At Crossroads of Gay, Latino Cultures, Coloradan Sees Hope

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<p>(AP Photo/David Goldman)</p>
<p>Crowd members hold up candles during a vigil downtown for the victims of a mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub Monday, June 13, 2016, in Orlando, Fla.</p>
Photo: One Colorado Executive Director Dave Montez
One Colorado Executive Director Dave Montez speaks at Tracks nightclub Sunday, June 12, 2016 at the vigil for victims of a mass shooting in Orlando, Florida.

A few hours before a gunman attacked Orlando’s Pulse nightclub last weekend, the club sent a Tweet to promote its theme night: “Calling all our Latinos, Latinas and everyone that loves a little Latin flavor,” it said. By Sunday, the names of Latinos dominated the list of the 49 dead.

Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner spoke with Dave Montez, executive director of One Colorado, an LGBT advocacy group. Montez previously led the Latino Initiative at the Denver-based Gill Foundation.

On aspects of the Latino community that make it more difficult, and easier, to come out and be gay:

I’ll start with easier. There is a very strong family and familial tie in the Hispanic and Latino community. We don’t turn our backs on our families...My grandmother, for her the Bible was the word of the lord, but yet she still managed to find a path toward acceptance. It took her a while to get there but she still found it and I think that’s because we don’t turn our backs on our families in the Latino community

I think that machismo is very prevalent, this notion that men have to act a certain way, there are very clear gender roles for men in the Hispanic community and Latino community and that makes it hard, it makes it hard to deviate, to go outside that box, definitely a barrier.

I think that religion can go either way. I think that definitely with this new pope we’re seeing a lot more signals of acceptance in the Catholic faith but certainly that hasn’t always been the case.

On being accepted as a Latino in the gay community: