#mitúWORLD

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.

b54e7f_04619e56ee0d49ffaed91ddc33ff3034.jpg_srz_p_981_646_75_22_0.50_1.20_0
Credit: Paoloa Paredes / Unveiled

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.

b54e7f_650c2877326c41fdbdb83ac6d7b1c127.jpg_srz_p_982_725_75_22_0.50_1.20_0
Credit: Paoloa Paredes / Unveiled

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.

b54e7f_234cec5a787142c5a574098898907713.jpg_srz_p_979_652_75_22_0.50_1.20_0
Credit: Paoloa Paredes / Unveiled

“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.

READ: Latino, Gay, and Undocumented in the Rural South

After years of hiding her true self, her family got to meet the real Paola Paredes.

b54e7f_6adeb61389614d048f0902b5903f743f.jpg_srz_p_979_762_75_22_0.50_1.20_0
Credit: Paoloa Paredes / Unveiled

“Upon researching an idea I wanted to work on I found a book called Stolen Glances: Lesbians Take PhotographsI 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.

b54e7f_464cd16c71f34be3bb9a2fb7a8f7504d.jpg_srz_p_984_656_75_22_0.50_1.20_0
Credit: Paoloa Paredes / Unveiled

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.

b54e7f_f2c601afaf034fe98189ecc78dade724.jpg_srz_p_979_653_75_22_0.50_1.20_0
Credit: Paoloa Paredes / Unveiled

“We don’t care. We love you,” Paredes recalls her parents saying on her project Unveiled.

The emotional conversation lasted for hours.

b54e7f_3924e58993624756b7b0f868e1ad1b0a.jpg_srz_p_979_661_75_22_0.50_1.20_0
Credit: Paoloa Paredes / Unveiled

“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.

b54e7f_d23042b48e924f528e1dd7ab274f180a.jpg_srz_p_979_653_75_22_0.50_1.20_0
Credit: Paoloa Paredes / Unveiled

“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.

b54e7f_4368513a8452478aa1c91ec2ee043132.jpg_srz_p_979_653_75_22_0.50_1.20_0
Credit: Paoloa Paredes / Unveiled

“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.

What do you think about Paolo Paredes’s coming out experience? Did you have a similar experience? mitú wants to know. Tell us in the comments below!

Liked this story? Go to our Facebook and give us a like to have more inspiring stories like this sent directly to your phone.

Puerto Vallarta Has Long Been An LGBTQ-Friendly Travel Destination And Here’s Why

Culture

Puerto Vallarta Has Long Been An LGBTQ-Friendly Travel Destination And Here’s Why

ThatGayGringo / Instagram

Puerto Vallarta is one of the favorite Mexican tourist destinations of the LGBT community. There are hotels, bars, nightclubs, beaches, and even drinks specifically for LGBT travelers, and due to the safety and welcoming environment for these guests, it is the first city in Mexico to receive the Gay Travel Approved distinction by GayTravel.com.

But why PV? What made Vallarta Mexico’s top gay destination?

Let’s start back at the beginning.

Credit: thatgaygringo / Instagram

In the south of Puerto Vallarta you will find the “Old Town,” also called “The Romantic Zone,” the tourist area favored by expats and foreigners who want to soak up local traditions. The Old Puerto Vallarta is also considered the gay neighborhood since 1980, when the gay community and retired Canadians and Americans bought land and properties in order to create gay-friendly businesses. Today there’s a wide variety of attractions with this focus, including bars, restaurants, stores, nightclubs, and both budget and boutique hotels.

In this zone is nestled the popular beach Playa de los Muertos, which, although not exclusively gay, for the last 20 years has been known as a gay-friendly beach (also called Blue Chairs, because of the many blue chairs placed by a gay resort which bears the same name), mainly in the high season, from November to March.

