I’m Junior Suazo and I’m from Miami, Florida.
My family is from Nicaragua. I’m a first generation college graduate and I come from a Catholic background. Growing up, my family never made it okay to be gay. I remember when I was 10 just listening to stories of their family friends, that somebody came out as their gay son, their lesbian daughter, and they would start questioning, “What did they do for God to punish them?” I was always living with that fear of knowing that my family would not accept me, specifically my mom, and knowing that she’s all that I had.
So this is the summer of 2013. I was in college. I actually started talking to a guy on Tumblr. Towards the night, he just ends up asking for my phone number, exchanging our contact information, and then we just proceeded in talking, getting to know each other. Remember, I’m from Miami, this guy is originally from Miami, but he is actually in the military stationed in San Diego. Four months, five months later, after just continuing talking to each other, FaceTiming, texting, he’s actually coming to Miami to see his family and we both thought that it was the best time to be able to meet each other.
Once I actually met with the guy, it was at the airport. It took at least a good five, 10 minutes just to find each other because I was waiting for him where all the luggages for people to pick up and then when we actually see each other, it was just a hug. We end up eating something out, eating something together, grabbing dinner. I remember that night that we were just outside his friend’s house and we just kissed and I think that was the first time that I felt, like, butterflies in my stomach.
So we ended up seeing each other for two weeks. During that time, we were seeing each other back to back every single day. It felt, like, very comfortable with one another, just being ourselves, being able to goof off, being able to just be honest. It was around maybe a day or two before he has to leave, our two weeks are coming to an end. I was already on my way to heading… like normal routine, just dropping him off at his friend’s house.
He just starts telling me how it has been something very special to him during that time that we’ve been spending together, something that he hasn’t felt before and he felt like he didn’t want to just let it go. and then he decides to ask me if I wanted to be his boyfriend. I said yes. After that, he decides to top it off and say something even crazier and be like, “Hey, do you want to get married?”
Crazy enough, I did say yes.
So it’s been two months since the last time we saw each other, when he came to visit me in Miami, so we decided to go and make a plan to be able to go visit him in California. During that time, since we already had agreed to… Well, I already had said yes to get married, we decided to be, “Hey, why not do it now?” It wasn’t legal in Florida, so we couldn’t technically do it back where we were both from, so we decided to do it in California. We ended up eloping.
Even though at that moment that it was a very happy moment for me to be joining my life with someone that I knew that I had fell in love with, there was something back of mind, the fact that I was not out to my family.
So I’m coming back from my trip from California. During that week, I decided that I had just come back to come out to my family. For the most part, it was some neutral reactions. My cousins were very supportive. The last person that I ended up leaving, it was my mom. I was literally just finishing my day, like at school, just I had to take three classes and I decide just, Okay, it’s over. Let me go back home already, go have lunch with my mom.
And I’m just walking in and I just tell her, “Hey, I want to tell you something.”
She looked at me and she’s like, “What do you have to say?”
And I’m like, “Hey, let’s just sit down. Let’s just talk.” And I tell her, “Mom, I’m gay.”
There’s complete utter silence and just the TV in the background, Univision was on. Out of nowhere, my mom just starts crying and just telling me, “How dare you? How could you do this to me? What are the people going to think about us? What are the family going to say? This is against our beliefs, against the Bible, against our upbringing.” To tell you the truth, we just ended up there, that conversation, because it was not going anywhere. It was a very cold time, very distant between my mom and I.
"Hey, this is how things are going to be between us all the time? Just because I'm gay?"
As time progressed, I made the decision that since I was graduating, that I wanted to move to California, move with my husband. During that time, even though the transition of my mom and I after coming out was a little bit rocky, it got worse. It was just here and there again, conversation, very dry, to the point, at some point communication stopped. It was pretty much a little bit, either three or around that time of three months of just not speaking to each other.
I decided one day that I didn’t want that type of relationship with my mom. Mind you, I was living in California by that time. We had literally thousand of miles apart. So I decide to just call my mom and ask her, “Hey, this is how things are going to be between us all the time? Just because I’m gay?”
She burst into tears and she tells me, “Hey, this is not how I want things to be between each other, but it’s hard.”
And I just tell my mom like, “Hey, it’s okay. There is no guidebook. The only thing is that we have to be able to talk, communicate, be open with each other, know that this journey is not something that is just going to be one of my own only. It’s going to be a journey for her too.
The years ahead of us was rocky and hard. It took some time for my mom to come around with the fact that I was gay and with another guy, but she got there. She apologized and she said, “Hey, I’m sorry that I didn’t take it the right way or reacted the right way,”
And I think at the end our relationship between each other was stronger and now I could say my mom really embraces my husband, even embraces my mother-in-law. Now it’s like two families coming together and it’s just crazy to think how much things could change. And even though it feels like such a little time, it wasn’t. It was a long process of being able to get here.
If there’s one thing that I learned out of all this journey, it was very self-healing and to know the fact that even though things get hard and sometimes you think that giving up is the best option, it’s not. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Even though sometimes it seems very dark, there is light.