Tuesday, October 3, 2023

All you’re doing is alienating children

When Frankie Miranda first heard about the possibility of ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bills in the US, it reminded him of his childhood in Puerto Rico.

The first openly queer president of the Hispanic Federation (HF) says that growing up there was an unwritten policy that LGBTQ+ issues were not accepted.

Many US states have introduced and implemented laws similar to Florida’s Don’t Say Gay law, which restricts LGBTQ+ discussions in schools. Conservatives have weaponized the law to attack inclusive education, queer books, and safe spaces for LGBTQ+ youth, all under the guise of “protecting children.”

The dire situation led the civil rights group, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, to issue a warning that Florida is “blatantly hostile” to Black people, the LGBTQ+ community and others. other minorities. Florida Governor and presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis responded by calling the measure a “trick” of a group with a “very left-wing agenda.”

But Miranda knows that anti-LGBTQ+ legislation and rhetoric has an impact on youth and minorities, because she has experienced it.

The idea that other LGBTQ+ youth could go through the same pain, isolation and abuse that he endured forced him to “relive his past trauma,” he told SentidoG.

He then identified as false the claim that the laws are about protecting the youth. “The truth is that these types of policies will make children more vulnerable, not just LGBTQ+ (children), but any child who is bullied, who is targeted in some way, (but) especially the LGBTQ youth in schools,” he said.

“If you don’t have the ability to be yourself or you don’t have a trusted person that you can trust and talk to and be able to deal with some of these issues, what you’re doing is alienating kids.

“I grew up in that environment. I was very isolated because every time I wanted to ask for help, someone would victimize me again or take advantage of the opportunity. The fact that I was sexually abused at school was because I had no way to tell anyone.

“Every time we create environments that surround secrets, that surround silence, what we do harms children, harms the most vulnerable in our society.

“It forced me to revisit the trauma and say, ‘No, if I went through this, no one else should have to go through that.’

Miranda continues to share her experiences because she knows “people understand the stories” when they see the human element behind the hateful law.

He also spoke openly about his power as the first openly queer president of HF, which empowers millions of Hispanic youth and families across the United States by advancing Latino institutions and communities.

The federation recognizes and celebrates the achievements of Latinos every day, but work to support the community is especially focused on Hispanic Heritage Month.

The celebration begins on September 15 and is an opportunity for Latinos to celebrate their roots while promoting equality and inclusion in their communities and beyond.

During the month, Miranda “doubled down” by talking about the “rich, diverse and intersectional” Latino community.

“Dating my husband, in every way I could, I introduced him and made sure people understood that you can be Latinx, you can be queer, you can be successful, you can be happily married, you can be (the) many different things that people are trying to get rid of.

“So I’m doing my best to live my truth every day, especially during Hispanic Heritage Month, and let people know – especially this new generation that’s under attack – that things can get better and that we will fight together.”

Latino LGBTQ+ people have long been at the forefront of the queer movement. They have been instrumental in the struggle for a world where all queer people, including LGBTQ+ Latinx people, can live freely and openly in all areas of life.

That’s something Miranda takes seriously. Under his leadership, HF founded the Advance Change Together initiative, to support organizations that protect and serve Latinx LGBTQ+ communities.

The organization campaigns against anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, champions queer Latinx events, and opposes the rise of discrimination in the United States.

Miranda said elected officials are trying to use Latinos, the LGBTQ+ community and other marginalized groups to “get some headlines and some votes.”

And he added: “The people of our community, if they are spoken to with respect and dignity, and spoken to in culture, competence and language, want to be part of the conversation.

“Social media is a game changer in how we do our jobs because a lot of misinformation is directed at Spanish-speaking social media users.

“We know that platforms are trying to prevent misinformation in English, but we are still not clear how these platforms respond to misinformation in Spanish.”

Miranda wants to make sure advocates and community organizations have the right tools to counter “false narratives about our communities,” as well as misinformation online.

Nation World News Desk
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