Explaining the "Sexually Creative" to my Latino Boyfriend: Convincing Him to Believe in Rainbows

3 years ago

When T and I first started dating our best language in common was Spanish. My Spanish at the time was admittedly a fun time...as in very creative and very not correct.  I had graduated from telling my host mother, "I to eat in the past," to, "I already ate," but more complex sentences were still beyond me unless I got creative.  Therefore, it took several dates for T and I to talk about some more serious things, especially of political nature.

The night we first broached the subject of homosexuality, my Spanish was admittedly a little more fluid, though perhaps no less creative than when we first met.  Even though I insisted that we would be breaking up upon my return to the US, I think I subconsciously knew this wasn't true.

Up until this point in our relationship, we had each navigated cultural differences between us.  I tried to be flexible with acts of chivalry because I knew that was just how Dominican men interact with women.  I knew that in the context of our person-to-person relationship, T valued and respected me as an equal human being.  On the other hand, the cultural script of our dating relationship required being chivalrous and accepting chivalry.

One thing I was not willing to bend on was T's view of homosexuality.  To me, believing in gay rights was not so much a cultural paradigm as a fundamental human right.  In general, I don't like the term "dealbreaker" in the context of dating because it implies a certain amount of inflexibility and unwillingness to compromise.  However, not being down with "the gays" is a 100% dealbreaker for me.  When I first asked T what he thought about gay marriage, he giggled nervously, shrugged, and said, "I don't really believe in that."  Cue enraged redhead.

I don't remember exactly what I said in my irate state, but it was probably something along the lines of, "How could you, when our relationship was once illegal in my country?  How could you deny someone else the same rights we have?"  I probably went on for a while yet, but the details escape me.  Poor T.  That was not the way to handle it.  Over the next couple of months, we continued to have (much more tranquil) conversations about homosexuality and gay rights.  We talked about how gay rights play into the law and religion.  We talked about gay icons.  We talked about gays in entertainment.  We talked about gays having children.  I asked him what he would do if he had a gay child.  None of this convinced him very much, until I brought up my gay sister.

My wonderful sister and I, all gussied up to go to the ball

All of my theoretical, hypothetical scenarios did little to convince T to change his mind.  However, when I brought a personal element into it, T became very thoughtful.  When I told him how C had only recently come to terms with her gayness, and how it had changed her entire demeanor to a more confident young woman, he shifted.  For T, family is the most important thing.  You love, respect, protect and take care of your family.  Here I was, telling him about this incredibly important person in my life who had a fundamental attribute that stood at odds with what he was saying.  Given that family was so important to T, how could he love and respect me as a person if he couldn't love and respect and wish the absolute best for a member of my family?

My gorgeous sister C, wearing some gear from T, AKA proof they like each other

From that moment out, it has never been a question.  T is deeply protective of his future sister-in-law, and yes, I convinced him to believe in rainbows.


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