In some cultures, traditions are sacred because they hold meaning to the origin of that culture. In those traditions, they celebrate, mourn or eradicate any element that may dismantle the set structures.
Sometimes in these traditions, religion resides heavily along the barricaded walls, making it hard for anyone to break through. For Javier Valenzuela, he struggled to admit to himself how much those traditions and religious barriers kept him from truly breaking free.
After some time, Valenzuela knew that many of his familial traditions and beliefs didn’t necessarily align with his identity. Valenzuela admitted, “I didn’t want to continue living this lie my parents built for me.”
As I have also had a similar affirmation with myself, I knew what he meant by “this lie.”
“I didn’t want to continue living this lie my parents built for me.”
Coming out to his family at the age of 24 may seem a little late in age, but there are individuals who struggle with their sexual identities for a large part of their lives. In today’s society, more and more LGBTQ+ individuals come out from behind these barricaded walls that they have been trapped behind.
Valenzuela said: “Because of the amount of support and representation through the media and my close friends, I knew I was ready to accept this new identity.” An identity that would challenge the traditions and beliefs of his family.
When discussing his identity as a gay man, he also mentioned his cross-cultural upbringing. He said that it was challenging since both his parents were from Mexico and spoke very little English. Having his older sister there to translate and help them with their translations to Spanish made it hard for their family to assimilate after moving to Colorado.
“There are still times when both my sister and me have to help my parents with translations,” he said.
With this obligation to help his parents and respect their efforts to provide a better life for them, it was difficult for Valenzuela to disobey or go against what they structured him to follow. Feeling this obligation from his family, Javier never visualized his “coming out” story because he didn’t think that would ever be an option for him.
Generating a substantial group of friends within the LGBTQ+ community, Valenzuela said while being immersed into such a culture, he recognized a level of hidden diversity that he held.
This hidden diversity came from his familial struggle to adapt and transform as U.S. citizens, but also the oppression he felt living out a lie not meant for his individuality. With these elements of diversity, Valenzuela has created an outlook on life that still holds traditions and beliefs that his parents raised him to have, but also has some of his own.
Because of the amount of support and representation through the media and my close friends, I knew I was ready to accept this new identity.
With his identity in alignment with his own beliefs, Valenzuela has been able to overcome and pursue positive traditions in his life. After a year of coming out to his family, he has not only opened up a new worldview for himself but also his family — they are slowly learning and adapting to the reality of his identity.