I recently wrote an article titled The Six. The six referred to, what at the time, was the number of gay teen suicides documented across the nation due to bullying, hate and homophobia. I hoped and pleaded that there would not be a seventh. Sadly, a seventh, an eight, a ninth… happened. Honestly, I ended up losing count. That’s how bad things got for some youth.
Then in November, I attended the National Transgender Day of Remembrance in Los Angeles. Over two hundred individuals gathered to commemorate, to honor and to remember the lives of Transgender individuals lost to violence, machismo, and transphobia. As each name was read, there was a somber chill throughout the room hearing how they had been beaten, burned, mutilated, raped, and heinously murdered. After the event, I felt compelled to do something. I could not just sit there and stay quiet.
Last month I wrote another article about LGBT identities and how within the L-G-B-T spectrum there is little, to no acceptance of bisexuality. I am concerned about the internalized ignorance and bigotry of many LGT individuals who make narrow-minded claims that bisexuals are “confused, gay-in-training, and just simply, promiscuous.” I find it ironic how LGTs demand to be accepted for “who” they are, but yet, leave no room for the Bs?
And overall, lesbian women, who are not considered a “priority population” by funding sources because their numbers do not reflect the anguished realities of communities deplorably ravaged by the HIV pandemic, hardly ever receive any services to promote wellness and support. So because a person is not on the verge of extinction, they are not worth taking care of? I disagree.
For the reasons mentioned above, and because of the commitment I have for my LGBT community, legacy was born. I feel like I need to do my part. However little, however big; however insignificant, however paramount.
A legacy campaign is on the way. As I continue to raise awareness for gay youth, Dan Savage’s “it gets better” project does not speak to the reality of some of us who are people of color. By comparison, we do not have access to the same resources and opportunities as our white and male counterparts. Mr. Savage does not walk in my shoes to tell me that it does get better at the end of the day. He does not know the parents I go home to who may not accept me; or my church; or my employer, co-workers or neighbors.
legacy will have a toll-free number for anyone needing support. LGBTs are not alone, regardless of which part of the nation they live. A referral is always a phone call away. A wise person on a social network once said that “suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.” That is very true. Ignorance and hate have hurt us long enough. We do not need to inflict such pain and misery upon ourselves.
A website will be up and running soon. legacy will have a directory of resources for anyone needing support. Help will be a just a mouse-click away. In addition, for those wishing to stay connected with our activities and other LGBT-related developments, a monthly newsletter will be going out to the community. Via our website and newsletter, our non-profit status will allow for you to make tax-deductible donations. Right now legacy is run by the passion of committed volunteers who envision change.
A few months ago I approached Adelante to begin writing the LGBT Crossroads column. They agreed. Adelante gave me the opportunity to say what is on my mind. I thank Adelante for that. Today, there are not many spaces where one can do that. For that, Adelante is a legacy. Adelante has a safe space for the LGBT community: a space that no other media publication prioritized. I truly believe that there is a leader in every one of us. Everyone has a story to tell. Everyone has the power to create change. Everyone has a legacy.
While legacy will mostly focus on the Santa Bárbara, Ventura and Santa María Tri-County region, legacy will consider having a Los Angeles chapter. legacy is planning to host this year’s first annual legacy summit. We plan to host a convening of individuals, groups and organizations interested in the empowerment of the LGBT community. Stay tuned for upcoming details of this exciting project.
All said and done, this is my legacy. And for that I ask, what is yours? For volunteer or internship opportunities and to find out more about legacy, please visit us on Facebook at: facebook.com/legacywhatsyours or you can send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
legacy is committed to empower and strengthen the lives of LGBT individuals.
legacy – what’s yours…
By Joseph García – Founder of Legacy