Jason Santos: sharing his story and celebrating LGBTQ+ pride

A+photo+of+Kinesiology+third-year+student+Jason+Santos.

Courtesy of Jason Santos

A photo of Kinesiology third-year student Jason Santos.

by Aleah Jarin , Senior Staff Writer

Kinesiology third-year Jason Santos, (he/him), woke up one morning ready to step into his true, authentic self on March 6, 2016. Santos didn’t know what clicked in his mind or heart that day, but all he knew was, “I’m just ready to be myself.” 

Santos, a member of the LGBTQ+ community who identifies as a gay male, experienced challenges leading up to the moment he came out. From a young age Santos knew of his true identity, however, growing up in a military and religious household with Filipino parents led him to suppress and hide his feelings. 

“It’s even more magnified because of the Filipino culture as they have this old, traditional mindset of, ‘Oh your son can’t be gay, it’s just not supposed to be that way,’” Santos said. 

Santos didn’t fully come to terms with his identity until his first year of college when he and his family moved from Florida to California. In college, Santos began to be around more open-minded and loving people, similar to him, causing him to open up and accept his true identity.

“I took it little by little, I told my friends and it was so nerve-wracking because they’re my best friends,” Santos said. “Deep in my mind I was like, ‘No matter what they’re still going to love you because they probably know,’ and it’s funny because when I did tell them, that’s exactly what happened. They knew, but they were just waiting for me and wanted to respect my space.” 

The following year, in 2017, Santos’ “Ate” or older sister, came up to him at a family wedding to address how she and all his cousins already knew of his identity. 

“She winked at me and said, ‘Just know, we all know. We’re just waiting for you,’ and so that sparked me to tell my extended family,” Santos said.

Santos’ cousins and friends know him best, however, he’s still trying to get to a point where he can communicate his true feelings to his parents.

“When it comes to my parents it’s definitely still something that’s hard for me. They’re in denial about it because they grew up in such a different life back in the Philippines…but I feel like when I graduate next year I’ll tell them straight up and whatever happens, happens,” Santos said. 

However, Santos isn’t letting this challenge with his parents stand in his way. He continues to radiate confidence and positive energy, which is something that developed from the way he was treated in high school. 

“I got to grow up pretty much all over the world being in a military household, but I basically spent all of high school in Florida which is a very conservative state. I had a lot of friends, but every now and then you would run into small-minded people in the hallways or class who would say remarks here and there,” Santos said. 

“I guess that’s what fueled me to be more confident with myself because if they’re so bothered with how I am, why should I let that affect me?” Santos said. “I don’t want these hateful, close-minded people to win. I want to be truly myself in every aspect and as long as I’m spreading positivity around me, that’s all that should matter.” 

As for how Santos celebrates his identity, he takes a lot of pride in celebrating Pride Month and not hiding who he is. 

“I wish Pride Month could be something year-round, basically just celebrating who you are as a person,” Santos said. 

He also takes a lot of inspiration from singer and LGBTQ+ ally Ariana Grande. 

“I see how outspoken she is and how she’ll go to rallies to support her brother, friends and family,” Santos said. “Seeing her be so outspoken and using her voice when she knows she has such a big platform, and being able to broadcast that to people who might not understand [the LGBTQ+ community] really inspires me,” Santos said. 

Santos also recognizes the resources San Diego State provides for its LGBTQ+ students. Since transferring to SDSU in fall 2020, and having to take classes virtually, Santos hasn’t been able to experience SDSU’s campus life in full.

Though Santos hopes to become more involved with organizations when classes return in person for the fall 2021 semester. 

“I’m really happy SDSU has these resources for us, and I definitely want to be a part of that…it’s pretty amazing that our university has options like that for a really diverse community,” Santos said. 

Being able to express yourself in any way that you want, having no limits and not conforming to traditional gender roles are aspects Santos loves most about the LGBTQ+ community. “The community does a great job of just wanting to see you be happy,” Santos said. 

Santos continues to bring a smile to people’s faces, and his bubbly personality wherever he goes.

“I would’ve told younger Jason, it’s okay. Just be yourself, you shouldn’t have to hide because everything’s gonna be alright.” 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email