Global Roundup: Digital Support for LGBTQ Youth in Mexico, Queer Vietnamese Athlete, Crowdsourced Latine Cookbook, LGBT+ Resistance in Italy, Slovenia Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage and Adoptions
Curated by FG Contributor Inaara Merani
Photo via Gay Times.
The Trevor Project recently introduced a number of digital crisis services for LGBTQ+ youth in Mexico. These programs were launched on National Coming Out Day, which is marked on October 11. This initiative is the first time in its almost 25-year history that the Trevor Project has begun to offer services outside the US.
For many LGBTQ youth in the country, expressing themselves and simply being who they are can put their physical safety and mental wellness at risk. At The Trevor Project Mexico, we will strive to end the stigma around the issue of mental health, provide LGBTQ youth with a safe and trusted space, and ultimately save lives. – Edurne Balmori, Executive Director of the Trevor Project Mexico
The new digital programs and services will be free and confidential, available 24/7, and accessible in Spanish, including TrevorChat and TrevorText messaging services created by the organization.
The Trevor Project is known as the leading global organization in suicide prevention and mental health support for young LGBTQ+ people. Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among young people in Mexico and the support that the Trevor Project is now offering will provide young queer people with important resources and services to support their livelihoods and their mental health.
It’s incredibly inspiring to see our vision of providing life-airming crisis services to LGBTQ young people beyond the U.S. being realised today with our launch in Mexico. This is a major milestone in our goal to end the global public health crisis of LGBTQ youth suicide. – Amit Paley, CEO & Executive Director of The Trevor Project
Amazin Lethi is currently the world’s first and only Asian LGBTQ+ athlete to simultaneously hold multiple LGBTQ+ sports ambassador roles. (Alina Oswald)
Queer athlete Amazin LeThi began to realize that there was minimal queer and Asian representation in bodybuilding from a young age. When she was six years old, she began bodybuilding after suffering constant racist and misogynistic bullying, discrimination and harassment. Bodybuilding acted as an outlet for Amazin’s everyday battles. Today, Amazin works as an advocate for East Asian and LGBTQ+ rights.
Amazin was born in Vietnam but grew up in Australia after being adopted by a white family. She found inspiration from Arnold Schwarzenegger when she was young, not only because of his bodybuilding career, but because he moved to the west where he struggled with his name, his accent, and his language. Although Schwarzenegger is a straight man of European descent, Amazin resonated with his life experiences as it was the first time she saw herself in someone who was represented in the mainstream media.
I realised then I was able to celebrate my differences and I would find a way for the world to celebrate that as well. – Amazin LeThi
When she was just six years old, Amazin started weightlifting and soon took interest in bodybuilding. She found it difficult to participate in team sports because she was frequently bullied and did not receive support from coaches or support organizations. She wanted to become stronger to be able to defend herself. However, bodybuilding proved to be just as misogynistic of a space.
After enduring a difficult time period in her 20s when she was homeless and dealt with a number of mental health issues, Amazin believed that it was her lifetime of sports that helped her out of this situation. She now advises Fortune 500 companies, governments, and international organizations on LGBTQ+ rights. Amazin also supported Biden’s election campaign as the LGBTQ+ and Asian communication digital advisor for the program Out For Biden. Recently Amazin has become an ambassador for Sporting Heritage, where she helps profile the East Asian community and the LGBTQ+ sports heritage in the UK.
I focus on the difficulties we have in coming out and reasons we struggle so deeply and in silence. Our stories aren’t shared in the public domain we’re very much an invisible community in the LGBTQ+ community and there are few Asian LGBTQ+ role models. – Amazin LeThi
Photo via BeLatina.
Kim Caviness, Puerto Rican entrepreneur, and Lisa Hung Stevens, publisher, created The Familia Kitchen Cookbook which houses a number of Latin American recipes that have come from Latinx households. What started out as a website has now become an-almost 300-page cookbook.
The recipe book took a year and a half to complete after the founders thought it was essential to create a resource for Latine family food stories and recipes. The project began online in October 2020 during the pandemic as a way to share recipes, and although the goal of the project never changed, the method of sharing these recipes did.
Caviness began to listen to a community of home cooks in the spring of 2021. As she learned about different dishes, she would research, cook, and photograph the dishes. In total, there were over 120 Latinx dishes that have been staples in many Latine households for decades.
