Are Latinos Anti-Gay?

By David M. Perez on 05/18/2012 @ 07:00 PM

Tags: LGBT

Are Latinos Anti-Gay?

The unequivocal answer is no! Over 83 percent of Latinos support housing and employment non-discrimination protections for gay and lesbian people. Is this a new trend? The answer again is no! Looking at the nation’s leading Latino civil rights organizations as a barometer for pro-LGBT support shows significant national support for more than five years.

In 2006, the nation’s oldest and largest Latino civil rights membership organization, the League of United Latin American Citizens, founded its first LGBT council in Dallas, Texas. Next, representatives from LULAC’s 900 councils from across the United States and Puerto Rico passed resolutions in 2008 and 2009 at the LULAC National Assembly to sup- port equal treatment of LGBT brothers and sisters in the military and the workplace.

In 2011, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund featured Russell Roybal of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force at their annual Latino State of the Union in Washington, D.C. In June 2011, LULAC joined the Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality to co-release a fact sheet about Latino transgender discrimina- tion, which was featured at the LULAC National Convention among a week-long track of LGBT workshops for 30 LGBT Latino leaders from Unid@s.

In April 2012, National Council of La Raza (NCLR) co-released research with the Social Science Research Solutions debunking the widespread myth that Latinos are less accepting of the LGBT community than the general public. Several recent studies have demonstrated that over 70 percent of Latinos support either marriage recognition for gay and lesbian couples and support school policies to prevent harassment and bullying of students who are gay or perceived to be gay.

What are the next steps? Latino civil rights advocates, LGBT human rights advocates and those of us working at the intersection of these identities as LGBT Latinos must work collectively to continually educate our sisters and brothers that familia es familia and we deserve equal rights for all. We must join forces to turn these positive public percep- tions into political power and equality at the ballot box through innova- tive partnerships with Latino organizations, LGBT organizations and LGBT Latino organizations. Through this process we must also commit to building the capacity of Latino LGBT organizations so that we build our movement as we advance our collective cause of equality for all.

President Obama's remarks on May 9th have brought marriage equality to the forefront of public debate. Let's continue in LULAC's tradition of fostering positive dialogue between LGBT and Latino community advocates, who have a common goal: full equality.

Join me today to commit to using May to finding a local Latino organization or business to partner with you to celebrate LGBT Pride Month in June. In Washington, DC, the Latino GLBT History Project partnered with radio El Zol 107.9fm to broadcast Spanish language LGBT tolerance PSAs during the week leading up to the Capital Pride Parade in Washington, DC. I challenge you to ask your local Spanish language radio station to make a similar commitment. You never know what will happen until you ask… ¡Sí, se puede!

Written by:
David M. Pérez
Director of Development
League of United Latin American Citizens

David M. Pérez
Latino GLBT History Project


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