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New report explores Latino/a attitudes toward LGBT people

May 3, 2012

By Jack Harrison, Task Force policy analyst

The National Council of La Raza and Social Science Research Solutions have released a new report, LGBT Acceptance and Support: The Hispanic Perspective. In the project, the researchers set out to determine whether U.S. Latinos and Latinas hold attitudes toward LGBT people that are significantly different from the general population.

Latino/as and other people of color are often scapegoated when pro-LGBT ballot measures fail and are sometimes accused of being more homophobic, biphobic and transphobic than their white peers.

The study, however, found what many of us as queer Latino/as have experienced in our families and in our communities: “Contrary to ‘popular’ belief, Hispanics are as open and tolerant, if not more tolerant, than the general population.”

The report also found that one of the main stumbling blocks for acceptance was whether individual Latino/as were people of faith. It found that Latino/as of various faiths were less likely to support relationship recognition and more likely to believe that being LGBT is a sin.

Working with and within communities of faith is vital to advancing equality and social justice. Some of our strongest allies are people of faith and, indeed, many LGBT people consider themselves people of faith. That’s why our Institute for Welcoming Resources (IWR) continues to organize one-on-one conversations about the issues to build bridges and make change.

In terms of Latino/a faith outreach, the IWR recently published A La Familia: A Conversation About Our Families, the Bible, Sexual Orientation, and Gender Identity. This bilingual book and study guide offers a starting place for dialogue within our communities about faith, the Bible and being LGBT. It was written by Latino/a and Hispanic-identified pastors, educators and theologians and prepared by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation and UNID@S.

As a Latino trans ally, I was deeply disappointed by the lack of intentional transgender inclusion. Although many questions were posed in terms of “LGBT” people, no questions specifically addressed Latino/as’ attitudes toward transgender people, so more research is needed to further dig into these questions.

Meanwhile, what we do know is that Latino/a trans and gender non-conforming people face some of the worst gender identity/expression-based harassment and discrimination, particularly those who are also targeted for being immigrants. This is spotlighted in the Task Force’s publication, Injustice at Every Turn: A Look at Latino/a Respondents in the National Transgender Discrimination Survey. Available in both Spanish and English, the report was written in collaboration with the League of United Latin American Citizens and the National Center for Transgender Equality.

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