LGBT Youth on Why the First-Ever latino Institute is Important

Posted on 01/25/2013 @ 10:08 AM

My name is Ivan Aguilar. I am 21 years old and I live in Maryland. As someone who is a youth and who works with youth, I’m tremendously excited to attend Creating Change and the first-ever Latino Institute.

Empoderate Royal Court Dupont Circle, DC Youth Pride 2012

Not only will it be a learning experience that will benefit me greatly, but it will definitely have an impact on the youth I work with. As Mr. Empodérate 2012-13 (Mr. Empower Yourself), I work as an HIV prevention educator for gay and transgender youth at the Clínica del Pueblo Youth Center in Washington, DC. Many of us, including myself, are from communities where accessing quality education, jobs and health services is an incredible obstacle. And although I, like so many other LGBT Latinos, have enormous amounts of love and support from our families and friends, many still face rejection for our sexual orientation or gender identity.This is why the Latino Institute is important to me. There are many advocates like myself around the country—in urban and rural areas--doing all we can with limited resources to create a better life for LGBT Latinos/as and our families, and this Institute will help take our work to the next level.

I want to be a better advocate and a better mentor to the LGBT youth I work with; and my hope is that they pay it forward so that we can create a larger community of advocates working together to make a difference. After the Latino Institute, I will surely be better equipped to do that than ever before.

For more information on the Latino Institute at Creating Change, please visit the fully bilingual Institute website. Follow the conversation using hashtag #CC13.

Ivan Aguilar is a Maryland-based youth advocate who is a volunteer for the Latino LGBT History Project and is on the DC Latino Pride planning committee.

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