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University of Toledo hosts diversity dialogue for Latino heritage, LGBTQA+ history month

La lucha de revelar su orientación sexual es una tema que trasciende fronteras. The struggle of revealing your sexual orientation is an issue that transcends borders.

 

The Office of Multicultural Student Success is partnering with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion to demonstrate how individuals have multiple identities and how they all intersect.

 

The “Escucha Nuestras Voces, Hear our Voices: Latinx Coming-out Stories” panel took place Oct. 11 in the UT Student Union.

“The idea for the multigenerational, multi-identity panel came from a meeting between Arturo Ordonez Vazquez, Latino Initiatives Graduate Assistant; Sherry Tripepi, professor of Social Work; and myself following a meeting with the LGBTQA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning and Allied) History Month planning Committee,” said Danielle Stamper, LGBTQA+ Initiatives assistant.

 

Vazquez said during their planning meeting, the shooting at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando initially came to mind.

 

“Most of the victims who died that day were of Latino culture,” Vazquez said. “We wanted to have an event where Latino individuals in Toledo could share their coming-out stories.”

 

Dr. Willie McKether, the University of Toledo’s vice-president of Diversity and Inclusion and vice-provost, offered to partner with Hispanic Heritage and LGBTQA+ History Months for the Dialogues on Diversity and Inclusion event in October.

 

“What students said in particular was that they wanted opportunities to have dialogues,” McKether said in a previous IC interview. “So this series of dialogues on diversity is in direct response to what students said about their interest and need to have a space to talk about issues that make them different, about inclusion.”

 

The event consisted of a five multigenerational, multi-identity panel of Latinx who are part of the LGBTQA+ community.

 

“I wanted to collaborate on an event with Arturo during the overlap of Hispanic Heritage Month and LGBTQA+ History Month,” Stamper said. “Because for me, the overlap of the two months is symbolic of the intersectionality that Latinx individuals experience.”

 

Vazquez said he has not seen any type of celebration for LGBT Latinos during Hispanic Heritage Month.

 

“Celebrations that I’ve been a part of or have seen celebrate things like food, music and traditions,” Vazquez said.

 

The panelists shared their coming-out stories and discussed the impact their Latin culture had on that experience. The stories included their struggles, their achievements and the contributions they have made to the LGBTQA+ community.

 

“This is important for people to hear because there is strength in diversity,” Stamper said. “Latinx LGBTQA+ individuals need to be accepted, respected and celebrated for all their identities that make up their person.”

 

Vazquez said he feels Latinos are not as welcome to the LGBTQA+ as most cultures.

 

“I can personally say that most Latino cultures aren’t as exposed to it, or view it as a choice of a sinful lifestyle, so I want this event to shine a light on the need for acceptance and support for LBGT people,” Vazquez said.

He feels the Latino community deserves to be themselves and respected.

 

“I hope people will hear our stories and realize that we have the same goals and dreams as anyone else,” Vazquez said. “I also hope that more conservative-minded Latino people attend this event with an open heart and mind.”

 

Stamper said they want viewers to understand that individuals have multiple identities and those identities are always present and intersecting.

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