I am a born and bred Californian. I am also Guatemalan/Mexican. My whole life I have struggled with balancing these two identities so that I was able to make to it adulthood relatively unscathed by social ridicule. For example, my mom, being the traditional Guatemalan woman that she is, upheld the feminine ,make up clad, domestic role (and insisted this was necessary to get a man ) while at the same time constantly reminding me and my sister to never depend on a man for anything because we, as women, are as strong or stronger than men. I pretty much disregarded anything that complied with traditional gender roles and femininity yet because I liked boys and wasn’t too “out there” with my tomboyish-ness I was allowed a pass from my traditional family.
One lovely summer day teenaged me was at home brooding over the injustice of the world and having conservative parents who won’t let me date etc. when the thought occurred to me: this would NOT be an issue if I was a lesbian (as I was sure the reason my parents would not let me date was the fear of pregnancy.) Of course, then I imagined telling them this (just for kicks of course!) and claiming one of my two best friends was my girlfriend so I could go about a secret dating life. I stopped to consider which friend I would say was my girlfriend and realized I was not attracted to either of them. This was my only consideration as to whether I liked girls for the first 25-ish years of my life. Nevermind the fact that I made a point to watch and Jessica Alba project because “I appreciate her aesthetics” or that Nicole Kidman was becoming one of my favorites on screen because “everyone can appreciate a beautiful woman right?” I was somehow blinded to my own bisexuality because of this ingrained belief that sexuality was an either/or situation: either your gay or straight.
About a decade later I am on a camping trip and it hits me like a ton of bricks: I like girls romantically, sexually and in platonic relationships. As someone who considers herself an independent, free thinking, Californian it came as quite a shock that I was able to deny that for so long. Reflecting upon it I realized I started having crushes on girls in early adolescence and reframed it so it fit better with societies narrative which, at the time, I was not ready to challenge. I mean, I started challenging gender roles and society’s narrative of women as weak at like, 8 years old, but I was always very careful not to go too far. I needed to stay safe because my skin is brown in a world dominated by whites. No one ever explicitly stated this to me but it was in everything I watched. Every time I did not see a reflection of me on screen the message was “this is how white people act. These are societal expectations. Fit these as best you can.” Since I never saw an explicitly queer person “acting normal” (i.e. not overly flamboyant/promiscuous/made fun of) they didn’t exists for me, therfore, I couldn’t be one, right?
In the last couple years I’ve been lucky enough to find great communities in both the cannabis and LGBTQ+ realms and I find my story is not all that unique yet there seems to still be this taboo around cannabis that prevents overlap in the communities yet, “Public health researchers have already established that bisexual women use cannabis at much higher rates than straight and lesbian women.” Some cannabis companies,like Flow Kana, are actively working to bring the LGBTQ+ and cannabis community together by participating in events like SF Pride but we have a long way to go! The communities I have been a part of have taught me a lot about myself and I’m hoping to create more spaces where diversity is a priority and cannabis can be had for all.