By Michelle Garcia
Originally published on Advocate.com May 18 2012 12:04 PM ET
As mixed martial arts fighter Jessica Aguilar gears up to fight the top-seeded female strawweight in the world, she told Sports Illustrated's Loretta Hunt that she has learned to be more open about her bisexuality.
"I don't put it in any titles," said Aguilar, "but I'd say when I've found the right person—whether it's a man or a woman—I'd be happy."
Her highly protective mother did not quite approve. Upon hearing the news, she asked her daughter where she picked up on bisexuality, but Aguilar explained, "you didn't see it or learn it; you felt it." The two haven't talked about her sexual orientation since.
Aguilar kept her sexuality a secret through high school, but after years of fighting on American Top Team, she's out to her team mates. She started fighting in 2006 after a long soul-searching journey across the country with stints as a blood lab technician, a correctional officer, and a telenovela actress. She now lives with her girlfriend of one year.
"It's always been something I had to be very conservative about and it's something I've had to get more comfortable talking about," she said. "If somebody doesn't agree with my choices, with all due respect, I just don't feed into it because that's negative energy. I'm sorry -- this is who I am."