Macho, Zealot, and Scared No More . . . I’m Coming Out

My name is Edgar Pulido, I was born in small town Mexico to a very religious family—and I’m coming out of the closet.

Mexican ranchero legend VICENTE FERNANDEZ photo courtesy of Sony Music
Mexican ranchero legend VICENTE FERNANDEZ
photo courtesy of Sony Music

In Mexico, “machismo” is fairly common. It refers to the cultural pressure on men to be strong or aggressive, with the belief that you have to be the dominant sex. Dad will encourage his son to never cry, because “men don’t cry.” The boy is encouraged to fight anyone who gets in his way. The more girlfriends you have, and the more you get laid, the more man points you earn, and the more highly society will think of you.

I was also born into a Christian family on both sides. Growing up in a Christian family was not easy. It is full of “don’t do this,” “do that,” and “that is bad,” “this is good.”

As I grew up, I started noticing how different I was from other guys. I felt more attracted to guys than to girls. I felt that I was doing something really bad for having these feelings, because according to Church that is a sin—an abomination. I could not understand what was wrong with me or why I was feeling this way. But I never talked to anyone about it because of fear. Fear of getting judged. Fear of being punished. Fear of rejection—from my family, friends, and basically everyone around me. Time went by and I kept hiding and denying what I really am, because of fear.

I was also angry at myself because I couldn’t be like everyone else, like all the other boys, so I kept looking for refuge in church. Church was the only place where I felt welcomed and loved, but that was just because the Church is supposed to love everyone and not judge you—but they still believed it was wrong. So, combine that with macho culture, and being gay was not an option for a Mexican boy.

At the age of 16, my family and I ended up moving to the state of Arizona where I started high school. There, I met new friends and new people, but I still didn’t feel like I could trust anyone enough to talk about what was going on in my life. This caused me to fall deep into depression and a very dark time in my life.

When I graduated from high school, I started college and started making new friends. And that is how I met this guy, who was out of the closet, and who didn’t care about what others would say of him. He put his eyes on me, and little by little got close to me. At first I was scared of accepting that I liked him, because to me it was still wrong. I ended up accepting his friendship, slowly but surely developed feelings for him, and eventually started dating him—all on the down low, of course. I even tried to keep it hidden from our friends—just because I was still scared.

We graduated college and now it was time for big decisions. What was going to be of my life? What was going to be my next move? Would I move away and leave him? Was he coming with me? Would we stay together? So we talked about it and he proposed that we should move out to another state so we could live together, so I didn’t have to worry about hiding our relationship since no one would know us—to start a new life together. That sounded so nice and comforting.

So it happened. We moved to Las Vegas. We both got jobs right away at this fast food restaurant. We got an apartment and our life together started. It was hard because we had to start from scratch and work to be able to sustain ourselves, we were alone, and we missed our families.

But between us things seemed great . . . until we went back home to visit our families. There I could see how much I made him suffer because back home he was only my roommate. He would stay with his family and I’d stay with mine. It hurt me to not be able to fully come out to my family. But I had chosen not do it because I didn’t want to hurt them.
And why am I coming out now?

Fernando and Edgar (4th and 5th from the right) on Team Stephen, the community service program coordinators for APU.

A few months ago I was on Facebook just killing time when I found this video post from Fernando Alcántar. Fernando used to be the representative for Azusa Pacific University, a large Christian university my grandpa had a relationship with. They used to bring thousands of missionaries into Mexico, and I’d help as a translator or on the community service program, which Fernando led. On his post, he was coming out of the closet to the public—to all his family, friends, and everyone who knew him. I was amazed and I felt this huge mix of happiness, comfort, relief and hope. I texted him right away and briefly told him my story. I told him how blessed I am to now know I’m not the only one fighting this battle. He said that kids like me are the reason why he came out, and that there are lots of other kids out there who need to know they are not alone. And this is why I’m writing this blog. I am looking at a very difficult chat with my family, which I know they will still support me. And just like Fernando’s story encouraged me to speak up, I want to encourage those who also need that push, that support, that understanding.

Culture, religion, fear, depression, should not control how we feel, who we love, and how we live—that choice is up to us. I want to come out to prove love can win. I may be a boy from small town Mexico, judged for being different, with a heavy burden on his shoulders, but I am taking a risk to be free. And I hope you will too.

Edgar Pulido was born and raised in a small town in Baja California, Mexico. He served in different ministries at his church, and with Azusa Pacific University. He is excited to continue helping others, but this time with a full honesty about who he is.

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