- October 11, 2013
Post submitted by Diane Martin, HRC Religion & Faith Program Assistant
For many in the LGBT community, coming out to friends or family is an intimidating, and sometimes frightening moment. For those in the Latino community the struggle is often compounded by religion and family.
Tuesday night, on October 1st, at the GALA Hispanic Theatre, the A La Familia Project of HRC’s Religion and Faith Program premiered Before God, We Are All Family, a documentary in which five families share their stories of reconciling faith, sexuality, gender identity, ethnicity and familia.
Among the many that came out for the event, we were honored to have in attendance the filmmaker, Alex Gomez, as well as three of the family members who shared their stories on film. All three spoke openly with the audience in a panel discussion following the screening.
Each participant reiterated on Tuesday night that coming out is a long process for an individual who identifies as LGBT, as well as for their family. Parents and family members of LGBT individuals must go through their own journey of reconciliation and their own coming out process. In the Latino community, this process often involves seemingly irreconcilable elements of faith, identity, culture, and family.
Following the premiere, one audience member spoke to us about coming out as gay in a Catholic, Puerto Rican family. He spoke about how he couldn’t truly reconcile his sexual orientation, faith, and family until his mother could also reconcile them.
“This movie really hit home for me because when I was coming out, it didn’t mean anything to me when other people said that my being gay was okay and that God still loved me,” he explained. “What mattered was when my mom, the woman who taught me my faith, could say that God still loved me. That was when I knew it was okay.”
It is our hope, and after the premiere we strongly believe, that Before God will serve as a resource for Latino families and a means to initiate dialogue on this journey towards acceptance and reconciliation.
In honor of National Coming Out Day, Univision in New York and Washington, DC are hosting A la Familia National Coordinator, Lisbeth Melendez-Rivera, and featuring a segment of Before God on their morning and evening news segments highlighting the film’s impact on the Latino LGBT community and their family members.
We thank everyone who has attended these events and we look forward to sharing this resource with audiences across the country, and even across the world.