A Gay Latina Came Out to Her Family and Took Photos of the Moment She Broke the News
Paola Paredes is an Ecuadorian photographer who kept her sexuality hidden from her parents for years. Fed up with keeping her sexuality a secret, Paredes decided to come out to her family in a way only a photographer could: by documenting the whole experience. Paredes set up three cameras in a room and broke the news to her parents and two sisters. The results are gripping.
It was a tough conversation to start.
Paredes wrote on her blog that starting the conversation was hard. She stared at the table for a while before she was able to muster up the courage to tell her parents two words: “I’m gay.”
Which is natural because coming out to your parents is terrifying.
And being in a Latino family can make the fear of coming out much more intense, due to the strong religious influences in Latino culture.
There were three angles that captured Paredes’s coming out.
“When I sat down to edit the photographs, there were thousands of frames; nonetheless, I found only one in which one person – one of my sisters – looks straight at the camera. The rest of us didn’t even flinch at the cameras. That gives you an idea of how their presence was not felt that much,” Paredes told Fotografia.
After years of hiding her true self, her family got to meet the real Paola Paredes.
“Upon researching an idea I wanted to work on I found a book called Stolen Glances: Lesbians Take Photographs. I was taken by the many lovely pictures done by various female artists, expressing their sexuality through photography. I knew then and there that I wanted to do a project similar to that, one that would be close to my heart,” Paredes told Huffington Post.
Paredes’s parents did not respond immediately.
They sat there as they listened to their daughter talk about the hurt and struggle she had coming to terms with her sexuality.
When her parents spoke, it was with love.
“We don’t care. We love you,” Paredes recalls her parents saying on her project Unveiled.
The emotional conversation lasted for hours.
“I had a chance to tell my family what I had gone through as a teenager, how hard it had been to accept myself for who I was. They listened intently,” wrote Paredes on her site.
Her family loves and accepts her but dealing with Ecuador’s conservative culture is challenging.
“As far as their acceptance goes, they are going through a process of their own. The most challenging part for them is living in a place as conservative and Catholic as Ecuador, where being gay is still disapproved. I can tell that’s hard on them,” Paredes told Fotografia.
The emotional rollercoaster ended with a family smoke session.
“At one point Mum got up to get a carton of cigarettes, placing it on the table when she returned. We all reached for one in unison. None of us were really big smokers, and we rarely smoked together,” Paredes wrote.