By Eric Amaya
When we are born, our parents place these ideas and expectations of how our lives will be. From the moment we are pulled out from inside our mother and inhale our first breath of life, to when our mother holds us for the first time. She greets us with her love, affection, and warmth after waiting for 9 months. Once mother and child are together those ideas and expectations are solidified.
Growing up I’ve always had a strong relationship with my mother. Her real name is Victoria Dill and she is white, but she speaks perfect Spanish and could easily be mistaken as a Latina. She’s a Pisces and a very independent woman who has done so much for her kids. If I ever wanted anything at the store she would tell me, “I can’t get it for you right now, but you WILL get it.” Mama Victoria always kept her promises.
Now it’s the summer of 2008. I’ve just completed middle school and I’m excited to be a freshmen in high school. I’m home alone pacing back and forth with my Nokia brick phone clenched in my hand covered with sweat. I’m 15 years old going on 16 and already I’ve been feeling much older than my time here on Earth.
You want to know why? Because I’ve become a liar!
I’ve been living a lie for as long as I can remember because I was fighting with my truth. This lie was so powerful, it ate my entire brain and clouded my heart. I begin to call my mother on her cell phone. She’s at work so in my head I’m praying to Madonna that it goes to voicemail.
“You’ve reached the voicemail of telephone number 773. . . .” Thank the lord.
“Hi mom. It’s your son. I just wanted to let you know. . .that I’m gay (at this point I breakdown and cry). I don’t want you to treat me any different than how you’ve been treating me. . . ” (click)
I stand there feeling vulnerable and exposed in my vacant house after letting out my biggest secret. My phone starts to vibrate and guess who it is? I let that brick in my hand go to voicemail. No way am I answering that. I then look at my phone and see she’s left a voicemail.
“Hey mijo. I’m still you mother. Call me back.”
I call back and it’s ringing.
“Hi mijo. I’ve got your voicemail. I’ve already suspected you were gay. I still love you no matter what.”
“Thank you so much,” I say crying.
“Now clean the house, you gays love cleaning!”
What followed was so surreal I could never forget it. My shoulders lifted up slowly as if on their own, like a higher power was at hand. The weight I carried for so long about my identity metamorphosized from “burden” into a blessing because I was in touch with my truth.
I felt light as a feather as I stood there, when not moments ago I was feeling defeated. I felt like an unstoppable warrior leading the revolution of my newfound life.
In closing, I would like to dedicate my story to the LGBTQ trailblazers who have bestowed the Earth before my time. From the people declaring their rights at Stonewall Inn on June 28th to many rallies and demonstrations where we demanded equality through so much adversity. And to our fallen brothers and sisters in relation to AIDS and to the people who marched for marriage equality in recent years. All of us are a part of something so much more.
22-year-old Eric Amaya is a cast member of the Youtube series “Queer Code,” an HIV prevention counselor/tester, and a young queer activist. Eric shared his coming out story at the recent Vives Q event in Little Village. You can follow Eric on Twitter and Instagram at @ericwinehouse.