Why is this pristine beach the LBGT meeting point? Because the gay-friendly beachfront hotels in the area causes—and guarantees—a concentration of LGBT tourists, bringing a multicultural ambience where members of this community will be respected without discrimination. In the morning they can socialize and enjoy the party atmosphere, and in the afternoon walk holding hands under the dazzling sunset, in a romantic atmosphere free of hostility. Such is the high demand for LGBT-friendly vacation spots that the area has been extended to include the green chairs and as far as the north coast, in the elegant Oceano Sapphire Beach Club, owned by gays.

But it’s about more than just the beach.

Credit: David Stanley / Flickr

Unlike certain countries, laws against homosexuality never existed in Mexico. There is, however, a strong macho culture and religious influence which disapproves it—nonetheless the locals show respect. Under these circumstances, the growing community has led LGBT organizations to work to promote a change of culture in the pursuit of equality. Their work has gotten results: they have achieved recognition of gay rights, and implemented laws against the provocation and incitement of hate or violence against LGBTs, and also to guarantee equality in employment and public accomodation and services. Even more, in 2013 Puerto Vallarta legalized civil union between LGBT couples, followed by same-sex marriage in 2016.

This city organized its first Gay Pride March, and has hosted the Pink & Proud Women’s Party—the equivalent lesbian celebration—for the last four years, with assistance from the local Canadian and American communities. The multiple events in support of the LGBT community have marked out Puerto Vallarta as the “Mexican San Francisco.”

Now, there’s a giant and flourishing LGBTQ tourism industry that welcomes people from around the world.

Credit: Kristopher Roller / Unsplash

For the last 10 years, the number of LGBT visitors has increased in Puerto Vallarta and Jalisco, and in order to meet demand, the number of LGBT-friendly resorts and touristic attractions has also increased. Now three of every 10 hotels in Puerto Vallarta are LGBT-friendly, and most also offer weddings and other symbolic ceremonies.

Bars, nightclubs and other amenities are already focused on this market, and there are also tours—like the Gay VIP Bars Tour—and even drinks—like the Gay Tequila and the Gay Energy Drink—to make these guests feel extra welcome. As a result, Puerto Vallarta now hosts International LGBT Business Expos, with important conferences and events, including fashions shows, beach parties and music festivals to celebrate this booming market.

Puerto Vallarta remains the gateway to Mexico for many LGBTQ travelers.

Credit: kwhigam / Flickr

Some other cities have recognized the demand, and are now attempting to attract LGBT tourism to their destinations. Puerto Vallarta is not letting it happen: diverse businesses—no matter the sexual preference—are joining forces to create organizations to promote this targeted brand of tourism. The market gives consumers what they want, and they have identified this growing target and will not let it go.

Beyond the marketing, Puerto Vallarta became a platform to support gay rights, and the LGBT community knows it and feels welcome here. What really keeps the LGBT community hitting Puerto Vallarta is the activism, respect, and freedom they find in this beautiful paradise.

It’s Romance Awareness Month And These Latino RomComs Are Perfect For Your Next Netflix And Chill

Entertainment

It’s Romance Awareness Month And These Latino RomComs Are Perfect For Your Next Netflix And Chill

FlixLatino / YouTube

Did you know that August is Romance Awareness Month? We’re guessing that, even if you didn’t, you probably felt it in your gut – and that’s what led you here. To get into the spirit of things, we’ve put together a list of ten latino rom-coms for you to watch through the dying days of summer. Just don’t blame us if you end up on a movie binge, babes.

1. Maid in Manhattan

Instagram / @malumatfurusco

Jennifer Lopez captures our hearts in this 2002 fairytale-like movie that would put the original Cinderella story to shame. Lopez stars as a hard-working single mom stuck balancing parenting duties with her long hours at a ritzy hotel in, you guessed it, Manhattan. Ralph Fiennes – the guy who is actually Voldemort in the Harry Potter films – plays JLo’s rich, handsome, and effortlessly charming love interest. 

