Celebrating LGBTQ+ Pride Month

June is LGBTQ+ Pride Month and we too are celebrating the many achievements of the LGBTQ+ community.

Despite the overall success the LGBTQ+ community has had since its civil rights movement began in the 1950s, more than 42% of LGBTQ+ individuals in America continue to live in unwelcoming environments. Worldwide, more than 73 countries continue to prohibit homosexual activity between consenting adults. Nine of those countries (Brunei, Iran, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Nigeria, Somalia, Syria, and Iraq) impose the death penalty on those who are either homosexual or engage in homosexual activity; often times LGBTQ+ individuals in these countries lack due process and equal access to the justice system.

Even in countries where homosexual activity is not prohibited by law, LGBTQ+ individuals continue to face adversity and discrimination. For example, in May 17, 2019, yes last month, LGBTQ+ individuals in Cuba were prohibited from marching in the streets of Havana; those who did march were arrested or met with a strong police response. This was Cuba’s 12th annual anti-homophobia march, until Cuba’s Communist party decided to cancel the event without providing a legitimate reason for the cancellation.

It’s also equally important to remember that in the United States same-sex couples were unable to marry each-other nationwide until June 26, 2015. While the U.S. has come a long way, there is much room for improvement… especially when you have local government officials calling for members of the LGBTQ+ community to be arrested and killed simply because of their sexual orientation.

Here, in the United States, LGBTQ+ individuals from foreign countries have the ability to apply for asylum if they were persecuted in their home country on account of their LGBTQ+ status. While our immigration system is far from perfect, America continues to offer LGBTQ+ individuals refuge and hope for a better future.

Thus, today, and every day, I am proud to be a member of the LGBTQ+ community, a Latino, and an advocate for continuing progress in LGBTQ+ rights across the globe. Be proud of who you are. Cause, in the words of Katy Perry, baby you’re a firework.

For a comprehensive list of resources by state for LGBTQ+ individuals, visit theGuide.LGBT – A 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to help LGBTQ+ individuals nationwide.