The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) got the ball rolling at its 84th annual national convention by focusing on the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, particularly LGBT Latino youth.
At a joint press conference, LULAC and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) launched a co-branded report, "Growing up LGBT Latino in America (PDF) to support family inclusion and quash bullying.
"The deck is stacked against young people growing up lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender," said Brent Wilkes, LULAC executive director. "LULAC is rooted in civic participation and protecting residents from discrimination or indifference along with social ostracism."
Despite positive advances, he said, "far too many LGBT youth and adults are still disaffected and disconnected in their own homes and neighborhoods."
The District of Columbia and 12 states have legalized sex-marriages, but the LGBT community still faces extensive prejudice, spokespersons pointed out.
"We must do better in supporting LGBT youth who still fear rejection, being judged and ostracized in school and being rejected from their religious congregations and the broader community," said Chad Griffin, HRC president.
The survey of more than 10,000 LGBT-identified Hispanic youth ages 13-17 provides a stark picture of the difficulties they face every day. They're twice as likely as non-LGBT Latino youth to say they don't fit in the communities where they live, for instance.
However, they display a marked resiliency, saying they find acceptance among their peers, online and at school, and in general are optimistic and believe things will improve.
At last year's convention, LULAC passed a resolution in favor of same-sex unions. The resolution is consistent with LULAC's advocacy for civil rights and protections guaranteed by the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
LULAC is the nation's largest and oldest volunteer civil rights organization empowering U.S. Hispanics and Latino communities. It is headquartered in Washington, D.C.
LULAC's 2013 national convention, at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, is expected to attract 20,000 attendees. Hundreds of LULAC youth members from the U.S. and Puerto Rico are expected to attend.
SOURCE League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)
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