Coming of Age with Bisexuality Essay

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Religion and Family on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Children in a Cup of Water Under My Bed: A Memoir by Daisy Hernandez (2015)

In her memoir, A Cup of Water Under My Bed, Daisy Hernandez describes her first-hand experiences growing up in the United States as the daughter of Latin American parents from two different countries. Although Hernandez provides a number of salient examples of how cross-cultural issues affect her life, perhaps the most poignant issue explored in her memoirs concerns her coming to grips with being bisexual and what this meant for her and her family based on her Catholic education and her parents' views about human sexuality. Given the increasingly widespread acceptance of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in the United States in recent years including legislation and changes in social practices, it is important to identify any significant issues that could hamper this process. To this end, this paper provides the context of Hernandez's memoir, followed by an analysis of the impact of religion and family on LGBT children in a selected chapter. Finally, a summary of the research and important findings concerning the effects of religion and family on LGBT children as exemplified in this chapter are presented in the conclusion.

Review and Analysis

The author is the daughter of a Cuban father and Colombian mother who chronicles her youthful experiences as an adolescent and then young adult in the United States. In her memoirs, Hernandez presents a poignant picture of living in a bilingual world where she must help her parents with English while sorting out the day-to-day challenges that life presents all young people. Likewise, Hernandez also struggles with her growing recognition that she is bisexual, something that was especially troubling for her because the feelings she was experiencing were not only new (and exciting) but abnormal according to her religious upbringing.

Given the powerful nature of these feelings for all young people, it is little wonder that Hernandez became increasingly concerned and conflicted about her role in American society, what her cultural background meant for her future, and the emergence of bisexual tendencies.
The author relates these points and more when she speaks to a group of teenagers at the request of a community organization. Following some candid admissions concerning her bisexuality and her background, Hernandez is asked by one female attendee, "Do you want to marry a guy or a girl?" In response, Hernandez first formulates a forthright but flippant observation ("I want to tell her: 'Girlfriend, I'd be happy to meet someone I like as much as my cat'"); however, she quickly remembers her audience and her own sensitivities during this turbulent period in life and adds, "I can't say that, because these are teenagers. They are impressionable. They're young. If I give them the wrong response, they might beat up a queer kid one day or not come out of the closet themselves." Although what she actually says reflects the reality that human sexuality exists along a continuum for everyone, she concedes that the response is "bullshit and the girl knows it" when she says: "For me, gender doesn't matter.... I'm attracted to who the person is on the inside."

Following a series of flashbacks that included a kindred spirit she was assigned to write about, the author cites her Catholic school upbringing as being fundamental to her own conflicted views about sexuality and credits a substitute teacher with helping her sort out her feelings when others were unable to do so. Because one of the incessant themes drummed into the young learners at St. John the Baptist School was the danger of sexually transmitted diseases, especially HIV / AIDS, Hernandez realized that some people were actually dying because of their sexual orientation and that their sexual orientation was not always a choice….....

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Hernandez, D. (2015). A cup of water under my bed: A memoir. Boston: Beacon Press.

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