Leading up to National Coming Out Day, which took place on Oct 11, the local organization Basic Rights Oregon
launched a public education campaign dedicated to raise awareness on what it’s like to live as a person of color who is also lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
Included in Basic Rights Oregon’s ‘Our Families’ project are three videos and newspaper ads, which depict the struggles of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender minority families in an effort to educate the Portland community .
“Often times our communities seek to separate the two identities— you are either gay or transgender or a person of color,” said Ariel Cerrud, a member of Basic Rights Oregon’s Our Families Project. “Our Families reveals that our strength lies in being all of who we are.”
Basic Rights Oregon is the state’s chief advocacy, education and political organization dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The group interviewed families from Latino, African American, and Asian and Pacific Islander communities to create three videos that feature first-hand accounts for the campaign.
“The videos highlight that families come in all shapes, sizes, sexualities and identities,” said Jeana Frazzini, executive director for the organization. “Our diversity makes for a strong and vibrant community.”
The ‘Our Families’ project also includes a newspaper ad, which focuses on a statement of support signed by over 40 straight community leaders from various communities of color.
The statement expresses that LGBTQ families of color are part of the fabric of the community, and communities are strongest when all families have the resources, respect and love they need to thrive.
According to Emily S. Ryan, another member of the Our Families project, the campaign is a collaboration of perspectives with a single focus to highlight community member’s shared experiences. “Not a lot of organizations are focusing on these intersecting identities,” she said. “And most are not focusing on educating straight people of color communities.”
She hopes the project will help people acknowledge and cherish the depth of an individual’s identity, as well as the intensity of experiences layered in being an LGBTQ person of color when creating policies and services in the future.
“The education campaign of ‘Our Families’ is sharing eye-opening stories that have the power behind them to foster lasting change in both the straight people of color community and white LGBTQ community,” she said.