Saturday, July 20, 2024

Progress for LGBT Latinos, But More to Be Done

Pride Flag

June is Pride month and an estimated 1.4 million Latinos identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender in the United States according to a 2013 study from the William’s Institute at UCLA. Heribto Sanchez Soto, Executive Director of New York’s Latino Pride Center, points out that it is important to recognize the significant progress that has been made within the Latino community while also seeing the unique challenges that LGBT Latinos face in a culture dominated by the family unit and machoism.

What is overlooked is the centrality of the family to Latinos. Many LGBT organizations that provide shelter and services to LGBT youth operate from a standpoint of providing safe haven away from the family unit. Latinos instead are lacking in ways to broach the subject of homosexuality to those closest to them in a way that allows them to be open and still preserve a productive family dynamic.

With the help of increasingly visible LGBT Latino celebrities and TV characters and personalities, there is a growing acceptance in the Latino culture.

Smaller subgroups within the LGBT community, like Latinos, can sometimes feel left out of the larger discussion on gay rights. Sanchez Soto notes that there appears to be a link between socio-economic status and the level of interest by Latinos in issues like marriage equality. The more affluent Latinos are the more they support the cause of marriage equality.

“The possibility of marriage gives them more ownership of a stable future and long-term relationships,” said Louie Ortiz-Fonseco of Los Gran Varones. “Young gay Latinos are not limited like the older generations, and I celebrate them for that.”

NBC News Latino