(Washington, D.C.) – Fifty two years ago this month, during the Stonewall Riots, Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, two transgender activists, among others, bravely took a stand against police violence and harassment of the LGBTQIA+ community. Pride gatherings are rooted in the struggle to overcome prejudice and lift up the voices of the LGBTQIA+ community in the ongoing quest for justice.
Each June, we are reminded of the strength and resilience of the LGBTQIA+ community with the celebration of Pride Month. While we as Americans often celebrate Pride as a way to support the LGBTQIA+ community, it is important to remember that Pride is an act of resistance. Farmworker Justice stands in solidarity with the LGBTQIA+ community in the resistance against injustice.
We recognize the resilience of the LGBTQIA+ community and celebrate the work of our many partners who have committed to serving LGBTQIA+ farmworkers.
LGBTQIA+ “invisibility” within the farmworker community stems from strong cultural and religious taboos regarding sex in general, and sexual and gender minority identities specifically. It is common for LGBTQIA+ persons to hide their identity in order to protect themselves from shaming, assault, and isolation from their families and communities. Farmworker Justice has partnered with The National LGBTQIA+ Health Education Center at the Fenway Institute to address the unique challenges faced by LGBTQIA+ farmworkers and their inability to seek adequate healthcare.
Farmworker Justice and The National LGBTQIA+ Health Education Center have been working together to provide training and technical assistance to existing and potential Health Center Program award recipients and look-alikes (health centers). Because farmworkers tend to live in more isolated rural communities, there are few LGBTQIA+ support services available. Health centers should be familiar with the LGBTQIA+ resources in their communities to refer patients. Health centers may also function as a limited support system. It is possible that the health center provider is the only person with whom the farmworker can talk openly and seek assistance.
California Rural Legal Assistance’s LGBT program focuses on the wellness, education, and safety for LGBT students and families. CRLA works with families, students, school districts, District Attorney’s offices, housing authorities and local nonprofit organizations to achieve their goals of improving access to justice and expanding civic engagement opportunities for LGBT communities.
We would like to recognize CRLA’s LGBTQ+ Program Community Worker and former farmworker, Roselyn Macias. She has been a prominent figure in both queer and farmworker communities. Roselyn is a leader for Conexiones, a support group mostly made up of Latina trans women in Monterey County who are dedicated to raising awareness and visibility in the community for transgender, non-binary, and queer women of color. She is a passionate and active advocate in her community and for more than 7 years has worked with marginalized women to educate them about health and leadership, and to create safe spaces where they can express themselves. Roselyn also works with the Translatina Coalition on policy change and leadership development.
“Farmworker Justice stands with the LGBTQIA+ community and remains committed to using our voice, skills and resources to achieve change on a systemic level — through our advocacy work, assistance to community-based organizations and public education. In our work supporting the farmworker movement, we are committed to helping the LGBTQIA+ community’s struggle for justice,” Bruce Goldstein, President of Farmworker Justice.
Farmworker Justice is a national advocacy organization for farmworkers. FJ founded in 1981 is based in Washington, D.C. and collaborates with organizations throughout the country to empower farmworkers to improve their wages, working conditions, occupational safety, health, immigration status and access to justice. For more information visit the Farmworker Justice website at www.FarmworkerJustice.org and follow on Twitter at @FarmwrkrJustice.
Veritas Group for Farmworker Justice