Welcome to the ConeCast

I’ve had a lot on my mind lately and after an incredible Pride weekend, I am inspired to start writing it all down. Seeing and feeling the love all over San Francisco was reassuring especially after the growth I personally have experienced the past year.

Pride had always been tricky for me. I came out to my parents during my sophomore year of high school and they did not take well to it. In short, they did not fully accept or acknowledge this part of me and tried to keep it under wraps for years. It was something we did not talk about because it’s just not kosher in the Latino culture. How can the only son that is supposed to provide for a woman and carry the family name be a faggot, a maricón?

I kept this part of me hidden except for a few close friends in high school and college. Even then, I always felt uncomfortable calling or identifying myself as gay. I didn’t really know what it was like to be out and I felt a lack of support in the Latino community to provide guidance or advice. To make matters more complicated in college, I felt like a minority for the first time in my life (I grew up in a 50% Black, 50% Latino neighborhood) and the folks who were out and proud had totally different — and positive, for the most part — experiences. I heard this constant message of Equal Rights and Love Is Love, but all I could think about was how my own father beat the shit out of me when I came out.

I thought for a long time that being gay and Latino was incompatible. Maybe it was easier that way to deal with the trauma and maybe pushing away from both identities would help. But that only led to a point where I didn’t even know my real self and buried myself in a superficial identity. It was painfully lonely, so I made moves to overcome it. I knew there was more to my identity than that.

After experiencing amazing friendships and feeling empowered by meeting fellow gay students, I began to turn a new leaf. Moving to San Francisco was the icing on the cake, where I got to meet and befriend even more gay and queer folk, especially fellow QPOC. I finally started to heal and find my true self. I’m taking slow steps to educate my parents on acceptance and getting to know their real son. And despite a professional lull, I remembered that I am an ambitious and successful go-getter regardless of all that I’ve been through. This Pride was my first where I finally believed in all of this and felt authentic to myself. It was beyond empowering.

Oddly enough, one of the ways that I’m finding acceptance of my true self and fighting homophobia in the Latino community is through drag. I hope to document more of these adventures on here, but the reason I mention this is because of how revolutionary drag is. Though I didn’t fully flesh out a whole lewk this weekend, I wore free flowing clothes, pumps, mascara, and I loved every minute of it. It’s the ultimate act of resistance and even if my aesthetic may ultimately be fishy, that’s totally fine. I will have a purpose and story behind it (namely, addressing the fragility of Latino masculinity, but that’s a topic for another day). That will be a tremendous victory for me and will hopefully help to build tolerance in the Latino/Latinx community — and it’s one of the biggest reasons why I was and am #TeamValentina on RPDR 9.

The REAL reason I mention drag, however, is because of the name I’ve given to myself and this blog. I reclaimed maricón and appropriated it to become Mary Cone, a fly ferocious lady (thanks Mama Ru). Not only is it punny, but that word will no longer be used to hurt me. Instead I want to use it to inspire young Latinx folks trying to find their way, and anyone who wants to learn about different experiences.

So on that note, welcome to the ConeCast. I’ll have a bunch of posts on various different topics, but they’ll mostly deal with the experience of a queer Latinx urban professional making his way through the world. I hope you enjoy.