I’m Karina Matos. I am 23 and was born in New York, lived in Dominican Republic until around the first grade and for most of my life grew up in Philly.
My parents are both Dominican and my mother towering at 5’1, is a beautiful olive toned, and my father could be defined in my eyes as the dark chocolate absent man in my life. I am the ignored middle child who always did everything she was told, that is until I came out to my mom as a lesbian.
On top of being gay, I’m an I ann Afro- latina. I had no idea what that meant until I was around 20 years old. Growing up I battled with people about my identity, I always defended who I was and who I was not.
“No im not anorexic, I have a fast metabolism”
“Both of my parents are Latino, there is no black in me”
“What do you mean I haven’t slept with enough men to know if I’m gay?”
So on and so forth, its made me strong, and unbelievably stubborn, and closed off to the opinions of others. Thankully, I got out of the hood, and went to college far away in the vacation city of Miami. There I learned of my beauty, my resistance to change, what it means to be Afro-Latina, the love of another and most importantly love of myself.
It’s hard to not only be a woman, but a black AND Latina woman who, in turn loves women.
I’ve been so conditioned to believe that “men are the way” that I’ve found myself being with a few guys just to prove to myself (and other people) that I’m not straight, which is almost like proving to people that you’re not just black, but you’re a Latina too despite the superficialities of seeing your dark tone. It’s been an ongoing battle due to family and peer pressure. Coming from a Dominican household, when I came out it was like all of heaven laid a curse on my very Catholic mom.
After having my first boyfriend, way before having any sexual encounter with him, I would always think “I have no idea what I want but I don’t think it’s this.” it wasn’t until much much later that I realized I wasn’t a weirdo, I was just gay.
I love being an Afro-Latina lesbian.
There’s so much identity discovery, so much sexual discovery, and it’s been so much fun learning myself and growing in every aspect. I ended up in a loving relationship with one of my closest friends from college and we are very happy with each other and that’s all that matters.
So whether you’re a lesbian, or heterosexual, remembering to stay true to yourself and your morals is what matters most. I let a lot of people misguide me into thinking I’m not “really” a Latina, that I’m not “really” black, and that I’m not “really” a lesbian.I am all of those things and I have never been so grateful to represent three different communities in one.
Besides, women are the source of the universe. Our earth is a mother, we came from the wombs of women, nourished, taught, and loved by them. Why shouldn’t it be okay to be in love them too?