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Support Group Unites D.C.'s LGBT Latinos

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By Rebecca Sheir

Lesbian, Gay and Transgender Latinos in D.C. are coming together and celebrating identities they say they could never express in their home countries.

The attendees at the most recent meeting of Latinos En Accion hail from across the Spanish-speaking world.

D.C.'s only Spanish-speaking LGBT support group started in 2004, but president Ruby Corado says its undergone a revitalization over the past month, drawing up to 30 people each meeting.

No one can do the work better than your own people," Corado says. "My goal is to have a strong, healthy, empowered Latino LGBT community."

The group discusses everything from HIV prevention to immigration to gender identity. Stacy Hernandez, who identifies as transsexual, says she couldn't express herself back in El Salvador. But being in D.C., and in the group, has changed that.

"It was a huge difference when I was over there," says Hernandez. "But I'm happy and I know we want the other people who are behind us to make the transition a little bit more smooth."

Corado says the group is seeking people to mentor the next generation of LGBT Latinos, as they navigate their way through a new country a new city and a new life.

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