Amor Vida Eng Apr

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Gay Pride, do we have it?
By Jorge Diaz, MSW – jorge-armando@hotmail.com

Gay pride festivals and the whole notion of celebrating our identity, struggles and successes is around the corner; yes, the “gay pride festivals” from LA to NYC to Miami. My question to the readers is, do we truly have gay pride? Do some of us actually celebrate during these times, or are we struggling with past traumas that have impacted our sense of self and identity-which may impact our sense of pride as LGBT Latino individuals. How can we celebrate who we are as LGBT individuals when we have been rejected by our families or even our own mother? How do we celebrate our sexuality when our first experience was in the hands of a perpetrator? So many of our Latino brothers & sisters have been impacted by child sexual abuse and/or family rejection-which almost makes it impossible to celebrate who we are as an LGBT community, let alone celebrate who you are as an individual.

Lets not forget about our dual identity of being undocumented and LGBT. Do our Latino LGBT brothers and sisters celebrate the successes that this nation has achieved over the past 10 years? Do we celebrate gay marriage equality or are we dealing with being undocumented therefore we don’t benefit from this victory or the benefits of it? Do we celebrate the “‘discovery” of PREP when many Latino undocumented gay and bisexual men don’t have access to health insurance, therefore, they don’t have access to PREP? Is this a celebration for us? Do we celebrate the defeat of “don’t ask don’t tell” when our undocumented Latino LGBT brothers and sisters can’t even serve the country they now call home? As we approach the months of festivities and celebration, I challenge you all to ask yourselves “what am I proud of?” What am I celebrating? What have I overcome during my journey as an LGBT Latino/a? Don’t sell yourself short. Coming to this country and leaving everything behind takes courage. Coming out to a religious family or “machista” father takes pride, balls and strength.

The fact that the law doesn’t honor our relationships because of our legal status doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate finding love or our soul mate. The reality that we can’t access PREP doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate that we have the knowledge and education to prevent the contraction of HIV or celebrate that we can protect our partner(s). I challenge you all to celebrate in your own right and in your own way. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t or don’t have any reason to celebrate…. Being out to yourself, loving yourself and accepting yourself for who you truly are, is a victory within itself……….

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