Monday, January 18, 2010

Often shunned by family, Oregon's gay Latinos fight for respect - By Gosia Wozniacka, The Oregonian

January 16, 2010

When 16-year-old Edna Vazquez of Colima, Mexico, fell in love with a young woman, her parents ran her out of the house. They sent Vazquez to live with relatives in Oregon, hoping a separation from her girlfriend would save their only daughter and the family honor. Photos

At first, Vazquez -- who had known she was gay since childhood -- felt like a fish in water. She joined the club for gay youths at Century High School in Hillsboro. She reveled in the sight of same-sex couples publicly holding hands. Oregon seemed so unlike Colima, where she had been singled out, ridiculed, even fired from a job for being gay.

But the bubble quickly burst. As family in Mexico continued to repudiate her, so did fellow Latinos in Oregon. Through sideways glances and snide remarks, Vazquez understood that the Portland area, known as a haven for gay and transgender folks, offered her little refuge.

"Emotionally, I felt like I was back in Mexico," said Vazquez, now 31, who is one of several individuals and organizations working to break through taboos on homosexuality in the Latino community. Read complete article - By Gosia Wozniacka, The Oregonian

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