June is a month of celebration for LGBT Pride, a month where a positive stance against discrimination and violence toward lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are celebrated across the country. LGBT Pride month is celebrated each year in the month of June to honor the 1969 Stonewall riots in Manhattan. Celebrations include pride parties, picnics, concerts, among others. This month is one where people feel happy to truly be themselves and let the world know that acceptance and love is needed everywhere. HHF is happy to bring more love into your life, and we introduce you to Oscar Espiricueta, our 2016 Community Service Youth Awardee!
Oscar was HHF’s Community Service recipient, and well deserved of his success. “The Youth Awards was such a positive experience for me, I was able to give a short speech, where I talked about how my mom had sacrificed a lot by moving to the United States from Mexico to give her children a better life, and how I want to help more with the HIV crisis that is occurring in the United States,” said Oscar.
Oscar has recently graduated from IDEA College Preparatory San Juan in Texas, and will be attending Brown University in the fall! He is an advocate for the LGBT Community and has affected his community in truly admirable ways. “Pride month is a time where I know I can be myself completely, and people are going to accept it around me and recognize that it’s a part of my whole self, but not my entire self. This month is a time where the community is exposed to different issues that are within the LGBT community.”
Oscar continued to say, “I am from the Rio Grande Valley and the representation of the LGBT community isn’t as big as I would like it to be, the community consists of a lot of Mexican- Americans, people who are very much machista. Although that does hinder the way I am involved in my community, I have found other ways in which I can be involved. At my school, I have held events for World Aids day, where I passed out red ribbons for students to wear to give attention to the Aids crisis, especially here where it’s so prevalent. A lot of the students at my school were helpful with this effort, and because of this, students wanted to bring out a Gay Straight Alliance club at my school. I co-founded that with my friend, and we led that club my junior and senior years in high school. We showed movies at my school that represented the LGBT community, in a positive and accurate way, and they represented students of all genders and sexual orientation, something that should definitely be celebrated.”
“I participated at my first Pride Event 2 years ago in the Rio Grande Valley, and although it was a small- scale event, it did a great job on the representation of the LGBT community here in the Rio Grande Valley. I know it would have been helpful to have attended one of these when I was younger, as I want to introduce the youth to all of the issues that the LGBT community faces.”
LGBT Pride Month is a safe haven for many, and with the help of allies, more people learn about the issues that the country is faced with pertaining to equal rights for everyone. So much has been done, but there is still a lot of work to do moving forward. “Gay people are not the only people in the world, we need to find a communal living between all communities, whether they are gay, straight, bi-sexual, transgender, all genders and sexualities there are on the spectrum. We need to find ways in which everyone can prosper, and include everybody for there to be unity and progression.”
From former Youth Awardee, to starting at Brown University in a few months, Oscar serves as a passionate advocate for the LGBT community in Rio Grande Valley, Texas. To apply to HHF’s Youth Awards like Oscar did, go here!
Youth Awards honors Latino high school seniors who excel in the classroom and community for their focus in various categories including business and entrepreneurship, community service, education, healthcare and science, media and entertainment, science, engineering and mathematics.
For more information on LGBT Pride, check out NOH8 Campaign.