I walked with her to her house where I would meet her parents for the first time.
It was pleasant for me, but I learned later that day that it wasn’t for them. They had asked for me to never come back to their house, and they said that I wasn’t welcome there ever again because I was gay. Little would they know that I would eventually move to Berkeley to be close to their daughter and to start a new and safe life away from Los Angeles. I had no space to grow and to change into who I wanted to be after being mentally abused at home.
I was outed by my sister when I was 14. I was bullied by her and other family members years after that, and all that made me extremely uncomfortable that I wouldn’t find any security. My mom would pressure me with gender roles. She openly had a problem with my gender expression. With all this happening, it was the perfect environment for my self-hatred. It was difficult being able to enjoy who I loved freely living in a Latinx household. My family and I would refer to my girlfriend as “tu amigita.” I had no idea who I was, who I wanted to be or who I even had to be. All I really had at the time was her love and support. I had no clue about what was to come. I had no backbone to start reaching my true self. All I knew was that I was a brown, queer Latinx who was madly in love with another queer woman.
With this commotion within our lives of not being able to be our queer authentic selves, no one knew but her that I was suffering from major depression. I never much had a sex life before dating her. At first it was extremely difficult for us. I didn’t like my body. I felt having a vagina wasn’t for me. I also felt having a real penis wouldn’t be, either.
I went to my doctor and asked, “Hey, I don’t really enjoy penetrative sex. Am I asexual?” I asked that in a way as if the doctor knew my body more than I did. He followed by saying, “You just need a good man in your life, and you’re okay. You’re young, and you should live a little more.” At this point, it could’ve been a lot of things. I was asexual, I hated having a vagina and boobs and was suffering from gender dysphoria, or I was just so depressed I couldn’t have sex.
I later came to terms with myself that wearing a penis, not having one, was super liberating.
It was what I felt most comfortable with. The intimacy I gave and received in a sexual context changed and helped me come to terms with my gender expression, something which I’ve never been too sure of in my life. Using a strap-on for the first time with my partner was interesting and amazing to discover. My strap-on can be attached to me on demand and make me feel slightly more comfortable with my body. I found myself uncomfortably sleeping with the strap-on some nights in the name of mental comfort because I wanted a penis.
Wearing a packer and a binder for the first time in public made it feel like I was coming out all over again. The thought of wearing a binder and a packer in front of my family now is actually terrifying. I still, to this day, can’t imagine wearing things that were too out of the norm for them. This is where I find myself having a transformative experience with my partner. I have that space to learn and explore a lot of different things where I didn’t have before. It gives me a sense of being reborn.
I am trans. This love formed me and gave me something I think I would have never noticed about myself alone. I was scared for a long time and probably would’ve never thought about using a binder and packer. I would’ve never imagined using these for comfort to ease my gender dysphoria. It changed the way I saw myself and made me proud of who I was because I still had unconditional love from her and from myself. This queer and nonnormative love has opened so many gates for me. From not being afraid of who I was to being that exact thing but so much louder and clearer everyday that goes by, it revolutionized the way I loved and cared for myself. It improved my self-expression to a more comfortable degree.
Being in a queer relationship when a lot of people in the world are against us, including our own parents, is itself revolutionary. It’s always been a political statement to walk down the street holding her hand and kissing her in public. It’ll be something I’m forever thankful for — being queer and having her. I feel this relationship has really sharpened my views of the world and of myself. This defining experience along with all the incredibly special moments were radical and formative that changed my life. The love and support that I had from the love of my life literally let me be more of myself than ever and I hope to have that forever so I can grow and be the best for the both of us. I am more of myself than ever because of this and her.
Heteronormativity made me feel as if I wasn’t good enough. Gender roles made me feel like there was something wrong with me. My partner’s love offered me that guidance and safety to prioritize and appreciate myself.
Alex Gomez is a BCC student who won third place the Daily Californian’s Summer of Love Essay competition.