Ben and León

Ben (they) and León (he/they) have been partners for over 4 years. While Ben lives in Abiquiu and León lives in Albuquerque, they make time to see each other frequently.

“My family in Mexico, which is my mother's side of the family, they've always been very accepting of me, but I do feel to that....when I go see them, or visit them, I always go into their world, but I can't really bring them into my world....They don't understand my queerness, they don't understand Ben's gender, they understand my gender in a very binary term.... I feel their love and acceptance, but I'm not fully me with my family there... Albuquerque, New Mexico in general...is the only place really in my 43 years on this earth where I've really felt community and a sense of family and belonging. So I very much feel like family is people that I share values with, that I can be myself with, that I can be healthy in many ways, healthy in accountability, health in healing, health in love in general, in all the ways that it manifests, and New Mexico has been the place where I've really found that more than anything else.” - León

“Family is a pretty strange concept to me, and I’m still learning what I think about family...But part of my coming out, queer experience has been a hard thing around biological family. I grew up Mormon, so I was ex-communicated from the religion, which also has a large impact on the biological family and breaks this internal ceiling that the family has. So, my journey impacted my family in a really strange way, so in a way I think they are victims to a really fucked up cult thing. And, in a way I feel compassion and understanding that it's been hard to them because it seem like something that I am doing to all of us...So, that's been an ongoing weird journey of navigating those relationships and my own beliefs and my own feelings and history with these people. And hopes for healing, and also kind of navigating...what I want and what I think family is. So, queerness brought family in really powerful, magical ways of connecting with people who care and see me. Queer family is way better than biological family...I showed up to Santa Fe just kind of like deer in this ex communication process, knowing nothing about new Mexico, and my first three roommates were all queer, and it was still a journey for me, coming out, and it still is. My coming out gender wise is a more recent part of my coming out experience.. But coming from like rural small town Mormon Idaho, I was like New Mexico is fucking gay as hell, everyone's gay, and everyone's really excited and so supportive, and it was really a sanctuary experience" - Ben

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abq / nm / 2022