IUPUI Multicultural Center holds LGBTQ Discussion

Update 10/22/2015: This story originally stated that this event was sponsored by the Latino Student Association. This event was actually sponsored by the Multicultural Center.

The Multicultural Center held a meeting for LGBTQ latino students Tuesday, October 6 as part of LGBT Month. Cafe Con Pan offered students the ability to drink coffee, and bond with the LGBTQ community. They have held multiple events regarding LGBT rights, including many open discussions about different topics, such as social identity, and sexuality.

This event in particular covered what it’s like to be latino and LGBTQ. Most students never have to think about how our cultures clash with their identities. This was a very open discussion that was welcoming to all students regardless of race or sexual orientation.

During the event, those present watched a short documentary called “De Colores” about what some gay and lesbian people of latino decent dealt with. Some issues in particular are family and gender stereotypes. The beginning question that is asked is “How is it possible that a love that seems to transcend everything seems to stop at the discover that there is a gay or lesbian in the family?”

Latino culture typically is not individualistic like American culture is. They focus on the family unit or community. Abel Hernandez is a biracial student at IUPUI and is currently a freshman.  

“My Hispanic side treats homosexuality as a phase with my younger cousin, like it’s something he will grow out of, though he is now an adult. My aunt on my Caucasian side came out later in life, but my family is more accepting towards her,” Hernandez said.

A phrase that was repeated in different ways was that latinos are not exceptionally homophobic, but uniquely so. It was mentioned that for most white families if there is disagreement, the LGBTQ member usually moves away.

One thing that is worth mentioning is that since latino culture is typically so family orientated, they usually don’t shun or abandon LGBT family members. Latino culture promotes a strong family unit so instead there is a “don’t ask, don’t tell,” environment around LGBTQ issues.
Machismo is the idea that men should hold very stereotypical ideals and standards for themselves. This idea can be highly damaging for those who are gay or lesbian, and feel that because of that, they cannot still hold the standard their family expects of them.

“I feel you aren’t allowed to show any type of emotions. There is also a standard where fathers are expected to be breadwinners, where the women are expected to be homemakers.” Hernandez said about machismo and standards.

During the discussion after the movie, a few important topics were covered. IUPUI is generally welcoming to all students of various races, cultures, and social identities.  There was discussion on how there are some gender-neutral bathrooms which is a step in the right direction. However they are only in a few buildings, which can make it difficult.

Another issue was language, even jokingly. They reminded people that many phrases said with innocence can be offensive or hurtful, and to avoid making assumptions. Finally, they taught to ask people for their pronouns and never assume someone’s sexual identity.

Most importantly they made an effort to acknowledge issues that don’t affect anyone personally. This includes LGBTQ issues, but also many more such as disability and race.

The next event the Multicultural Center is hosting relating to LGBTQ issues is called Food for Thought on October 13 at 12 p.m. in the MC Cultural Lounge (UC 115). During this, they will be discussing the intersection of issues regarding people of color and LGBTQ issues.