Latino Americans More Accepting and Supportive of LGBT Issues, Yet LGBT Latino Youth Still Feel "Rejected" in Hispanic Community
Latinos' acceptance and support of the LGBT community has become more visible in recent years, folding the notion that Latinos are more intolerant than other groups. Numerous reports have been published testifying to the fact. The National Council of La Raza and Social Science Research Solutions released a study written by SSRS vice-president David Dutwin, entitled LGBT Acceptance and Support: The Hispanic Perspective, that vanquishes misperceptions held about Latinos' stand on LGBT issues.
The survey, published in 2012, discloses that 54 percent of the Hispanic population supports gay marriage, making them one percent more supportive than the overall American population. Sixty-four percent are supportive of civil unions and 83 percent support legal protections against discrimination and hate crimes. Also, more than 75 percent support open military service.
Dutwin's research also showed that anti-gay attitudes that develop within the Latino community often originate in the church. Those who attend churches that have anti-gay clergymen are four times less likely to support gay marriage. Also, many Latin nations are far less encouraging of homosexuality, which enables discomfort when discussing the topic. Evidence shows that the longer Hispanics live in the U.S, the more they are likely to accept and support pro-LGBT policies.
However, The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) published a report, Growing Up LGBT in America, which slightly challenges Dutwin's findings, insisting that the LGBT youth who identify as Latino experience greater rejection within their own community than non-LGBT youth.
According to LULAC's findings, less than half of LGBT Latino youth has someone to turn to when they feel worried or sad, while 80 percent of non-LGBT peers have such an adult. Additionally, the report shows that this demographic is also less hopeful about meeting goals; more concerned about family acceptance; more likely to face harassment and violence; and, they're twice as likely to say that they don't "fit in."
"As a nation, we are making great strides towards greater equality for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender," said Los Angeles Mayor-elect Eric Garcetti. "However, gaining acceptance and understanding is still very difficult for LGBT youth and especially for young LGBT Latinos. This report highlights the need to do more to help Latino families stay strong and supportive of their children's needs."
Latin American LGBT rights advocates recently met with their American counterparts in hopes of "showing other realities to LGBT kids and youth so they can have hope for the future and celebrate diversity," according to Juan Fuentealba Álvarez of the Chilean It Gets Better Foundation, who spoke with the Washington Blade. U.S. LGBT rights advocates welcomed the opportunity to meet with Latin American counterparts, hoping that it would send a message of support to Latin(o) American youth. Gay New York State Assemblyman Danny O'Donnell stated that "marriage rights for same-sex couples, anti-LGBT violence and efforts to curb bullying" was discussed during their meeting.
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