Being LGBT in the latinx community comes with extra challenges for acceptance and extra responsibility for representing and growing positive images.

Honor 41 is a national organization that recognizes leaders making an impact on their community. This year, Tony Lima is on their list.

Lima has long been active in Florida organizations. He wrote, and worked to pass, policy directly affecting South Florida LGBT residents. Lima was also a leader in bringing trans rights to Miami-Dade County and in the marriage equality movement in Florida.  He currently works as executive director at SunServe, and past work includes leadership at Arianna’s Center and SAVE. This and more caught the eye of Honor 41.

“Honor 41 has been supportive of my advocacy work for a very long time,” Lima said. “Their founder, Albert Mendoza, is an amazing human being and respected advocate in his own right. I couldn’t be prouder and more honored to make the list this year, with so many peers and colleagues, like Wilfred Labiosa of Waves Ahead and trans activist Dianne Michelle Trinidad.”

Honor 41 takes its name from a slur. In Mexican culture, 41 is derogatory slang for being LGBT. By reclaiming the term, the latinx community turns it into something empowering.

“Representation matters. As a queer, openly gay Latino man, I have a responsibility to be authentic in all facets of my life,” Lima said. “Within Latinx cultures, there is a propensity to either ignore someone’s sexual orientation and gender identity, especially in family structures, or to be completely shunned by family if you are out and open by publicly. Every public opportunity I get to be open and out, especially in Spanish, is an act of defiance and a moment for advocacy and education in representation of and for my communities.”

Lima said he’s driven to pull the community together, especially as LGBTQ+ faces the worst attacks we’ve seen in nearly 20 years.

“We need to take good care of ourselves and each other. We have to protect our transgender family, especially our young people. We have to end the discrimination against our most marginalized a lot of the time, within our own community. We have to embrace and stand up for each other.”

With bills attacking the trans community already introduced for Florida’s next legislative session, Lima said LGBT and our allies need to rise to the occasion.

“This is all especially important politically as we approach the midterm election and we’re seeing so much hate pointed at trans folx and people of color, with legislative hate bills being filed across the country. We have to work harder than ever, sharing our advocacy and educating the masses. Equality and equity are more imperative than ever.”

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