Valiente DFW presents coming out workshop in Spanish at Cathedral
of Hope to kick off Hispanic Heritage Month activities
When Valiente DFW kicks off a seven-week Spanish-language coming out workshop at the Cathedral of Hope on Sept. 18 it will debut with a new name Journey.
“It’s to emphasize that coming out is a continual project,” said Fernie Sanchez, president of Valiente DFW. “Coming out is a continuous journey.”
Sanchez said it would be the second time for the coming out workshop to be offered in Spanish in Dallas. A pilot project was held two years ago, and it attracted 10 people, he said.
“It was so interesting because they were people who wouldn’t generally be at those type of functions,” Sanchez said.
Sanchez said the workshop attracted transgender individuals and gay men in their late teens.
“That was really good to have them there,” Sanchez said. “I wish I’d had something like that when I was their age. I recall the struggles I went through.”
Sanchez said the workshop is being conducted at the Cathedral of Hope because the leader of the church’s Spanish-language ministry group contacted him. The church leader advised Sanchez there were many members struggling with those kinds of issues, he said.
“Of course, I jumped at the chance,” Sanchez said. “We were just waiting for the right time and right venue to present it again.”
The Rev. Alejandro de la Torre, pastor asistente Ministerio Latino at Cathedral of Hope, said the church wants to help its Spanish-language members understand that “God made them and loves them very much.”
“Many people in the Spanish-language community have traditional Catholic backgrounds and feel a tremendous sense of guilt and shame,” de la Torre said. “The Spanish-language coming out seminar is a great opportunity to demonstrate God’s inclusive love and grace.”
Sanchez said the coming out workshop will be available to church members and non-members of all ages.
“It’s open to anyone who is interested in it,” Sanchez said.
Sanchez said some people might think they already know everything there is to know about coming out, but the workshop will surprise them.
“That was what I thought when I was first introduced to the concept of a coming out workshop,” Sanchez said. “My initial reaction was, “‘God, I’ve been out so long. Why do I need a workshop for that.’ But it’s not just about people who are coming out. It was useful to me.”
For information about the workshop call Fernie Sanchez at 214-521-5191 or Fernando Moreno at 214-404-4862.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 14, 2007