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I’m Latino-American and I grew up watching a lot of telenovelas with my mom. The only transgender character I ever saw on these soap operas was murdered when she was outed to her ex-boyfriend.
For a while, that was all I knew, and I remember worrying, “Is this how I’m going to end up?” I didn’t know the term “transgender” or “transsexual.” I just knew that I never felt comfortable in the sex I was assigned at birth.
It wasn’t until the tenth grade that I learned it was possible to become a trans man. That people assigned female at birth could transition into becoming a man. I remember lying in bed one night thinking that I might be trans, and I felt so relieved to finally have a name for what I felt inside.
When I attended the Pride parade for the first time this week, I was longing to feel a deep sense of community, but I actually felt more like a spectator looking in.
Pride seemed more like Gay Pride. White same-sex couples celebrating being gay. I didn’t see many transgender people on the stages and floats. Sure, I saw drag queens, but drag queens aren’t trans people. And the all of the nudity and alcohol make young people like me feel uncomfortable.
Yes, I’m grateful that LGBT people can celebrate, but I want to see more people who look like me being celebrated at Pride.
Representation matters. When I finally learned that there were other people out there like me — my life changed. If I had known earlier, my life would have been a lot easier growing up.
On my 16th birthday, I came out to my parents. They’re Catholic and I worried they might kick me out for being trans, but my dad told me me, “It doesn’t matter what you identify as because I’m still going to love you.”
I didn’t feel that kind of inclusion and acceptance at the Pride parade this week. In other words I didn’t feel a sense of true Pride.