WASHINGTON - Earlier this month, the National Latino Congreso passed a resolution calling for equal rights and civil rights protections for all Latinos - regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation. The Congreso convened Latino leaders, organizations, and elected officials for the first national Latino meeting since 1977 and it focused on creating a long-term national Latino agenda and mobilizing the Latino community.
Said Riki Wilchins, Executive Director of the Gender Public Advocacy Coalition, “Pressures to conform to expectations for masculinity and femininity – and in the Latina/o community to stereotypes for ‘machismo’ and ‘madonna’ – are a painful right of passage for many youth. It is especially welcome for a national Latino group to take this strong public stance, and help people recognize the connection between gender and ethnicity.”
The ground-breaking resolution calls for national, state and local legislation that protect Latinos from discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. (Gender identity is an inner sense of being male or female.)
It asserts that all Latinas and Latinos – regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity – should have the right to marry, adopt, and serve in the military. It is believed to be the first resolution of its kind adopted by a national Latino/a or Hispanic organization.
“The overwhelming support shown at the Congreso for this resolution simply demonstrates what we already know – that Latinos put familia above all else. The resolution’s passage is a public abrazo [embrace] and acknowledgement that LGBT Latinos are part of that familia and deserving of respect,” said Laura Esquivel, a voting delegate at the Congreso.