I was blessed with having a happy childhood.
I spent a lot of time with my dad and with my godfather Tio, who’s my dad’s best friend. Their destiny was so intertwined, that life gave them the gift of having the birth of their daughters (Claudia and I) only 19 days apart.
Tio and my dad used to take us to the beach every Sunday—something you don’t see so often these days: two guys hanging around with their toddler daughters without any help. I remember they used to carry us on their backs and we used to “fight” the waves. Truth be told, we swallowed a lot of ocean water and sand, but the beach gave me a lot of happy moments.
“I am gay,” Claudia told me one day at my house as if she was telling me her favorite color was green, while she explained to me that a boy from her school went into her room but her mom didn’t care because she knew that Claudia wasn’t interested in boys.
I´ve had some exposure to the gay world because of ballet, but it was a secret world. The boy who used to dance with me would arrive at the theater asking to borrow some tights because he had to sneak out of his house without them since his mom didn’t know he was a dancer. But that someone my age, in that moment around 12 years old, would say it so openly…That was something else.
That same week, while my dad was driving me home, he told me that Claudia was gay. He said, “You can’t judge her for this. She is your sister and you have to love her the same.”
This was obvious to me. I remember thinking, “My dad is telling me something I already know, why would I judge her?”
But after the years passed, I understood that my dad, who was born in the 1950s, who might not have been completely comfortable with the subject, was teaching me that you don’t need to agree with a reality to educate your children as decent human beings and that, above everything, family—blood or chosen—will always be family.
Author: Lidia Castellanos
Image: @elephantjournal Instagram
Editor: Sara Kärpänen