Each year, National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15) celebrates the histories, cultures and contributions of Hispanic-American citizens. With the nation moving forward on equality, there has been a rise in discussion and support from Latinos for its gay and lesbian community, two-thirds of Latinos say they are OK with homosexuality. Creating a historical milestone, this year marked the beginning of Familia es Familia (family is family), a comprehensive bilingual public education campaign aimed at creating strong allies with Hispanic communities across the country and to open up a dialogue about LGBT people in Latino families. In the first of its kind, the campaign has partnered with national Hispanic organizations to engage in advancing equality. Familia es Familia aims to build support among Latino communities for acceptance of gay and lesbian family members.
It can be hard for Latinos to come out and have the conversation because they care deeply about family relationships and don’t want to risk offending anyone. “There’s a lot of young Latino LGBT people out there who are afraid to come out because of rejection from their churches, their families, their friends,” says Catherine Pino, a Virginia-based communications consultant and co-creator of the Familia es Familia campaign. In order to help with coming out and other issues related to LGBT Latinos, the campaign shares resource tools on topics such as community attitudes, marriage, immigration, parenting, schools, health, and of course, coming out. And with the partnership with over 20 national Hispanic organizations, Familia es Familia not only hopes to change more attitudes within the Latino community, but also about broadening the awareness of existing LGBT groups.