Don’t Forget About the LGBT Community Outside of the U.S.

By Isabella Rolz

It has been a successful achievement that throughout the 21st Century the LGBT community in the United States has acquired more rights and definitely more importance. It is legal for a gay couple to marry each other in any state and the transgender community has also celebrated the recent attainment of more rights.

Nonetheless, outside of the United States, in more conservative countries, the case is not the same. For example, in Latin America, where most countries are relatively conservative and a lot are completely Catholic, the situation is the opposite.

Because I grew up in a Central American country, for my generation it was quite rare when a person declared himself or herself gay or lesbian. And when they did, they were treated differently, and unfortunately in most cases; brutally bullied.

This was the case of my best friend, who came out, just last year. It was very hard for him to make this decision, not because he wasn’t sure of his sexuality, but because he was afraid of the reaction of the close-minded community. After several years of debate, he finally came out and got the complete support of all of his good friends.

For several months, he was completely okay, there were no problems and despite all of the usual gossiping, there was no major disrupt. Until one night, a couple of weeks ago, he was severely beaten by a group of five individuals, who clearly don’t appreciate the amount of courage it takes to come out, in such a conservative country.

It all happened on a usual party night, where people get very drunk and turn into psychopaths. This group of guys overheard that my friend was gay and immediately went up to him for no reason to beat him. My best friend was caught off guard and had no idea how to react. A couple of minutes later, he was lying on the floor, with his eye destroyed and his back completely sore.

Now that weeks have passed, we’ve talked about this situation and the respect the LGBT community needs to acquire in conservative countries, in order to make social progress. After all, we’re all humans and our rights should be upheld regardless of our sexuality.

It’ll be a long process, but the LGBT community will make as many legal achievements in Latin America, as it has done in the United States of America.