Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2022-06-08
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Columnist Esther J. Cepeda on coming out, writing career
by Carrie Maxwell, Windy City Times
2019-07-31

This article shared 4335 times since Wed Jul 31, 2019
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


When Washington Post Writers Group columnist Esther J. Cepeda recently came out as queer in one of her pieces, "Mental Health Needs of LGTBQIA+ go beyond Pride month," they joined a small number of prominent Latinx LGBTQ people in the United States.

"Coming out in this way was not about me at all," said Cepeda ( who also identifies as non-binary and gender non-conforming ). "If I was going to talk about young people who have mental health issues, I wanted the public to know I have experienced one tiny little slice of what they are going through. I am a whole adult with lots of resources and I am having trouble in the same situation."

Cepeda explained that the therapist they originally sought out through their health insurance carrier list of doctors earlier this year was not a good fit. They said the therapist acted in an imperious manner and did not understand the issues LGBTQ people like them self face in the wider world.

"She questioned why I was in a relationship with a transgender woman and asked why I did not find a cisgender woman to date—and also suggested I go to an orgy," said Cepeda.

"I felt like she looked down on me and that included the way I was exploring my sexuality, which she disapproved of.

"My girlfriend, Karoliina, also experienced roadblocks during the initial stages of her transition because her first therapist did not have proper training around transgender people and their issues and this is a real problem in the medical profession."

Karoliina ( Cepeda requested that her last name be omitted ) has been in Cepeda's life for the past five months. Cepeda has also been married to their husband John for 22 years, and the couple has two sons—ages 18 and 20. Due to Cepeda's relationship status, they also identify as pansexual and polyamorous.

Cepeda said they came out to John years before they got married and he accepted it immediately. Ahead of Cepeda's public coming out; they told their sons, parents, editors and closest friends to varying degrees of acceptance.

Depression and anxiety has been a part of Cepeda's life since they were a child and that has resulted in off and on bouts of insomnia.

"When I found a new doctor a few years ago, he put me on the proper medication and everything clicked," said Cepeda. "I finally realized that I deserved to be happy and this included exploring these other parts of myself for the first time. I talked with my husband about it and he said go ahead. My son's are starting to trust that this will not break up our family but my parents are still having a hard time accepting my girlfriend. My editors are totally supportive and only one out of ten people have criticized me for publicizing my identity."

Cepeda is the only child of an Ecuadorian father and Mexican mother. They were born in Chicago and grew up a mile from Wrigley Field in what was then a working-class neighborhood and graduated from Lane Tech High School. Cepeda explained at first their family was surrounded by white people; however, over time the neighborhood became a multicultural oasis where people supported each other. They grew up in an extremely strict, conservative and traditionalist household where the expectations were to be a submissive girly-girl and have a Quinceañera when you turn 15.

"When my mother went to Mexico, she bought me hard shiny shoes and frilly pastel dresses. I was disgusted by all of it because I wanted to dress like Billy Idol, be a boy and hang out with other boys—and that caused a real rift with her," said Cepeda. "I have a ton of Legos that I play with because I was not allowed to have them as a child. They were for boys according to my parents and my mother was even concerned with me riding a bike because it was not a girly activity."

Cepeda said they were very aware of their sexual attraction to people of both genders when they were really young but their culture frowned upon anything outside of the gender binary. They explained that although they feel they have a "man brain" they also identify with their womanhood because they have had children.

Although Cepeda's parents wanted them to go to a local college and live at home, they went to Southern Illinois University ( SIU ) for a journalism/advertising degree. This was possible since Cepeda's boyfriend at the time was going there and according to their parents, "he could watch over me." Cepeda explained that going away to college gave them the license to explore their identity—and it was an eye-opening experience to live in a rural area and meet people who grew up on farms.

"When I came back to Chicago, I was already engaged to my now-husband, who grew up in southern Illinois and also went to SIU," said Cepeda. "We got married and lived on the North Side of Chicago until we had our first child. Then we moved to Lake County when my husband's company relocated there and have been there for 18 years."

Cepeda has spent the majority of their career as a journalist and was previously a Sun-Times columnist who wrote about sports and politics, and penned op-ed columns. They also created a marketing and communications consulting company EeJayCee, Inc. and is a full-time ESL ( English as a Second Language ) and ELL ( English Language Learner ) teacher for a northern suburban school district outside of their writing career.

The Washington Post Writers Group syndicates Cepeda's columns to newspapers across the country and also posts a small amount of them to their website. Cepeda explained that they are one of only two Latinx writers in the group. They said there is an underrepresentation of Latinx people in the media and that has to change because their voices are vital to the national discourse. Cepeda told Windy City Times they have been writing about the Latinx LGBTQ community since 2006 and "will continue to do so with more authority now that I have come out."

After nearly seven years of being absent from the pages of either of Chicago's main newspapers, Cepeda's column can now be read in the Chicago Tribune,

Since coming out publicly, Cepeda attended their first-ever Pride Parade and marched with Equality Illinois and the GenderCool Project, which they have written about in the past.

"The loving response from the crowd was something I have never felt before," said Cepeda. "I am close to one of the GenderCool Project founders, Jen Grosshandler, and just met another founder, Gearah Goldstein, at the parade. I love their mission and think it is really important to make transgender teens feel like they are well represented in society, not as victims, but as empowered young people who are going to change the world."

