DU discusses LGBT problems
Issue date: 2/5/10 Section: News
The panel was led by Lee Carson of the Black Gay Men's Leadership Council; San Van of Queer Philadelphia Asians; Jaci Adams, an independent speaker; Molik Harvey of Trans Masculine Advocacy Network; Norman Medina of the Gay and Lesbian Latino AIDS Education Initiative; Robert Burns of COLOURS; and Monet Hawkins of Beta Phi Omega, a lesbian sorority.
Among the many topics the panel discussed were coming out, issues both in society and in the LGBT community, thoughts on future laws and HIV/AIDS.
"I came out in the early sixties … there wasn't LGBT, period. The "T" has been added on there," Adams, a transgender female, said. "Now in 2010, … transgenders are going to classes … [and] they are getting jobs."
As part of his job, Carson speaks with gay men in Philadelphia and feels that even though things have improved, there is still hate, even within the LGBT community.
"If we [were] openly gay in public, we [would] be killed," Medina said, speaking about his experiences in his home country Peru. "Even if someone were to help us, they would kill them too. If you go tell the police, [they] would say 'Well, they were gay, what do you expect?'"
The panel also talked about coming out and how the experience is personal and different for everyone.
"For young people it's about self-worth. They just want to get things out and they don't want to be judged," Hawkins said. "I'm out at work [and] I'm not the strongest person in the world but I know I feel good about myself."
"It's the disclosure; you really need to know your surroundings." Adams said.
Van brought up the issue of how it's hard for some people to speak up about being LGBT.
"I would go to conferences, and I was surprised how many [Asians] could hold up a picket sign at City Hall but couldn't go home with their … parents and come out," Van said.
On Jan. 27, Obama gave his State of the Union address, stating that the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy that has plagued the military will end in 2010.