2. Doña Herlinda y Su Hijo (Dona Herlinda and Her Son)

Instagram / @beyazgarga

Would it be possible to have a list of Latino rom-coms without a movie about a mother overly invested in her child’s love life? Welcome to the kitsch 1985 film, Doña Herlinda y Su Hijo. Dona is determined to see her son give her the grandchild she so desperately wants. The catch? He’s gay. And, not only that – he’s head over heels for a student in Guadalajara. So what happens when Dona arranges a marriage, to a woman, for her son? Guess you’ll just have to watch to find out.

3. Hitch

Instagram / @jocksnbeats

If you haven’t had the pleasure of watching this one before, then don’t be surprised to find out that Will Smith hasn’t even aged since this 2005 banger of a romance. Smith plays Alex “Hitch” Hitchens, who’s basically a dating coach crossed with every sleazy pick up artist you’ve feared swiping right on. His smooth game is disrupted when he meets Eva Mendes’ Sara, a career-driven, sassy Latina. Hijinks ensue as both of them eventually discover the value of a real, connected relationship.

4. Tan de repente (Suddenly)

Instagram / @marcelo.denicola

This 2002 black and white film begins with what seems like the start of just another workday for salesgirl Marcia. Of course, it’s anything but. She somehow ends up propositioned by two aggressive, dagger-wielding lesbians – Mao and Lenin. Even though Marcia isn’t interested, she’s abducted by the two, and is spirited away to the Lenin’s estranged aunt’s house. It’s there that Marcia learns that the two women aren’t as tough as they originally seemed.

5. From Prada to Nada

Instagram / @coronetfilms

Loosely based on Jane Austen’s classic novel, Sense and Sensibility, From Prada to Nada revolves around the trials and tribulations of two spoiled sisters left penniless from their father’s sudden death, who are forced to live with their estranged aunt in East Los Angeles. The two girls figure out pretty quickly that they’re going to have to work hard to get their standing back – whether it be by chasing careers, or chasing boys. 

6. Chasing Papi

Instagram / @fifiandromeo

This 2003 rom-com, starring Roselyn Sánchez, Sofía Vergara, and Jaci Velasquez, centers around three women who discover that they’ve all been dating the same man. Surprise surprise, they’ve all affectionately nicknamed him “Papi”. The movie twists and turns into not only chasing Papi, but also avoiding the cops and some shady criminals.

7. Elura, Te Daría Mi Vida Pero Lo Estoy Usando (Elvira, I would give you my life but I am using it)

Instagram / @holamexicoff

Released in 2014, this film follows 40 year old mother of two, Elvira, in her quest to find her husband, Gustavo. Even though all signs point to the likelihood of Gustavo having an illicit affair, Elvira doesn’t rest until her husband is found.

8. ¿Qué Culpa Tiene el Niño? (Don’t Blame The Kid)

Instagram / @morancasting

Our fave Karla Souza from How to Get Away With Murder stars as Maru in this Mexican film about a one-night stand that goes awry. After discovering she’s pregnant after a drunken night of fun, Maru decides the only way to move forward is by moving in with the father of her soon-to-be child. Naturally, things ramp up after she decides to move in with a complete stranger – but isn’t that the beauty of a classic rom-com?

9. Fresa y chocolate (Strawberry and Chocolate)

Pinterest / BFI

Considering this was the first Cuban film to be nominated for an Oscar for the best foreign language film, this 1994 gem begins with hints of a cute gay rom-com, before transforming into something else. The romance in this film is set against the political complexities of the Castro regime.

10. Corazón de Leon (Heart of a Lion)

Youtube / FlixLatino

This 2017 rom-com starts with the protagonist, León, discovering a lost cell phone. Naturally, he decides to call the owner, Ivana. Feeling their mutual attraction, León asks her out on a whim. But, he’s left out an important detail: he’s 4.4 feet tall. From there, Corazón de Leon explores how their mutual attraction could overcome shallow societal expectations.

So which movie are you going to watch first? Or, have you already seen them all? Tell us about it on our Facebook page – you can find it by clicking on the logo at the top of the page.

Paid Promoted Stories