Coming from a traditional Mexican and Christian home, University of New Mexico student Uris Tapia-Flores experienced isolation as she grew into her identity as an LGBTQ + individual, feeling separated from communities that had once embraced it. Throughout her teens and in college, Uris Tapia-Flores found acceptance and queer parentage through social media despite having a family life that did not accept.
â(Being queer) is a bit difficult because at home I can’t really express myself the way I want to. I am still in a Mexican family and I also grew up a Christian, âsaid Uris Tapia-Flores. âAt home, I can’t really express my homosexuality. Even if I do, the way I express myself is to dress the way I want to dress.
Further progress towards acceptance of homosexuals must occur in the Christian and Mexican communities, according to elder sister Karyme Tapia-Flores. The macho mindset, or exaggerated masculinity, is “very heavy in the Mexican community.”
Karyme Tapia-Flores attested to their strict and conservative family dynamics and said that she was “the one supporting (Uris) in the household”.
Although most of her family are not supportive of her, Uris Tapia-Flores found love in a strong group of friends who kissed her for who she is from college until today, providing a system support where most of his family have not.
This year, Uris Tapia-Flores looked forward to Albuquerque Pride 2021, an opportunity to shine with a shared community, and was disappointed that the event was canceled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. However, Uris Tapia-Flores still plans to participate in pride events through the UNM LGBTQ Resource Center.
When it comes to online presence, Uris Tapia-Flores is speaking out through social media platforms, such as Instagram and Tiktok, and intends to be a beacon for other queer people online. Coming from a ruthless family background, she discovered that social media was one of her only ways to express her childhood as a queer.
âI didn’t know there were people from the (LGBTQ +) community here in Albuquerque. I thought I was doing this alone, âsaid Uris Tapia-Flores. âBut, social media has helped a lot in reaching who is part of the community. Especially TikTok – when I joined TikTok I was like ‘Whoa, there are so many people out there.’ â
Karyme Tapia-Flores said she is extremely proud of her younger sister for being fully herself, on and off social media.
âI had a lot of soul-searching because I felt like I was trying to follow the book with my queerness, but there is no rule to that,â said Uris Tapia-Flores. “Be yourself.”
Rebecca Hobart is a freelance journalist for the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at [email protected] or on Twitter @DailyLobo