Growing up, like many of us in the LGBT+ community, we know that we are different. We grow up questioning whether it is something normal we are feeling or if there is something wrong with us. Often we are afraid to tell our family out of fear of being rejected from the people that we love. When coming out to our families some of us experience open arms and unconditional love while others, unfortunately, do end up being looked down upon by family.  I am very fortunate to say that my family did not feel any resentment towards me. Although it has taken time for them to fully embrace it, I am still really lucky to have gotten the support that I have received. 

During my young adulthood I was too focused on school, work, and friends.  Not only that but I had the mentality that I was going to be forever alone.  I had horrible self esteem issues and thought that I was never going to be good enough.  

Most importantly, I thought that because I was raised in a very conservative catholic household I would never get the chance to bring home a date for the holidays let alone introduce someone as my future spouse.  I had always thought that my sex preference was never really anything of a surprise.  Anyone that had known me from school knew my mannerisms.  My mannerisms were never really anything I was ashamed of.  During my school years I wasn’t tormented nor did anyone say anything hateful to my face. Although I’m sure they were said behind my back.  Everyone knew I was gay except for my parents.  They necessarily were not clueless but they had their suspicions.  They set their suspicions aside and continued loving me..  

I was always afraid to come out to them because of their strong religious beliefs.  I feared I would be told I was going to hell, an exorcism of some sort would be performed on me, or they would just distance themselves from me and eventually come around.  I never had fear of being kicked out of the house or be shunned from the family because deep down I know that they loved me and anything that they would say just came from a fear of me not living a happy life.  Most importantly I was the only child and had thought that I would be a big disappointment to them.  The only son not being able to procreate and pass on the family name.  when I came out to my parents it was definitely not what I had expected.  There wasn’t any yelling.  I didn't feel like I was no longer a part of the family.  I did feel that my parents took it hard and I was ok with that.  They did say “we love you and accept you.”  That was all I wanted to hear and those are words that I hope every person hears when they come out to loved ones. 

Even after coming out to them I still kept some mystery about my personal dating life.  I never told them if I was seeing someone.  Even though they accepted me being gay I still felt that it was disrespectful to talk about it.  I guess that was the guilty, mexican, catholic in me.   It wasn't until I started dating my husband where it became obvious.  When we decided to date we were going to have to do a long distance relationship.  He lived in sunny Huntington Beach at the time and I found myself visiting him and Disneyland as often as I could.  It was hard to hide why I was gone almost every weekend and my Facebook posts showed my parents that Disneyland wasn’t the only reason I was going to Orange County.  Slowly but surely I tried giving them clues that I was falling for this guy.  I remember after returning from an Orange County getaway, my mother and I both sat on the couch.  It was a talk that I was rehearsing in my head on my way back home.  I wanted to explain to her that I had found a guy who treated me with respect, had ambition in life, and most importantly loved me and all of my flaws unconditionally.  I told her that I had fallen in love with him.  Even though I knew my parents were more than ok with me being gay I was still hesitant to talk about it with her.  Its one thing for my parents to know that I’m gay, but it is another thing for my parents to know that I was planning to spend the rest of my life with another man.  I felt like I was coming out to them all over again!  Thankfully and with much relief she was happy that I had found love.  It was definitely one of the moments where I felt extremely lucky to have a loving family.

At the point Casey and I had gotten pretty serious.  What was supposed to be a weekend visit to Huntington Beach ended up being a huge step forward in our relationship.  In front of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, Casey got down on one knee and asked me to spend the rest of my life with him.  I said ‘Yes.”  That same weekend of our engagement he has asked me to move in with him.  There was no need for me to come back home so I stayed.  Months passed by and Casey and I had decided to just go to the local courthouse and tie the knot after realizing that there was really no need for us to throw a huge reception for the 30 people that we would actually want to celebrate it with.  And to be honest, living 300 miles away from my best friends ruined all the fun of planning a wedding.  I did however want my parents to be there when we exchanged our vows.  When I told my parents the date they were more than happy.  They had already gotten to know Casey by then and welcomed him into the family.  I remember my mom texting me “Am I allowed to cry at ceremony? My baby is getting married!”  Again, words that I thought that I would have never thought to have seen or heard.  At the ceremony my mom shed many happy tears and took as many photos as she could.  My father could not be there since it was such a last minute notice and could not escape from work.  We celebrated by going to our favorite place, Disneyland.  

As I write this I am still overwhelmed by the amount of love that my parents have shown me and my husband.  I still cannot help but feel fortunate to hear my parents refer to my husband as their son.  They have come a long way considering their conservative views.  I also have to give credit to family members as well.  There are some that I thought I would never speak to ever again after they found out I was getting married, but with the help of my parents, they also have learned that family loves each other unconditionally.  I realize that I am extremely fortunate to have my family.  Others are not dealt with such understanding families. 

If you find yourself in the position of feeling lonely, please surround yourself with others like yourself. I guarantee that you will find a family that will love you and accept you unconditionally.  Like MamaRu says "You know we as gay people we get to choose our family. We get to choose the people we’re around. I am your family, we are family here."

-Margo Isaac Serrano-Parker