As Transgender people struggle for their civil rights, I have wondered which marginalized group is next in line in the same struggle for equality. The answer seems to be Spanish-speaking immigrants whether documented or not. The recent anti immigration law in Arizona giving the police the authority to racially profile suspected undocumented immigrants is only the tip of the iceberg.
Transgender, Lesbian, Bisexual and Gay people are terrorized in homeless shelters to the degree they would rather stay on the streets. Hampton Roads is a large metropolitan area comprised of seven major cities. There are no homeless shelters in the entire area sensitive to the needs of LGBT folks.
This is bad enough as it is but if you are LGBT and do not speak English, you may as well forget it. The streets are far safer.
This issue is not unique to San Francisco or Hampton Roads, VA. It is pervasive on a national basis.
I doubt my grandparents would be allowed to immigrate from Eastern Europe today. Although, I doubt they would want to leave their homes in Europe to face what America is becoming today.
SF Shelters Unwelcoming to LGBT, Spanish Speakers
By SUZANNE MANNEH, NEW AMERICA MEDIA on May 28,2010 - 12:22 p.m. PDT
June marks the 40th anniversary of San Francisco Gay Pride, but the city’s homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender population is complaining they don't feel safe in the gay mecca's homeless shelters. But it’s not just the LGBT who feel there’s no room for them in the city’s shelters. If you are homeless and can only speak Spanish you might be out in the cold, too, reports bilingual weekly El Tecolote.
District 9 Supervisor David Campos has been organizing a series of hearings about the problem and he has been getting an earful. Monolingual Spanish-speakers are more likely than English-speakers to sleep on the street because they are afraid of being asked for documents or just don’t want to deal with the language barrier. If you are Spanish-speaking and gay, that’s a double whammy. (If you are HIV positive make that a triple whammy).
Antonio Sanchez, a San Francisco resident for 14 years, told El Tecolote he would let young transgender and gay Latinos crash in his living room because he’d seen them called names and threatened at shelters.
“San Francisco is so liberal that it is sometimes amazing to think that my community has so much homophobia,” Rodrigo Ibenez of the AIDS Housing Alliance of San Francisco, who moved here from Mexico City a year and a half ago He told El Tecolote, “But we brought it from our countries and hold onto it.”
Could the solution be more bilingual services at the centers? Or separate dorms for gay, lesbian and transgender homeless? Either way, with an estimated 35,000 homeless, the city needs to find some answers.
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Posted by De Sube at 5/30/2010 04:18:00 PM