At FamiliaKitchen.com, we are on a mission to preserve and celebrate those special family recipes that have been passed down for generations—from bisabuela to abuela to son or daughter and then to now: los grandkids. These are the recetas and food stories that define who we are, that make us feel like we are home — no matter where we may be living. – Kim Caviness, co-creator of the Familia Kitchen Cookbook
The Familia Kitchen Cookbook explores recipes from around nine countries throughout Latin America, including Argentina, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Venezuela, and the Dominican Republic. The book discusses Indigenous, Spanish, and African roots that influenced Latin American food and culture throughout history. Although the recipes span across countries, the purpose of this initiative was to share family recipes that could be easily accessed and cooked wherever and whenever. In the future, the creators hope to create a TV series that showcases Latinx food heritage and home cooking.
As to our greatest strength, it’s this: We help capture the stories of Latino home cooks who are cooking their way home. We talk to abuelas and tíos and primos and ask them about their recipes, to get them on paper for posterity. We want everyone to feel that they belong to a Latino family tribe and help them connect to our culture so that they feel like they really belong and are loved — one family-famous recipe at a time. – Kim Caviness, co-creator of the Familia Kitchen Cookbook
Participants hold rainbow flags at a Pride march in Rome on June 11. Filippo Monteforte / AFP via Getty Images file. Photo via NBC News.
Fears are beginning to rise in Italy, and around the world, as the nation prepares for a far right-wing administration that has promised to be much more socially conservative. In light of the impending strict laws and regulations, Italy’s outgoing government has adopted a new LGBT+ rights plan just before handing over the reins to Giorgia Meloni’s government.
We weren't very ideological, we were very concrete. – Equal Opportunities Minister Elena Bonetti
Formally approved on October 6, the National LGBT+ Strategy 2022-2025 strives to fight discrimination against the LGBT+ community in schools, universities, hospitals, prisons, sports clubs, and workplace environments. The new plan also recommends that teachers, doctors, police officers, prison guards, and other professionals, undertake awareness courses about LGBT+ rights and struggles to learn about how to better support queer Italians and to prevent homophobic actions and sentiments.
Although the incoming Prime Minister and her administration are not obligated to uphold this plan, some activists and officials are holding out hope that Meloni will make a slight effort to support LGBT+ rights. Once elected, Meloni’s personal and political beliefs will have harmful effects on the LGBT+ community in Italy, as her party has pledged to defend traditional family values and resist LGBT+ activism and lobbying.
Queer Italians and other minority groups are preparing themselves for what will be the most far-right Prime Minister the nation has seen in decades. The National LGBT+ Strategy is one of the final efforts that the current government has taken to try and protect queer rights in Italy.
Two women smile at each other as they take part in the Gay Pride Parade in Ljubljana, Slovenia, on June 13, 2015. Copyright Credit: AFP. Photo via Euro News.
Last week, Slovenia became the first country in Eastern Europe to legalize same-sex marriage and adoptions. This decision was implemented by the Slovenian Parliament after a vote on October 4th.
In July, the Constitutional Court of Slovenia found that prohibiting same-sex marriage and adoptions violated a constitutional prohibition against discrimination. The Court ordered parliament to amend the laws surrounding same-sex relationships within six months of the July decision to ensure that same-sex partners would receive the same legal status and protections as other couples.
After more than 30 years of demands for legal recognition of same-sex partnerships, we are finally closer to actual equality. We are happy that the MPs supported the changes to the Family Code with a majority of votes and finally equalized the rights of same-sex couples in marriage and equal treatment in adoptions. – Legebitra, Slovenian human rights group
Although a few other eastern European nations have laws in place to protect same-sex civil partnerships, Slovenia is now the first country from the Eastern Bloc to take charge and implement protections for queer people. This move is a stark contrast to anti-LGBTQ+ movements and political stances that have been dominating forces in eastern European countries, such as Serbia, Hungary, and Poland.
The new legislation makes Slovenia the 18th European country to legalize same-sex marriage, although this has not been the only protection afforded to queer Slovenians; gay and bisexual men are able to donate blood without any deferral period, and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is illegal in housing and employment.
Inaara Merani (she/her) recently completed her Masters degree at the University of Western Ontario, studying Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies with a specialization in Transitional Justice. In the upcoming years, she hopes to attend law school, focusing her career in human rights law.
Inaara is deeply passionate about dismantling patriarchal institutions to ensure women and other marginalized populations have safe and equal access to their rights. She believes in the power of knowledge and learning from others, and hopes to continue to learn from others throughout her career.