My name is Edison and I’m from New York City.
I grew up in a loving but extremely conservative household. My family, my parents were immigrants, are immigrants from Ecuador, very religious, Catholic. So as a kid, I always knew I was sort of different. I couldn’t pinpoint what it was, but I knew that I wasn’t playing around with other little boys. I wanted to do my own thing. I was collecting shiny rocks and feathers. Not until I went to high school that I started feeling that I was attracted to other boys, and I knew that there was something that was very different then, but I still didn’t know what to call it.
One particular Sunday that we were going to church – because my parents would go to church and they would take us to church every Sunday – the priest is actually doing the sermon and he’s talking about homosexuality and how evil it was. He’s saying all this stuff, and I feel like he’s actually talking to me. He’s actually directing it at me. He’s going off about how homosexuals are pedophiles, and they’re going to go to hell.
When I came back home, I was in so much pain, but at the same time, I felt that something was wrong with me, something horrible was happening to me, and I swore that I was never going to talk about it with my parents, they would not understand. And I also didn’t know anyone like me, so I felt alone and I started withdrawing. I had suicidal thoughts, I felt that I didn’t know where to turn, and that really caused a lot of distance between me and my parents and my family.
So throughout my college years, I met a couple of guys, and I had some relationships with them, but they were all closeted. The people that I was hanging out with were also closeted. In… mostly during college, I felt that I was so distant from my parents, especially my family, especially my parents, and I knew that the reason was because I knew that they were still church-going people, and I knew exactly how they felt about homosexuality. So for a very long time, I stopped sharing with them.
I graduated college in 1991, and then I moved to Jersey City. It was there where I met my first official boyfriend. He was already out to his parents. I remember one particular night we were laying in bed, and he’s talking to me about his relationship with his parents, and he’s telling me that… he asked me this question. He’s like, “Edison, can you live with the fact that your parents don’t really know who you are?” What he said just completely hit me to a point that it made me realize that it was important for me to tell my truth. It was important for me to share, to let my parents know who I was for real. It was like a wake-up call for me. It was like a moment of truth for me.
“Can you live with the fact that your parents don't really know who you are?"
And I said to him, “You’re right.” I don’t care what the truth is, what happens, what the outcome is, but you’re right. I need to tell my truth to them.” So I wrote them a letter. It was a three-page letter, and I start explaining to them exactly my feelings, what I’ve been going through, how much pain I’ve been going through. So I wrote this letter, I sent it to them, and I was so afraid to find out what would be the outcome of… what would they say.
A couple days later, I get a phone call from them. They called me up. They were both on the phone and they’re both crying. And they’re both telling me how it didn’t matter, even though they didn’t understand what I was going through, all the details about my lifestyle, their love for me was unconditional. And no matter what, they loved me. The three of us were crying over the phone, and it was just such an incredible moment for me, because finally, it was a moment of freedom for me. And such a beautiful thing to be able to just let it go and tell my parents who… just let them know who I was for real.
It so happens that the following year, like a couple of months later, we had already planned this trip to Europe, so we went to Italy. It was such a beautiful experience to actually share that time with them, especially with my dad, him knowing who I was. Three months after the trip, my dad passes away, and regardless of how sad it was, and how tough it was to deal with his death, there was also a sense of peace in me knowing that I had… that he had known his son, that he knew who I was. I was able to let go without any guilt, and it was just such a beautiful thing to be able to have that.
As I’m telling this story, I’m thinking of my partner who also passed away. He actually was the one that made me do this, that posed that question to me, and made me realize how important it was for me to tell my truth regardless of what the outcome was. It’s important for people to know who we really are, especially our loved ones. It’s important for us to let them know who we really are. You never know how long we’re going to be around, and you don’t want to be left with anything unfinished in your life. You want to be able to at least share truly your truth with the people that you love.