A personal message from Executive Director of San Diego Pride, Fernando Z. López.
Warning: Sensitive Content.
It was six years ago when I became the victim of rape, right here in my own community. While this was not the first time I was raped by someone in our community, it was the first time I sought help.
In my journey to find support and treatment, I kept bumping into the lack of LGBTQ culturally competent care and information. As I began to share my story with friends, family, and community I heard from too many an ever-growing chorus of voices saying, “Me too.”
What started with a small group of queer, bisexual, and gay men grew into the LGBTQ Survivor Task Force as we attempted to bring better, more culturally competent care to our community. Nationwide, approximately 40% of gay men and half of bisexual men have experienced sexual violence, compared to 20% of heterosexual men.
Sixty-one percent of bisexual women and 44% of lesbians have experienced rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner, compared to 35% of heterosexual women. Forty-seven percent of our transgender siblings experience sexual assault in their lifetimes.
Last year San Diego Pride, The San Diego LGBT Community Center, Center for Community Solutions, and North County Lifeline worked together to put on the first #MeTooLGBTQ Conference where over 80 service providers and community members were able to come together in an effort to increase the strength and competency of LGBTQ survivor care.
This April 27, 2019, we will be hosting our second #MeTooLGBTQ Conference. For those looking to engage in this critically needed and deeply meaningful work, I hope you will join us.
For me, to take something so vile and painful and turn it into something that can build up the health and well-being of our community was and continues to be a source of my own healing. It is part of my own Legacy of Liberation, and you are welcome to have it be a part of yours.
Fernando Z. López
San Diego Pride