LGBTQ+ Pride Month is a beautiful and colorful time to celebrate and embrace the community. But, for me, it is a somber experience that reminds me of resistance within my own family. I am honored that Pyxis Partners has given me the opportunity to write this short blog as it allows me to be the voice of a family member, who is being denied the ability to express herself because of her identity and orientation.
In my experience, this is not an anomaly among the Latino community, given our strong gender-cultural norms, and profound religious beliefs. Identifying as an LGBTQ+ individual has not been well-received by my family. It has been frowned upon, silenced, or ignored. Every day I see first-hand the lack of support and hindrance of self-expression my niece receives from my own family, and it breaks my heart. When I was faced with the hard task of helping her find support and connect with others like her, I did not have to look far.
Through my employment at Pyxis Partners and working with the All of Us Research Program, I have the opportunity to work with and learn about community organizations like CenterLink, a member-based coalition created to support the development of strong and sustainable LGBTQ+ community centers. They support nearly 300 LGBTQ+ centers and serve over 2 million queer people. Within their organization, I found Q Chat Space, which offers a virtual space that allows teenagers, like my niece, to enter an inclusive environment where they can be heard and be who they truly are.
Indeed, I am proud to work for an LGBT-owned business that is committed to the diversity and inclusion of the LGBTQ+ community. Every day, I have the opportunity to contribute to improving the lives of those who are often left behind, overlooked, or silenced like my niece. This month, I joined the DC Pride parade and enjoyed the celebrations, but I hope that one day I can celebrate alongside her as she embraces herself loud and proud!