Letters from a Lesbian June 2014
What do we need?
You may be looking at the LGBT community and wondering what separates us. What makes us different? The answer may surprise you.
The answer is nothing.
We are all human. My DNA and your DNA are ninety nine per cent the same. We share the same hopes, losses, joys, afflictions, and successes in life. We are who you are. We want what you want. We need what you need.
What do we need? Let’s take a look.
The basics: food, clothing, shelter. This is all pretty self-explanatory. Although this seems rudimentary, there is a huge issue with homelessness in LGBT youth. Forty per cent of homeless youth are LGBTs who have been disowned and thrown out of their homes. This is a huge issue and one that desperately needs to be addressed. As a society, we cannot accept this; we need to change. Our children deserve to have their basic needs met. We need to make that happen.
The Middle: Social Acceptance. This may seem unnecessary, but let me ask you some questions. When was the last time you were denied a job because of something over which you had no control (skin color, gender, etc.)?. Many of us have faced prejudice as Latinos/as. We understand job discrimination. Imagine how much worse it is for the LGBT community. We cannot control our skin color, nor can we control our orientation/identification. We can be fired from jobs simply because of who or what we are. We do not have equal rights. We are treated as lesser citizens losing jobs, homes, money, spouses and families all because of one tiny facet of who we are. I’m not asking for a monument to be built celebrating the LGBT community. I just want us all to be treated as equal people.
Top concerns: Safety. Last, but certainly not lest. Safety is a tremendous issue for us. The number of deaths (suicide, murder, murder secondary to bashings, etc.) that our community face(s)is/are extraordinary. Safety doesn’t even need to mean a matter of life and death. Safety can simply refer to not being harassed by your neighbors; not turned away for goods and services by a local vendor simply for how you identify yourself. Safety is tremendously important, and tremendously lacking for the LGBT community.
The reality is, all of our needs as human beings are the same. The greater issue is the fact that not every person has all of their needs being met. We, as a culture, and as a society, need to change and adapt so that we can ensure better treatment of all people.
There are a few trailblazers out there, and we can join in their ranks in order to better help all people. One such trail blazer is Dr. Alison Cerezo. Dr. Cerezo is on the leadership council for the National Latina/o Psychological Association and is also currently an early career leadership fellow for them. She is currently conducting a study for immigrant Hispanic LGBTs in order to better address our needs. Her goal is to ensure that all Hispanic LGBTs have their needs met. Together, we can create some wonderful, positive social change.
We all have the same human needs and experiences. It is time that the Hispanic community and the LGBT community come together and create better lives for us all.
For more information on Dr. Cerezo and her work, please visit https://sfsu.co1.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_7U743Lgqq9CyGnX
Live life in your own special way,