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Shiloh Jolie-Pitt is a lesbian?

One of the things I love most about being a Tía is sitting down with my nieces and nephews for one-on-one conversations. They love to talk to me because I listen to them and ask questions with the same undivided attention I’d give any adult.  I believe it helps them to know that their thoughts and ideas are important and should be valued. I also believe that it teaches them how to express themselves.

My 10 year old nephew and I were having one of those conversations just last week.  He was explaining the game he had made up, while I listened intently.   Out of nowhere, as if he just had a random thought (so much like his aunt), he said, “Hey Titi, did you know Justin Bieber is gay?”  I was taken aback and had to take a second to regroup before replying in the same conversational tone, “Hmm…that’s interesting.  What makes you say that?” “The kids at school say that he’s singing Baby, Baby to a boy.”  He paused and got a quizzical look on his face as if he was considering something and then said, “Yeah, but it could be to a girl, right Titi? Or a boy,” very definitively as if to say, whatever, doesn’t matter either way.

I was so proud of him at that moment for not caring whether Justin liked boys or girls.  Now, I don’t know if that means he’s aware of the meaning  and open to it, or he just doesn’t know and therefore doesn’t care.  All I knew at that moment was that we as a family were doing a good job in helping our children maintain their sense of innocence and openness to the world.

A few days later I read an article about a blog post that had gone viral.  The post was the blogger’s very eloquent and oh-so-on-point response to other’s reaction at her five year old son’s decision to wear a ‘girl’s’ costume for Halloween.

It immediately made me think of all the blogs and tabloids I’ve seen discussing Brangelina’s decision to allow little Shiloh to wear ‘boy’s’ clothes.  Now I’ve never been one to swoon at the sight of Brad Pitt and was Team Anniston all the way, so it’s difficult for me to admit that I respect them in this regard, but I do.

Forget their celebrity, they are parents, who just like the mother of the five year old, are allowing their child to express herself and find her own identity, something that isn’t definitive in childhood.

Might Shiloh and this little boy grow up to be lesbian and gay respectively?  Sure, just like that little girl in dresses and bows and that boy dressed as a police man for Halloween may.  The point is that it’s what they will have to deal with as adults when their sexual preferences matter [to them]. For now, let’s stop giving children labels sewn from antiquated gender identities and allow them to be and explore who they will be without fears and boundaries.

About Adriana Villavicencio

Dr. Adriana Villavicencio is the youngest child of Ecuadorian immigrants. She has moved 29 times in her life, taking her on a journey from California to Bangalore, India, and New York City, where she recently earned a Ph.D. in Education Leadership and works as a Research Associate at New York University. An avid traveler, Adriana has collected experiences in four different continents and 16 different countries. But as a former high school English teacher, some of her fondest memories are those of her brilliant and brilliantly funny students in Brooklyn and Oakland. Adriana has contributed to several publications including the Daily News and, and is a managing editor for the Journal of Equity in Education. She earned a B.A. in English and an M.A. in English Education at Columbia University, and currently serves on the board of Columbia’s Latino Alumni Association (LAACU). She enjoys scary movies with red vines, Sauvignon Blanc, and her Maltese dog, Napoleon.

To learn more about Adriana’s education consulting company, please visit

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.


  1. Cesar Vargas says:

    Awesome piece Libs!

  2. Write on! Love your message, Libby. My cousin plays with dinosaurs and prefers them over dolls. Who cares? Let them be!

  3. Jesus Suarez says:

    What a WONDERFUL article!!

    Thank you Libby for writing and posting this and Yes you have earned the Tia/Tio Seal of approval. I too am a Tio{Many, Many times over…we’re a big Family..LOL} and as The “Gay ” Tio I have the blessing of being able to communicate ideas with My nieces and nephews in a way that alot of times is very hard for their very own Parents to be able to.

    As The great Tia that you are I am sure that many times you have to put yourself in a conversation that may be hard for your brothers or sisters to be able to express because of their spouses or their spouses extended family…Not to even mention the very family that we come from. I have been honored several times to have conversations such as that one and many which were much more difficult, yet I am very glad to be the one there for My nieces and nephews to bounce them off of even if they decide later not to follow my advice. At the very least they had an ear to hear them and they always know that the door will be open to them as they learn to express themselves and evolve in to the adults that they will one day be. I only desire that one day they too be Great Tia’s and Tio’s :).Again thank you Libby this post really touched me and gave me one more reason to be very happy and proud of Being Latino!!

    Mil Gracias……

  4. great piece! when mi sobrina was about 1, and had very little hair, people would assume she was a boy cause she wasnät wearing pink or have bows in her few strands of hair – and then look at me or her parents as if there was something wrong with us for not making it obvious to everyone that she was a girl! smh

    btw – she ONLY wears pink now, and dresses, she’s been totally indoctrinated by Disney lol

  5. k. Cedano says:

    Awesome Libs!

    I was reading the same post about the mom defending her son’s halloween costume.. She’s completely right!!

    I seriusly wonder when others will be able to lead their lives the way they feel fits best!!!! LIVE AND LET LIVE PEOPLE!!!

  6. I love this piece because as a gay tio, I too am sometimes left to help my nephew and nieces understand the world in which we live in. I think that exposing them to the world and situations that are different can help them normalize it in their view. They have met my partner and they call him tio. They love him just as much and it’s normal that we hold hands or kiss or sleep in the same bed. It’s normal that we live together and do everything that their parents do. I think that by exposing them and showing them that we are just like their parents, they can see it as something very casual and not make a big deal about it. Of course, there is always going to be some resistance (from other relatives) but children learn to be bigots, racists, homophobes from their surroundings and if we can teach them early on that none of those things are acceptable then we can help them learn to live a life free of prejudice.

  7. Eileen Rivera-de la Hoz says:

    I am so glad that we were raised to accept people for who they are. When my cousins came out, there were no issues. My cousin’s niece called her Titi Tio when she was small.

  8. Nicolle A. Morales Kern says:

    very well said!!!

  9. This was a great piece Libby. I fear that as a whole nation, we have taken a step back regarding tolerance. Not to say that hate all just disappeared in the 90s etc.. but there was a more positive theme being extolled regarding acceptance of others be it of gender, race, ethicity…. It was being said that the “old days of prejudice” were behind us. I realize that sadly, there were still numerous hate crimes going on, but it seemed like progress was being made too. There just seems to be a re-opening of hateful speech, hateful rhetoric and practices, showing that maybe not as much progress was made, as was thought to be. We have to keep educating the young, and accepting them for who they are. There is our key of real progress toward future gains.


  1. […] they had done in choosing a mayoral candidate as it was much more than many adults I know. But these types of conversations are par for the course during my time with them. To a certain extent, I treat them like intelligent […]

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