There’s never a day that goes by where I don’t catch myself staring into my bathroom mirror, having a staring contest with myself and my reflection. I physically look like a regular, Hispanic male with my short artfully, messy black hair, alongside my dark brown eyes and bushy black eyebrows. I act like any other man would act. Yet, looking at myself in the mirror, I ask myself “Where is my Manliness? Why was I born this way? Why couldn’t I just be born as a regular man?”
When I’m sitting at the dinner table with my mother and father, my uncle and his wife, my aunt and her husband every Sunday afternoon, I see myself lost like a single cloud floating alone in the blue bright sky.
My uncle sparks up a conversation asking me: “Brandon, do you have a girlfriend yet?” I reply “No, tio” and immediately right after, my family starts to ask me about my “girl-friends” I have and ask, “How is she? Why hasn’t she come to visit? Are you still friends with her?” question after question. Thoughts are running through my developing mind, as if I’m trying to figure out a jigsaw puzzle of a million pieces scrambled around. I hestitally reply, with a tone of fearfulness, “She’s, um, fine. I don’t know what she’s been up to. She’s been very busy.” Everytime I am approached by my family or friends, or practically anyone for that matter, and they ask me about my love life, I stand there ashamed. Why you may ask? Because not only do I lie about my sexuality, but everytime I lie about this subject, a little piece of my own sense of dignity starts to peel away.
So why do I continue to lie? The truth can be dangerous. Lies are easier. Telling my family the truth is not easy because of the way they were raised. My deeply-involved religious family worships God and the bible. They expect me to also do the same. My mother is a devout Christian woman that makes me attend church every Sunday morning and read a section of the bible to her every night. But everytime I read the bible, I feel offended because in Leviticus 18:22 , it states, “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination”. When I was growing up, my mother had taught me that being bisexual goes against the word of god and his creation. I was taught that being attracted to your own sex is a sin. I was taught that men should not be allowed to pierce their ears because that option belongs to women only.
I remember my mother asking me one day as my friend dropped me off at home “Did your friend get his ears pierced?”
I responded “Yeah! I want to also get my ears pierced.”
She replied “Are you serious? Boys shouldn’t pierce their ears. It's not traditional for men to do that.”
So how in the world am I still sane? How am I able to still continue to live this type of life?
When I stand in my bathroom as I stare at my reflection, I feel disgusted. I feel that I am a disappointment to my gender and loved ones. But experiencing these moments where I’ve been questioned about my sexuality, I’ve come to learn that despite all of it, I’ve been able to find some joy in my life. And the more I continue to seal away a part of me that holds the secret to my true happiness, the closer I get to one day having the courage to come out to my family. I’ve learned that I am who I am, and I am proud to be a bisexual, Hispanic man.
The truth is dangerous. But lies are more damning.