CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Izzy Perez Gonzalez told his loved ones he was gay at 14 and said they were supportive of him. Recently, he’s told them about one of his other identities. He’s polyamorous, meaning he is in a relationship with more than one person. He currently has a husband and a partner.
He said his loved ones were supportive of him being polyamorous and were curious to know about this part of his identity.
“They were so interested in it and they were like 'wow that’s pretty cool' and everything. I didn’t get any backlash on it,” Perez Gonzalez said.
He said while he understands people come from different backgrounds and have different beliefs, it all comes down to having a mutual respect for each other.
“Everybody has their own beliefs, so I see it as even if they don’t accept it, as long as there’s a lot of respect there, that should be perfectly fine,” he said.
Perez Gonzalez goes to LGBTQ events created by the Coastal Bend Wellness Foundation’s Pride Center. It’s a center that hopes to bridge mutual respect between LGBTQ and straight people in the Coastal Bend community.
“It’s really about standing up for others when you see that something is being done wrong or is discriminatory,” Barton Bailey, the center’s director said.
However, not having people around that are supportive of their identity can be hurtful for people that identify as LGBTQ.
A 2013 Pew Research study said that about 39% of LGBTQ people have faced rejection by a loved one.
Julie Thigpen, a child play therapist in Corpus Christi, said LGBTQ youth are more prone to having higher rates of suicide, depression, and anxiety. She said the most important thing people can do if someone reveals they identify as LGBTQ is to listen.
“The most important thing for parents or even any loved one, if somebody chooses to share this information with you, the most important thing they need to know is that you care and that they’re still the same person five minutes ago before they shared,” Thigpen said.