• September 25th, 2021
  • Saturday, 02:36:02 PM

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My Parents Gave Me My Wings


There’s a stigma that Latinx and Hispanic communities are hush-hush about sex, and are especially hush-hush about abortion. But I didn’t grow up that way.

My name is Marie Medina and I am a proud Xicana, born and raised in Southern Colorado. My heart lies somewhere between the fields of Pueblo green chile (don’t come at me with your Hatch Valley bullying!) and the high-desert prickly pears of New México. I grew up in a conservative farming community: one stoplight on main street, homecoming parades, and the imprint of chewing-tobacco cans on blue jeans as far as the eye could see.

In my house, The Virgen de Guadalupe’s eyes watched my every move. My parents were both raised Catholic, and although I don’t subscribe to a particular religion, Catholic culture is still a big part of how I identify (free bread and wine people!) I cheekily describe mi familia as “Kennedy Catholic;” all the guilt with half the rules.

My dad took me to my first Planned Parenthood appointment.

I was 15, a self-proclaimed nerd, and to be honest, sex was not even on my radar. A lot of people associate Planned Parenthood with sex – it being the place you go when you want to have sex, or the place to go when having sex caused unintentional results.

Knowing that my life, my Latinx life, was MINE was an incredibly powerful way to be brought up, and as I get older I realize the vitalness of that type of message, specifically within families of Color.

My first visit was an annual wellness exam at the now-closed La Junta health center, 30 miles away.  The next closest was in Pueblo, an hour away from my hometown. With only one doctor in town, access to health care was not readily available. But my parents trusted Planned Parenthood.

Despite my conservative surroundings and my Catholic upbringing, I never knew any other way than to be pro-choice. My parents have been together for more than 40 years, but remained unmarried until their 60s. These self-proclaimed Xicano hippies were in no hurry to live their lives by any particular “rules.” They instilled in their three children a spirit of autonomy, honesty, and empathy. Perhaps they were a product of their generation, a counter-cultural response to their parents’ traditionalism; but however they came to find their moral compass, I would be a lost ship without them and their guidance.

Knowing that my life, my Latinx life, was MINE was an incredibly powerful way to be brought up, and as I get older I realize the vitalness of that type of message, specifically within families of Color.

So often, fathers of Color get depicted as apprehensive of female autonomy, protective of their daughters, and unwilling to brave those awkward topics of conversation. Mothers of Color are pigeon-holed as equally anxious to be radically transparent about reproductive care – fearful of what the world will do to their precious daughters. Frida Kahlo once said: “Pies, ¿para qué los quiero si tengo alas para volar?” “Feet, why would I want them if I have wings to fly?” My parents gave me my wings.

By Marie Medina

Marie Medina is a Development Coordinator for the Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR), one of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains’ closest partners. Please visit colorlatina.org for more information on how to get involved.