I’m Nina Hernandez and I’m from Austin, Texas.
Starting from when I was about six years old, I started noticing that my mom would prefer if I like boys. I remember very early on her telling me not to sit like a boy, to sit with my legs closed because boys sit with their legs apart and girls don’t do that.
One day we were in the car, stopped at a stoplight, and I remember my mom looking over at me and asking me, “You like boys, right?” I remember thinking that, yes, I like the boys in my class and I had crushes on the boys in my class.
And so I told her, “Yes, I like boys.”
I remember her saying something to the effect of, “That’s right, you have crushes on little boys.” You know what I mean? “You like boys.” Now I understand sitting like a girl – Do I have crushes on boys? – that was just letting me know from an early age that it would be preferable if I was attracted to a certain gender.
So I did come out a little bit later in my 20s, when I was 26. I’ve really been blessed even before coming out to be adopted by members of the queer community in Austin. And so that and also taking my time to work on my mental health and my childhood trauma with a therapist I was able to come out as a lesbian. The day did finally come that I decided to do something for myself, which is to come out to my mom.
She told me, “How can I tell my friends that my daughter is a lesbian?” And she also told me that I had told her I was not gay in the past and that she felt that I had lied to her.
She told me, "How can I tell my friends that my daughter is a lesbian?"
Because I do really value my relationship with my mother, after that incident, I did make another attempt at reconciliation. During this time, I also met and committed to my first partnership with another woman. So I arranged for my partner and my mother to meet. I asked my mother to cook – I love my mother’s cooking – and so I asked my mother to cook for us, which she did agree to, and I felt like that was a sign that perhaps we were making some progress in our relationship.
The day of the meal happened and I was really excited. I invited my mom over to my house. She is an amazing cook. She is the ultimate Tex-Mex cook. She makes – my favorite meal that she does is a green chicken enchilada casserole, which is just phenomenal. She makes it for, you know, special occasions because it is kind of a labor-intensive meal. So I invited, she came over, she assembled it, cooked for us. Everything seemed to be going well. She and my partner were getting to know each other. We had a phenomenal meal.
Right at the end, things went south. One of my dogs misbehaved, and it started a disagreement between my mom and my partner over how to address the issue. I tried to be a mediator and I wanted to quickly resolve the situation, but unfortunately, my mom decided to continue escalating.
My mother and I spoke privately and I asked her, “Mom, can you please not do this today?” Meaning, Mom, can you please not make this situation about you? She sneered at me and she went back into the living room and began to collect her things. She gave my partner a cursory… a very cold goodbye and left. I remember walking out after her as she was getting into her car and asking her through her car window if she would please stay, and she declined and she left.
As I watched my mom drive away that day, it finally occurred to me that even though I had come out and so was partly living for myself, I was still in many ways living under that same structure of trying to win my mom’s approval, and I finally understood that I have to start living for myself and living my life in a way that I approve of.
Ever since I implemented these new healthy boundaries in my life, I have been blown away by how many amazing, supportive, and loving people have entered my life. Unfortunately, my mom and I don’t currently have a relationship, but I’m hopeful that if I’m consistent in my boundaries and maintaining my mental health, that one day we might be able to do that.