In his first year at the helm of Proyecto Igualdad, Lambda Legal’s education and advocacy program for Spanish speakers and the Latino/Hispanic communities, Francisco Dueñas has been very busy. In addition to providing resources and information to Spanish speakers and engaging the many Latino/Hispanic communities, Dueñas has recently been appointed by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to serve in a voluntary capacity on the L.A. Human Relations Commission.
And Frontiers magazine just named Dueñas one of the top 25 “unsung heroes” of the Los Angeles LGBT community for his success at making outreach to the Latino community a “hot” topic.
#7 Francisco Dueñas
Know Your Rights
WHY HIM? After working in an AmeriCorps program for the L.A. Unified School District for LGBT teens, Dueñas became Lambda Legal’s national liaison to the Latino community, educating gay Latinos about their rights and helping mainstream Latino groups integrate gay people into their communities.
BIG CHALLENGES: Because his work deals with people who are marginalized in both the gay community and the Latino community, Dueñas finds that “straddling the different communities, getting them to work together [and] build coalitions, and helping them feel that they’re both getting something out of it” is the hardest part of his job.
THE FUTURE OF LATINO L.A.: “In terms of population and spirit, the community is huge, critical and important. We’re still developing our community, our leadership, and our visibility. I especially feel gay Latinos can play a crucial role in bridging communities, both cross racially and cross-culturally.”
LAMBDA LEGAL’S HELPING HAND: The organization serves the Latino community by being a bilingual resource. The help desk is available to let LGBT people know their rights — which is especially important when it comes to issues like immigration and employment as they apply to LGBT people.
Read the whole story on the Frontiers website.