Cepeda added they are also looking forward to cheering on Karoliina when she plays on her LGBTQ hockey league team and exploring other ways to get involved with the LGBTQ community.

Another thing Cepeda likes to do is attend creative community-focused conventions. Recently, they attended the MaxFunCon podcast convention in California with their husband.

"In one of his classes, he did a whole stand-up routine that was all about being polyamorous and having a transgender person in his life," said Cepeda. "He was pretty pleased with how well it was received."

See www.estherjcepeda.com/ .


This article shared 4335 times since Wed Jul 31, 2019
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Actress Anne Heche declared brain-dead at age 53
2022-08-13
Anne Heche—the actress who starred in a string of high-profile late '90s movies including Six Days Seven Nights, Donnie Brasco and Wag the Dog as well as Emmy-winning TV shows such as Men in Trees and ...


Gay News

StoryStudio Chicago's LGBTQ+ nonfiction writing class starting Aug. 17
2022-08-11
StoryStudio Chicago is offering a unique writing class titled "June Is Not Enough: An LGBTQ+ Nonfiction Writing Class." The idea behind the class is to promote and foster the work of LGBTQ+ people. Writers who register ...


Gay News

Journalist Chuck Colbert passes away at 67
2022-08-08
Journalist Charles "Chuck" R. Colbert—who had written for several LGBTQ+ publications, including Windy City Times—passed away June 30. He was 67. He was a freelance journalist based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, according to his biography on ...


Gay News

BOOKS Inside Sinkhole, a darkly comic coming-of-age fiction
2022-08-06
Davida G. Breier's debut book, Sinkhole, takes readers on a trip to rural Florida in the 1980s. Amidst golf courses, mobile homes and alligators, some things on the agenda: friendship, identity, sexuality, grief and murder. Breier ...


Gay News

Utah school district removes LGBTQ+ books from libraries
2022-08-02
A Utah school district removed 52 books from its library shelves due to parent complaints mainly concerning LGBTQ+-focused material, LGBTQ Nation noted. A spokesperson for Alpine School District tells The Salt Lake Tribune that the district ...


Gay News

Show about trans+ women models to debut Aug. 5 on Here TV
2022-07-29
The Here TV docuseries Road to the Runway—which focuses on trans+ women models—will debut Friday, Aug. 5. The series profiles the 20 hopefuls competing in this year's annual Slay Model search. Cameras follow the women to ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Miami textbooks, Lia Thomas, Florida churches, Key West figure dies
2022-07-24
Miami-Dade County students could go months without sex-education books after school board members, by a five-to-four vote, rejected two proposed textbooks over concerns they violate the state's Parental Rights in Education bill, known by opponents as ...


Gay News

Local non-binary poet wins Stories Matter Scholarship
2022-07-21
The Stories Matter Foundation and StoryStudio Chicago have awarded the annual $1,500 Dana Wood Chaney Writers Fund tuition grant to local non-binary poet A. Ng Pavel. The scholarship is awarded each year to a writer working ...


Gay News

GLAAD releases 2022 Social Media Safety Index
2022-07-14
GLAAD has released its 2022 Social Media Safety Index (SMSI). The SMSI provides recommendations for the industry at large and reports on LGBTQ user safety across the five major social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube ...


Gay News

Fan Expo Chicago 2022 celebrates 50 years of comic conventions
2022-07-11
Throwing a successful comic-book conference comes with great responsibility. Just ask any Spider-Man you might run into at the Fan Expos located around the country. The newly titled Fan Expo Chicago swung into Donald E. Stephens ...


Gay News

John Pennycuff's memorial library at Unity Park is graffitied
2022-07-10
The John Pennycuff Little Library, at Chicago's Unity Park, was recently sprayed with graffiti. Robert Castillo, Pennycuff's surviving husband, stated on Facebook that some tried to cover the original tagging with their own rainbow-hued graffiti. ...


Gay News

British PM Boris Johnson deals with multiple resignations
2022-07-06
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson's leadership is hanging by a thread after the resignations of two of his most high-profile ministers and several other top officials and ministerial aides in the last 24 hours, CNBC reported. ...


Gay News

How Coming Out in the 1970s Helped Me Make Brave, Life-changing Decisions
2022-06-25
By Edith Forbes, author of Tracking A Shadow: My Lived Experiment With MS - As a child growing up in Wyoming in the 1960's, I did not know any actual person who was gay. I knew exactly one fact about gay people, a fact universally accepted but never talked about: Gay people were strange. Even ...


Gay News

Five Worth Finding: WNDR Museum, Prince, queer books, flowers
2022-06-16
— WNDR Museum's Pride event "Crafting with Queens": The West Loop museum is usually entertainment and, um, wondrous enough on its own—but during Pride Month, WNDR is queering things up with "Crafting with Queens" on Tuesday, ...


Gay News

Northwestern University Libraries and Center for Applied Transgender Studies launch trans studies journal
2022-06-16
Northwestern University Libraries (NUL) and the Center for Applied Transgender Studies (CATS) are now publishing the Bulletin of Applied Transgender Studies. The Bulletin of Applied Transgender Studies (BATS)—the first journal ...


 



Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 

Sponsor


Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.