While his own coming out story was hastened and forcibly taken from him, Alex Diaz is reclaiming his truth and telling it as it is, this time on his own terms, as it should have been.
It is nothing out of the ordinary, but here I am, huddled in the dark and cold of my room, wiping the wash of tears that don’t want to seem to stop from falling. Smearing my face with all the possible emotions to feel this late at night, it is but a little collateral for the heartwarming moments of the many coming out videos that my YouTube algorithm deemed necessary for me to consume. Whether it be to parents, a little brother, or a close friend, everything feels consistent: the trepidation, the clumsy stumbling of words, and the shifting body temperatures. This being published on the internet, it usually ends well, with long, tight, and warm hugs, assurances of unconditional love, and of course, even more tears. I remember the first time I ever had to come out, I had done so over the now defunct Yahoo Messenger to one of my dearest mentor and lifelong friend from high school.
“I am gay,” I typed out, each word entered as a new line on the chat box, separated by an ellipsis in between. Now, the rest of the conversation remains to be a blur, but yes, there were tears, an eruption of heart and hug emojis, and a lightness I hadn’t felt in a while. This was particularly significant, because with the sincerity, safety, and support I had felt, it set the tone with how I would begin to tell others who I felt needed to know, and most importantly, it helped me settle into this truth and identity I began to fully come to terms with. However, not everyone is as lucky to have this kind of a coming out story.
Coming out is such a personal process, and a lifelong one at that given the expansive, nuanced, and diverse spectrum of gender and sexuality, that there is no right way to do it. Only the person going through it, in a self-defined time and pace, can map out that journey of embracing who they really are and sharing it with others. There is, however, a wrong way, and this happens when people are forced to come out of their meticulously carved out spaces when they are simply not ready to. And this unfortunate reality is something actor Alex Diaz knows all too well.
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The Coming Out Of Alex Diaz
“Honestly, it was never going to happen on my own,” Alex Diaz begins, narrating what has become of what was supposed to be a story of his own writing. “I can only speak for myself as an actor, but in our industry, there are still huge stigmas with being diverse and so many people have been scared into their own version of ‘the closet’ for fear of not having a seat at the table. It’s great to see that the new generation is championing diversity, and that people, not just stars and influencers are emerging from all walks of life to live their truth.”
It isn’t exactly a new occurrence for the LGBTQIA+ community, because whether it be in school, at work, or even at home, queer people have been outed even before, and even if considerable stride have been made in terms of acceptance and visibility, every time this happens is still a dagger in the collective heart of the community, because it is a situation many have a shared experience with.
So, while being prematurely yanked out of the closet in a public space, and in a humiliating way at that, was a shock for Alex Diaz, it robbed him off the opportunity to see his own path of coming to terms with his sexual orientation and gender identity through. And in his candor, he admits that at the time, he wasn’t completely there yet in terms of understanding it for himself. “I had hit such a wall in my life. I felt like I was stuck in this infinite loop of the universe putting me in situations over and over again as the years progressed, the mental and physical ramifications of these getting worse and worse until things reached a fever pitch,” he details. “I felt like I was lying not just to my fans, but most importantly, myself. I was seeking approval for a characters I had no choice but to create in order to pursue something so important to me—my work, my craft.”
There is supposed to be an empowering, if not transformative aspect that trails the life-altering decision of coming out. But in the case of many who are still shamed into hiding their true selves to this day, for whatever reason, they become even less of who they are. “I don’t think I would’ve been here today, talking with you,” reveals Alex Diaz, who compelled by the incident of practically the rest of the world finding out about him being bisexual, was ready to throw in the towel to his passions and just retreat to a life away from the limelight. “To be honest, it was one of the darkest and lowest points of my life. At some point you start to firmly believe that there isn’t a light at the end of the tunnel. I was breaking down before going on set to act––something that brings me so much joy! I was going out, but for all the wrong reasons––to escape this feeling of inadequacy and shame that no one should have to feel. And that depression and that feeling of being trapped in a life you willingly entered into is enough to make anyone feel like it’s just not worth it.”
