latin, bisexual writer. I have been following Expozito since May 2020, the same month Rolling Stone The cover story was published in Reggeatón superstar Bad Bunny. At the time, I hadn’t found a full-time writing job, and seeing a bisexual Latina exposito like me gave me hope. Was A place for me in this industry.
I’m still trying to convince everyone in my life of my sexuality. But personally it is becoming easier to accept as I am exposing the long-standing internal homophobia. Although I have not yet come out with my mother, father, or uncle, my ultimate goal when opening up my inner homophobia is to remind me that my bisexuality will not make them love me less when I improve the power of that conversation. .
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