The Latino GLBT History Project (LHP), a D.C.-area organization, will honor local activist Letitia Gomez at its second annual Women’s History Month celebration, ”Mujeres en el Movimiento,” Friday.
The event, which is specifically focused on honoring the contributions of out lesbian Latina activists, is being cosponsored by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the Mayor’s Office of Latino Affairs, local nonprofit Brother, Help Thyself and radio station El Zol 107.9.
David Pérez, LHP president, says Gomez, a longtime District resident, has been advocating for both Latino and LGBT rights since the 1970s. She has previously been involved with the LHP’s planning committee and served on several advisory boards for both Whitman-Walker Health’s Lesbian Services Program and the Rainbow History Project, as well as on the D.C. Women’s Council on AIDS and the National Lesbian and Gay Health Foundation.
Gomez also served as the president of ENLACE, the D.C. Metropolitan area coalition of Latino gays and lesbians, and was a founding chair of LLEGO, a national Latino LGBT organization.
Gomez says she’s ”very humbled” to be honored by LHP for her efforts to make life better for Latinos and the LGBT community.
”It’s nice to be honored by your community,” she says, recalling that when she first moved to Washington from her native Texas, it was 10 days before the 1987 National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, which helped jumpstart her activism in a new city.
Two areas where she feels she’s made the most impact were with ENLACE and LLEGO, where her work, in coalition with other local activists and groups, such as the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance (GLAA), helped make LGBT Latinos more visible at both the local and national level, respectively, and helped advance issues of importance.
Gomez also reflected on how far the acceptance of the LGBT Latino community has progressed and how the community often acts a major partner and ally for other movements or organizations.
”What’s different today is that even mainstream Latino organizations now are working on issues related to the community, and have openly gay Latino staffers,” Gomez said. ”I’d like to think that some of the work we did 25 years ago has made an impact, has made it easier, even though the work is still going on.”
Mujeres en el Movimiento is Friday, March 29, 6 p.m., at Mova Lounge, 2204 14th St. NW. Admission is free, $5 donation suggested.