Message to LGBTQ+ and the Latinx Community: Keep Communicating
Shared experiences explored at recent discussion.
The Progreso Latino Fund recently convened a group at Gateway Community College to explore the intersection of the LGBTQ and Latinx communities. Gateway's Student Government President, Monica Maldonado co-hosted the event.
Maldonado and three other panelists shared their personal journeys as Latinx and LGBTQ persons. They included Jeremy Cajigas (Lead School Organizer for the Citywide Youth Coalition), JuanCarlos Soto (a community organizer at Planned Parenthood of Southern New England and an artist) and the Reverend Edwin Perez Jr. (who leads a bilingual contemporary worship at the United Church of Christ at United Church on the Green in New Haven). Jesus Morales Sanchez, an organizer with Unidad Latina en Accion and Connecticut Immigrant Rights Alliance, facilitated the event.
A thread connecting the panelists' reflections was the influence of religion and the role of their family's faith in the process of "coming out". Panelists also talked about the importance of community in providing emotional support, and the way community was seen as a "chosen family" in their lives, and the lives of many other LGBTQ individuals.
Perez Jr. believes the time is now for people in the Hispanic community come together and communicate.
"It is of great urgency that the Latino(a) population open themselves up to considerately and respectfully listen to the Latinx LGBTQ experience, being that the Latino community is so much more diverse now and equally worthy.
"LGBTQ issues among Latinos are still seen as taboo, and it can be difficult to even have a dialogue about them. It may seem like a long way for change, but we should remain open to having conversations about our diversity as Latinxs. You don't have to think the same to walk together, but togetherness is the only place we may find our strength to achieve equity."
Did You Know?
More than one in five Latino millennials identify as LGBTQ? Source:GenForward Survey Project
For LGBTQIA+ resources in Greater New Haven, please visit the New Haven Pride Center.
This story is part of the Inspiration Monday story series produced by The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven.