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Faceless doll. A reflection of my time at the Affirmation Dominican Republic Conference.


by Alejandro Alcántara

August 30, 2023

A few days ago, I had the opportunity to visit Santo Domingo to attend the Affirmation conference in the Dominican Republic. I was very excited to get to know this beautiful country and meet the Dominican members since, up until this point, I only knew them through our video connections on my cell phone. As I traveled on the plane, I reflected on how much Affirmation has blessed me and compared these feelings to life before I arrived at my first conference at Affirmation Mexico.

Upon arriving at the Americas Airport, I found a beautiful painting that welcomes you to the island. It depicted the  Dominican Republic’s traditional doll with its unique characteristics-   that is, the doll has no face representative of the miscegenation of the Dominican people. After speaking with Melvin de Aza,  a local Affirmation leader, he told me that the doll without a face expresses the emotions of  Dominican people, many of whom feel they have a complex and incomplete identity defined by the multiple mixture of races and cultures they have to embrace as a country and a people.

For a long time, I felt like a doll without a face since, for so long,  I thought I did not have an identity. I had no identity when I had to hide my true feelings; I had no identity when I had to pretend in front of my family, friends, and church for fear of being rejected, hiding my true self from everyone. In my family and in my church, I was taught that being gay was not acceptable, and so little by little, I lost my authenticity to the point that I did not want to exist. As I listened to Melvin telling me about these dolls, many memories came flooding back, like when I had to hide my true identity when my dad asked me if I already had a girlfriend. I had lied and said yes, or when the leaders of my ward insisted that I  go out with girls, and I said that I would obey this request from my bishop.

Fortunately, Affirmation came into my life and helped me to discover my true self and find the courage to draw my face. Since connecting with the Affirmation community, I have felt more authentic, and I have continued to build my identity; I have come to the understanding that I am a unique Child of God and that He loves and values my individuality. The opportunity to visit the members in the Dominican Republic showed me once again that these words are valid, and as Matt Price, Founding member of Affirmation, once stated: “Affirmation has a place in Heavenly Father’s Plan and that the Holy Spirit is with us, as individuals and as a group of his children, and that guides us in what we are trying to achieve.”

I am very proud to be a member of Affirmation because this organization really changed my life. It has given me friends in different parts of the world. When I listen to their stories, regardless of their nationality, I realize they are similar to mine. Affirmation is indeed a refuge where we can all be authentic. It is a refuge where we can show our faces without fearing rejection.

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