The clothes we wear can say a lot about us. They can also astonish your grandmother.
On a family visit in Pasco, Washington, my shirt did just that.
Although these trips center on my family, I always make sure to visit the local Mexican bakery to buy a copious supply of churros. While I rallied my family together to accompany me, I witnessed my grandmother’s normally jovial face shift to a disgusted one when she saw my shirt. I paused in doubt, questioning her glare, until the realization dawned on me.
Printed on my shirt, given to me at a pride parade, were the words, “Gay & Black is beautiful.” Although I do not identify as gay or Black, my Mexican-American parents have raised me to take pride in being a person of color and to accept those with diverse sexual orientations. They taught me to exalt natural features that many cultures abhor. By doing this, they hoped to combat any negative self-perceptions I might hold.
Still thinking of cinnamon and sugar, I initially ignored her reaction. However, my grandma stopped me before I could step out the door. With family watching, she sternly said to me, “Andy, you need to change your shirt. You are going to start trouble.”
Clearly not hearing the response she…
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