On Feb. 19, Adelante, Allies and the Student Government Association (SGA) hosted a panel discussion about the intersectionality of Latinos and the LGBTQ community called “Adelante with Pride.”
Four Latino students who identified themselves as part of the LGBTQ community participated as panelists. They shared their feelings about the presence of the LGBTQ in today’s campus society and shared personal stories of that lifestyle within the Latino Community.
Chelsea Dantas, a senior biology major and the president of Adelante, said she feels the discussion was a necessary on-campus event.
According to the Seton Hall website, Adelante is an organization that “is consistently striving to serve and represent all Latinos by promoting Latino awareness on campus through programming, community service and much more.”
Dantas, who has served as Adelante president for two years, explained that she became interested in creating an event alongside Allies in loom of SGA’s newest bill, which seeks to eliminate any discrimination that revolves around the LGBTQ community.
“We thought what better way to talk about the issues in the Latino and LGBTQ community,” Dantas said.
Dantas added that the interactions between the panelists and large audience helped the discussion flow easily and openly among everyone who attended. She said she appreciated Allies coming together to facilitate such a moving discussion.
Maria Sanchez, a freshman criminal justice major, said she was on the panel and was more than happy to share her perspective on the matter. Despite being nervous, Sanchez said she proudly spoke about her experiences and felt that a connection was made with the majority of the audience.
“The majority of us were Latino or LGBTQ,” Sanchez said. “Even though we all have our own different journeys we still those factor that connect our journeys.”
Sanchez said she heard of the event from Dantas, who serves as her resident assistant. She said she feels that more conversations like these are important and impactful to the community, especially once SGA had put in its support for the event.
“Them [SGA] being there gives more advocacy for the LGBTQ community and Seton Hall,” Sanchez said.
The panel also brought to light some issues within the LGBTQ community that were relatable to anyone who identified as a part of the community.
From coming-out stories to stereotypes, each panelist shared their own experiences, but tied it together to advocate for the acceptance of smaller groups on not only college campuses, but in all public settings.
Anthony Chen, a junior diplomacy and Asian studies major, said that even though he did not identify as part of the Latino or LGBTQ communities, he learned a lot about Latin culture and their feeling toward the LGBTQ community. Chen said he felt the event broadened his knowledge and opinions on the matter.
“I have gone through my phases of having different opinions,” Chen said.
“Being introduced to so many people has really changed me for the better.”
Chen said he admits to previously having a conservative ideology, like many others do, but events like these have positively opened up his mind to new ideas. He added that participating in these cultural environments helps people gain valuable information on minorities.
“To listen to someone else’s story gives them a better perspective of their life,” Chen said. “We come backgrounds but if we don’t understand what someone is going through, then we can’t make that intimate and genuine relationship.”
Ronald Castaneda can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.