Gay Latino leaders plan heritage celebration

Posted on 03 Aug 2006 at 6:47pm
By David Webb Staff Writer

Events to include art show, film festival



Jesse Garcia, secretary for Valiente, notes more gay Latino people are coming out and participating in community events.

Dallas’ gay Latino community is planning for its first participation in the city’s Hispanic Heritage Month celebration.

The events, which will include an art show, a gay Latino film series and a poetry slam, will be hosted by Valiente during the month, Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. The focus will be on Hispanic art, culture, history and health.

Jesse Garcia, secretary for Valiente, said Dallas’ gay Latino community is becoming more visible.

“With the success of Valiente, a 53-member gay Hispanic Pride group, and the recently formed gay United League of Latin American Citizens, we’re seeing more people coming out and participating in our events,” Garcia said. “Hopefully, if this is successful, we might start doing it on an annual basis.”

Garcia said he suspects the gay Latino community has been slow to emerge in Dallas because of individuals’ efforts to blend into their surroundings.

“Maybe this hasn’t happened in the past because we’ve tried so hard to assimilate to the culture here that we forgot about our roots,” Garcia said.
“Now, it’s like we’re feeling it ok to be gay and Hispanic and be proud of your music and of your culture.”

Garcia estimates that gay Latinos make up about half of Dallas GLBT community now. The population has grown because of the influx of immigrants, he said.

“The majority of my friends are immigrants,” said Garcia, who was raised in Brownsville and educated in San Antonio.

Garcia said the timing seems perfect for starting a tradition of gay Latino events in Dallas.

The art show has been scheduled but information on the film festival and poetry slam is pending, he said.

The art show, “Noche Bohemia,” will be held at Suenos Sabrosos, 408 N. Bishop Ave., Suite 105, on Oct 8 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Suenos Sabrosos is an ice cream parlor in the Bishops Arts District owned by Rosa Lopez, who is a lesbian active in the community.

“We are very grateful for her hosting this event,” Garcia said. “We thought it would be a natural fit to have our event there.”

Valiente is searching for GLBT Latino artists to participate in the art show. Paintings, drawings, sculptures and photography will be accepted.

Local artist and community activist Jesus Chairez said he plans to participate in the art show. The gay Latino community is hungry for cultural events, he said.

“I think it’s going to be very popular,” Chairez said. “I think it will be very well received.”

Latino artists wanting to be in the show should send digital images and a description of their work for an evaluation by the art committee to jgarcia71@aol.com by Sept. 15. Call 214-500-7066 for more information.

E-mail webb@dallasvoice.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, August 4, 2006.

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