by María Palma
Editor’s Note: The term Latinx is a gender-neutral form of Latino/Latina, which denote either masculine or feminine use.
Orgullo Latinx is a new collaboration between the Latino Research Center (LRC) at the University of Nevada, Reno, and OUR Center, to support and provide resources to the northern Nevada LGBTQIA+ community, primarily those who identify as Latinx or Hispanic.
On July 6, in the heart of the Wells Avenue district, the group held its first meeting, where they had an open conversation assessing the local Latinx queer community and its members’ needs.
“For a long time, there has been a gap in programming directed to the LGBTQIA+ community in northern Nevada. We have had some groups, but they have never been consistent,” said J. Diego Zarazúa, coordinator in education, research and outreach for the LRC.
“I wanted to see a space where youth and adults of all ages can look for resources, events and help. I thought that was very important.”
According to Zarazúa, the number of people in Nevada who identify as LGBT is very high compared to other states across the nation. He said they represent about 5.5% of the Nevada population–approximately 127,000 adults. Historically, those who also identify as Latinx/Hispanic occupy a large percentage of the group.
“People who belong to marginalized communities and also identify as LGBT or queer are more vulnerable to struggle in life. For example, the life expectancy of a transgender person of color is much less. It’s usually in their 30s. They’re exposed to more danger and discrimination,” Zarazúa said.
Another factor that may contribute to this struggle is family.
“It is well known that the aspect of familia is important to Latinx households. And when somebody goes [through] the process of acceptance, family is their number one priority but also the number one jeopardy of not being accepted, which leads to more elevated numbers of suicide. That is why groups like this one are so important,” he said.
Even though the group is intended for Latinx/Hispanic people, Zarazúa encourages everyone to attend their meetings. “In our first meeting, we had a white man who wanted to understand what his partner, who is Latinx, was experiencing. This is a free and safe space where everyone is welcomed.”
Meredith Tanzer, vice president of OUR Center, valued the opportunity.
“We’re so thankful that the Latino Research Center partnered with us and wanted to utilize our space,” Tanzer said. “We know that it was a really needed program to have and we are honored that they developed something with us because the Latinx community needs more support.”
Orgullo Latinx meets the first and third Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m. at OUR Center, located at 1745 S. Wells Ave. It is open to everyone who wants to participate.