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Families fade away for some gay Latinos

At first, David Luna thought he was going through a phase.

He was 16 and popular. He participated in kickboxing, cross-country, football and baseball at school.

Although he had many accomplishments, something did not feel right to him. He began to experiment with same-sex relationships. After having girlfriends in the past, he realized that he was attracted to guys.

Yet like many young gay Latinos discover, being gay does not fit in with their Latino culture. Luna quickly learned that his sexual orientation would not be tolerated in his family.

“My mom grew up in Compton (Calif.). She grew up very strong and tough,” says Luna, who is now 22. “She was also very religious. Her parents didn’t have an open mind so she didn’t have an open mind.”

Shortly after his family found out about his sexuality, Luna says he was asked to leave his home in Los Angeles.

A recent study published by the League of United Latin American Citizens and the Human Rights Campaign found that although support for gay Latinos continues to increase in society, at home Latinos face a greater challenge.

The report found that nearly 57 percent of Latino lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender youths say their families accept them. In contrast, 66 percent of white LGBT youths say their families accept their sexual orientation.

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