LGBTQ+ Community: The Stigma Among Hispanic Households

November 6, 2019

Johan Ordonez / AFP/Getty

Activists in Guatemala, marching for LGBTQ+ rights. Photo provided by LGBT Guatemala.

The 17-year-old me, trying to get all of the courage to confess to one of my uncles about my sexual identity. I remember that moment. I was so nervous that I was even shaking, so I took a deep breath and said, “Tio, soy bisexual” (Uncle, I’m bisexual). I can still see the disappointment in his face and the only thing he said to me was, “I will pray for you” and then he walked out leaving me with a lot of questions in mind: “There’s something wrong with me?” “Why he can’t just accept it?”

Coming out can be the hardest thing that anyone can do, depending on the person or their family. Many factors contribute to the hardships of coming out to Hispanic families such as the rejection of someone’s conservative ideals and religious beliefs. According to Pew Research Cente, 90% of the population in Latin America is Catholic.

Sophomore Robert Hernandez stated that a lot of Hispanic countries are very religious. People are devout which can make members of the LGBTQ community feel excluded, and make it hard to talk about sexuality.

Some people have said that part of the rejection of the LGBTQ community is that reputation is important for most Hispanic people. A research made by Human Rights campaign stated that many Latinx hesitate to come out to their families due to the fear of embarrassing their family name.  

“I feel like to them, their reputation means everything. If they don’t look good for others, then they feel like they don’t matter in a way, they focus too much on making sure that everyone thinks they’re perfect,” said sophomore Mia Aguilar.  

Another example of how Latinx parents react to their children coming out would be the statements of Brazilian president Jair Bolsanaro who claimed in an interview that he would rather have a dead son than a gay son. 

Another contribution that most people point out is Machismo, which is technically sexism but with an emphasis on how men should act “manly” or else they would be seen as feminine. It is mentioned in a mitú video, “What does Machismo Mean?” that most Hispanic men are taught at a young age to not cry or show any emotion because it would show weakness. 

“I remember I visited New York City and visiting my family that lives there. And when we would walk down Times Square, and you would see someone that’s like, dressed somewhat feminine, they would just be like, “Oh look at that guy.” continued sophomore Mia Aguilar. “You know, like,  what is he doing? You know, he’s probably gay. It’s just so disappointing.” 

On the other hand, not everyone has the same experience with their families. Students have found that  Hispanic families are being more open-minded and accepting during these times. 

“My family isn’t really homophobic so I didn’t grow up hearing anything misogynistic or homophobic from them,” said senior Lizane Salazar.  “This generation seems to be more open-minded than previous generations so I only see the Hispanic community becoming more accepting of people with each generation.”

Even though the values are still held, more people are starting to be more accepting, and hopefully, this new generation of the Hispanic community will make that change little by little. 

 

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