A problem that has affected the Latino community in my own personal experience is inequality for the LGBTQ community. I feel that the LGBTQ community is seen as gross, dirty or different by people who can’t or won’t understand our lifestyle. Homosexuals have been hated by many for years; targeted by the Nazis during the Holocaust and also by the Ku Klux Klan. Gays are believed to be hated by God or a disgrace to humans, but the truth is gays can be some of the most religious, kind, loving, and friendly people you can meet.
I see no reason two men or two women can’t get married or have kids. We are human like the rest of the world. We are not evil or a sin. We’re not controlled by evil. God created us as homosexuals so why would he hate us if he planned it that way. We don’t look for fights or anything. We just wish to live our lives happily. Homosexuality has been around for thousands of years. The Spanish Conquerors tried subjecting the natives of the new world out of fear of homosexuality. The human mind has always been afraid of what it doesn’t understand, but there is no more reason to fear us than yourself.
Hate crimes are committed against us to keep us afraid and unhappy. For example, in Portland, Texas, on June 23, 2012, Mary Kristene Chapa and Mollie Olgin were found with gunshot wounds to their heads. Mollie did not survive the attack and Kristene was put in the hospital. Ricardo Muñiz is a gay man that was beaten, and when he went to report was threatened with deportation due to his immigration status. These are just a few examples of hate crimes and discrimination against homosexuals. Some teenage homosexuals are also bullied and as a result some have committed suicide. All these crimes against gay people have aired on TV and the internet with plenty of talk about helping these children and adults. Yet, nothing has seriously been done to change our communities.
An uncle of mine, who is gay, has experienced acceptance and discrimination from different classes. His personal experience has been that lower class families and people are more open to accept others. He says that the middle classes are much less accepting than the less fortunate. I’ve heard and seen some Hispanic families taking their family members’ coming out stories quite harsh. Some families went as far as booting them out of the house, others outright disowning them. This is wrong for any family, but Latinos are all about family. To see, hear, and even experience this makes me think, “Will this happen in my family?” It’s very scary to lose family, especially just because you don’t like someone’s lifestyle.
My uncle mentioned that gay Latinos had to rely on one another for support in his experience. I have seen this as well, mainly when I felt my own family couldn’t understand or help me. When I came out I had it fairly easy because my uncle is gay, and my friends and school accepted me for who I am.
I also have a great support system. If I come across an incident of discrimination my good friend is always there. She is Latina and a lesbian and her family accepted her. Other people don’t have it as easy. Another friend of mine came out and her mother didn’t agree with it but in the end accepted it, her father on the other hand didn’t want to deal with her at all. Many homosexuals have hardships like this, afraid of “coming out of the closet” due to family, friends, and school mates not accepting their lifestyle.
Being a Latino and Homosexual is hard when there are people that believe it’s a sin. A lot of “old school” Latinos are less open. Sometimes even the people closest to you can make jokes and comments about gays that are offensive when they think they are just making a harmless joke. Being people of color can also make us doubly targeted.
I wish to aim in the right direction and help LGBT programs expand and get the word out that there are safe places for Latino gays and their supporters. If we can make the cities and towns safer places for gays to come out, our homes will already be working towards a more peaceful world for everyone. I envision a place where we can all live with our own families and have jobs we want without worrying about hatred.