Introducing Consejitos Con Santana: A Much-Needed LGBTQIA+ Advice Column for the RGV

A woman with a yellow bandana and yellow clothing surrounded by trans flag colors and black swirls and stars.
Illustration by Sara Barriera.

Welcome to the first installment of Trucha’s first-ever advice column! Consejitos Con Santana will focus on answering questions from queer and gender-nonconforming people about gender, relationships, and coming out, among other things. 

 

I, Santana Peralez (she/they), am a trans femme 20-something born and raised here in the Rio Grande Valley. I previously hosted a similar advice-based radio show for 2 years, and I’m so excited for the opportunity to help LGBTQIA+ folks in the RGV again.

 

This month, most of our questions dealt with coming out and dealing with what comes after you make the hurdle to share your truth with others. I hope the answers I give elevate our LGBTQIA+ community and ensure that they feel heard and seen.

Dear Santana, I feel like by being closeted,  I missed out on all the big life experiences. I didn’t come out until this year, and I never had a high school romance or a college romance. Did I miss out?

Dear Anxious in Harlingen, 

 

I totally understand where you’re coming from. First, I want to ease your stress; no, you didn’t miss out. This feeling of missing out on big life experiences isn’t just restricted to queer people. I know a lot of straight people who never had those big high school experiences that the media told us we were going to have. With that being said, I feel like, as queer people, we do move through life at a different pace than our straight peers. But that doesn’t mean we’re missing out. Some of the significant “stereotypical” life milestones might never happen for us, not just because we’re queer but because everyone grows at a different pace. 

 

Coming out is different for everyone, and your journey with your sexuality is your own. There is no one right way to do it. The best thing I can say is to give yourself some grace. Don’t spend your time worrying about what could’ve been; the past is unchangeable, and the only thing you have control over is what you’re doing now, at this moment. It can be easy to spiral over all the things we wish we could’ve done, however, that does nothing but cause us even more stress. Being able to live your life authentically is such a wonderful thing; take the time to discover who you are as an out queer person and allow everything else to just fall into place. Free yourself of the imposed ideas of what you should have done or where you should be in life. 

Dear Santana, I came out as trans, but now I feel like I might be non-binary (NB). Is that even possible? How can I come out again? I already went from being gay to being bi to being trans, and now I think I’m NB.

Dear Lost in Los Ebanos, 

 

First of all, CONGRATULATIONS! Discovering your gender identity and finally being able to just say it is such a wonderful thing. One thing I feel is never really openly addressed is that gender and sexuality can be fluid. Sure, some people stay the same gender and sexuality their entire lives, but that isn’t the experience for everyone. Personally, I went from being a gay man to being an agender person to being a trans femme queer NB. Sometimes, you just don’t have the words to describe what you feel. I knew I liked boys before I ever questioned my gender. For some people, it goes the other way. Coming out is a personal experience, and unfortunately, once you come out once, you’ll probably be coming out for the rest of your life. 

 

Gender and sexuality exist on a spectrum, and finding out where you exist on that spectrum can be a journey. It is entirely possible that you were always non-binary and just never had the verbiage to explain it. It happens. I am so happy that you found an identity that speaks to you, and I hope everyone around you is open to what you’ve been able to discover about yourself. And even if they aren’t, it’s okay; you shouldn’t allow the worry of how others will react to keep you from being yourself. 

Dear Santana, I recently came out to my family as bi, but my family doesn’t believe I like girls because I’ve had boyfriends before, and I’m a girly girl. How can I explain that I am bi?

Dear Coming Out in Cameron County,

        

Congratulations on coming out! While I know it can hurt to be open with your family and it not received well. I feel like, for many of us, it can feel like our family can only accept so much from us when it comes to our identities. A lot of Latinx families have these ideas of what people of certain sexualities should look like or act like. While these ideas come from the mixed ideals of machismo and marianismo, they are so deeply held by some of our families that even the most liberal and progressive among us have to work to deconstruct these ideas: ‘If a woman is a lesbian, she has to be butch and masculine, and, on the other side, if a man is gay, he has to be soft and effeminate. Bisexuals are confused and are either actually straight or gay.

 

Anyone who exists outside of these stereotypes throws the people who hold them as fact into a tailspin. 

 

The first thing I want to say is the one thing people tend to avoid saying. It is okay to be upset. You don’t have to get volatile or express it outwardly to your family, but acknowledge your feelings and accept that this is how you feel. If you bury these feelings, they will eventually find a way to break out, and that can be even worse. Next, start with your most open family member and work your way to the most difficult; the more people you can get to understand, the more backup you’ll have when telling other members of your family. The instinct is obviously to fight and argue, but just make it clear that your bisexuality is a fact no matter how you act or dress or who you date. The more people in your family you get to understand, the easier it will be to get others to accept your reality. Introduce the people in your family to media with characters of varying sexualities, and show them Latinx artists like: Kali Uchis,Tokischa, Maria Baccera and  Lauren Jauregui, who are openly bisexual women. Hopefully, as time passes, they can accept you for who you are.

Dear RGV LGBTQIA+ Community, Submit Your Questions!

And that is all she wrote for this month! Thanks for joining me for the first installment of Consejitos Con Santana! Help this column be found by people who might need it by spreading the word to all your LGBTQIA+ peers, friends, and family. 

 

As a reminder, all questions will be answered anonymously and with any identifying information edited out to protect your privacy. 

 

Submit any question you’d like me to answer here!

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