Coming out of the Shadows: Latin@ LGBTQ youth and supporters create community in the San Fernando Valley

jon olivares October 7, 2014 0
Coming out of the Shadows: Latin@ LGBTQ youth and supporters create community in the San Fernando Valley

Somos Familia Valle and Community Organizations bring light to Latin@ LGBTQ youth in an effort to create health and promote healing in communities

Panorama City, CA – On Sunday, October 12th, 2014, the San Fernando Valley will be a gathering place for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, & Queer (LGBTQ) youth and families for a day of celebration, community, and learning. The event, “1st Annual San Fernando Valley Latin@ Pride Conference,” features workshops, resources and an opportunity to build community in an area that does not have a lot of support for LGBTQ youth and families...TheValleyPride_2014.

“I grew up in the San Fernando Valley, and when I came out, I had a hard time finding resources to help me and my family,” said Dan Maldonado. “This is an important event to me as a genderqueer Latina because we are creating a community that is supportive and loving for LGBTQ youth.”

The San Fernando Valley is home to 1.8 million people, 41.8% are Latino. Despite the large population, the Valley does not have enough resources to provide for the needs of the LGBTQ population, much less the Latin@ LGBTQ individuals who live and work here.

“This event is meaningful because many LGBTQ youth are growing up in the Valley feeling isolated and without support. We are gathering to show young people that they are in fact loved and there is a safe space for them to be themselves and grow healthy,” said Ronnie Veliz, co-founder of Somos Familia Valle.

For this first gathering, workshops will cover six components: healing through arts, understanding family acceptance, letting go of our internalized transphobia, activating our knowledge about the latest on HIV prevention, stopping deportations together, and learning why ending the school-to-prison pipeline is a priority for LGBTQ youth of color.

Somos Familia Valle is a youth and parent workgroup that promotes a healthier and safer San Fernando Valley by empowering our LGBTQ Latin@ community and straight supporters to engage in transformative dialogue, peaceful demonstrations, and familiar collectivism.

For more information on this historic event, please visit:



MeJonathan Dekanwida Thunderbird-Olivares,  is a volunteer community organizer in Boyle Heights with Corazón Del Pueblo, a not-for-profit volunteer run community center and Community Education for Social Action (CESA); a collective in the Greater East Los Angeles area collaborating with working-class communities to educate each other about social-economic issues to gain political consciousness for social action.  Currently, he is facilitating a class on Chicana/Latina Feminism and Queer theory with feminist scholar-activist,  Vileana De La Rosa . He is the photo editor and photography mentor at the Boyle Height Beat; a bilingual community newspaper produced by high school students from Boyle Heights in collaboration with the Spanish-language daily, Hoy, and USC Annenberg for Communication.  In the future he  wants get a J.D, Master’s, and PhD in law and philosophy, and help build critical race theory scholarship and analysis in litigation. 

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