In this mindset of being ready to start over and find his peace, Alex Diaz was finally able to process what had transpired, especially on social media, and start walking the path of his coming out. Away from the noise, the judgment, and the uncertainty, here he was, finding some sort of clarity. It’s crazy because all of my bad habits and escapist tendencies––for lack of a better term––died with my old self. I kind of feel like I’m finally experiencing reality for the first time again and it’s really great,” he says. “With all this, I learned to trust myself and my intuition and to not let other people put fear in me for being me. I learned to never let any person ever put me in any kind of closet ever again, because that sh*t is toxic, that suppression. That wound, if left unchecked, it festers, it infects the rest of your thoughts, your life and until you address the wound and heal from it. You will continue to sell yourself short and make decisions that don’t represent the love that you’re looking for––that love has to be with yourself.”
While the reality was that if he hadn’t been outed, Alex Diaz would not have come out at all, and whether or not it was what his soul would have wanted, that was a decision he was prepared to live with. However, today, he is living his honest to goodness authentic self, discovering, learning, and understanding more along the way.
Write Your Story
“There are people in the world going through way worse things than I went through,” says Alex Diaz, well aware of his priviliges and good fortune “People are out here dying because of the color of their skin or because of who they love or because of the choices they’ve made for their body, which are no one’s business.” This is why, to the best that he can, he is working at being part of efforts and undertakings that propel the queer narrative forward. With shows such as Oh, Mando and My Fantastic Pag-Ibig, where he has played openly queer characters, as well as of new music with a new perspective, Alex Diaz is hoping that this cracks at visibility will open up the conversation in local entertainment more. “The more visible we are on social media, the more we destroy these toxic, old (and boring) norms, the better the world becomes. It becomes a place where EVERYONE has a seat at the table––as it should be and every voice matters, every voice counts.”
For so long, many people have been told they aren’t enough or they aren’t worthy of a place in the world, making them operate out of fear. And just like many strong and spirited souls that have come before him and will come after, Alex Diaz is determined to drive the inherent shame and loneliness that society shoves down the throats of the LGBTQIA+ community, whether it be conscious or not, because let’s admit it, the prejudice still persists to this day. Maybe one day, there will no longer be a need for a coming out story, not that anyone should feel obligated to one. But until gender identity and sexual orientation isn’t bookended by discrimination and violence, the fight continues.
“I can’t sit down and say that my dreams and goals aren’t for me because of who I am, as my dreams are based on my perspective, and not anyone else’s. And yours are for you, too,” says Alex Diaz. “And if privileged people tell you that you can’t sit at the table because of who you are or what you believe in, build your own damn table. Today things are changing, the new generation is embracing diversity and to the older generations––there is still time to do the same and be who you are, because the world needs to see that person.”
If there is anything to pick up from his re-emergence armed by the truth, it’s that no one else has a say in your life but you, and the joy that comes with it is yours for the taking. But in anything, do so as you see fit and in a time that is right by you. So, whenever you feel it best to live your truth and write your own coming out, the world will wait. This is your story to tell. Now, it is time to write (or re-write) it the way you want. Whenever you are ready to share it, we will be waiting on every damn word you worked hard on.
CONTINUE READING: THIS IS YOUR REMINDER THAT PRIDE IS WAY MORE THAN JUST SPLASHING THE RAINBOW ON EVERYTHING ELSE
Photography and Creative direction TRISH SHISHIKURA
Art direction GIAN EDUARD
Production manager MABEL QUIOGUE
Set Design AIDNACE WALSH CLARK
Director of Photography KERBS BALAGTAS
Music JAVIER PIMENTEL
Video Editing WILL CHOI
Fashion and beauty direction, styling KIKI TAN
Custom Garments CHYNNA MAMAWAL ATELIER
Shoes JOCO COMENDADOR
Makeup ANGELINE DELA CRUZ
Hairstyling ALBERT MUYO
Photo Retouching BRUNO OLIMPIO
Shot at Justin Bella Alonte Studio
Special Thanks ON CARE PH, RPR TRANSPORT