A Salvadoran-American Seeking Acceptance
LOS ANGELES, CA - Even though we’re living in a country known as the land of freedom, not everyone is free to do what makes them happy. This is the case of Josue Silva. A Salvadoran-American, who’s mom rejects the idea of him being gay.
"She is not OK with it," Josue said. "In fact, she struggles with it. She still says things like 'you will marry a woman. You will have three children and a family."
Josue says that he will get married and have children, but not in a traditional way.
According to the William Institute, there are more than 1.4 million Latinos that identify as lesbians, gays, bisexuals or transgenders. Also, the institute states that 39% of them are raising children.
Besides, Josue said that his mother doesn’t feel comfortable when she sees gay people on TV.
"I think I notice it more with media because there be lesbian or gay people on TV and she will be like 'ops, well not going to watch this show anymore,” Josue said.
For many Central American parents, it is hard to accept their children being gay because they were raised in a machismo environment. Josue said that his mother brought her culture to this country and that is why she does not want to accept him.
Maggie Shiffrar is a psychology professor, who knows first-hand the negative reaction parents may have to their children coming out. She said two keys factors can play a role in their reactions. The first being religion.
"I think if we get toward religion. There some religions that are very explicit about homosexuality being a sin," Shiffrar said.
This has been a taboo topic for many religions, especially the Catholic church. However, in 2013 Pope Francis said: “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”
The Pope became the first one to use the word gay. Besides, Pope Francis has been more openly when comes to talk about the gay community.
The second factor that plays a role in parents' reaction, which make them reject their children for being different from their mindset is being ashamed.
“The sense of shame that is associated with that, I think parent unthinkingly deal with the shame by pushing it away, which means they are pushing their children away," Shiffrar said.
According to a research by GLAAD, a pro-LGBT organization stated that people ages 18 through 34 are uncomfortable with LGBT people in personal situations. On the other hand, 8 out of 10 Americans support equal rights for the LGBT community.
By- Selvin N. Rodas
With contributions from Williams Institute, The New York Times
Video, PBS NewsHour
Photo, Josue Silva