Latinos in Utah are finding inclusion from LGBT people despite the religious community, and a university in Washington voted against hiring LGBT staff.
Latino Utahans Find Inclusion Despite State’s Religious Community
Eleven percent of Latinos currently identify as part of the LGBTQ community according to a study from Gallup earlier this year. In Utah, where Latinos make up 15% of the state’s population, many Latinos have managed to find acceptance and love from the LGBT community.
Olivia Juarez, who did not grow up in the Mormon faith, found herself struggling to find people like them until they went off to study at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.
“You don’t really realize how hard it is until you’re exposed to more diversity,” said Juarez, who uses they/she pronouns, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.
In the same study, the findings showed that more than 1 in 5 Gen Z Latinos identify as part of the LGBTQ.
Former Democratic candidate for Utah’s District-14 Olivia Jaramillo, a trans woman of color, ran for office so that her community would have visibility.
“I am thankful that here in Utah people are much more open-minded to seeing the diversity of others, even though sometimes it doesn’t feel like it,” Jaramillo said.
University Votes Against Hiring LGBT Staff
Photo via Laur Lugos, Instagram.
Seattle Pacific University students had a walk-out protest after the Christian university’s Board of Trustees made the decision to not hire LGBT people on their staff based on “lifestyle expectations.”
“The decision means SPU’s employee conduct expectations continue to reflect a traditional view on Biblical marriage and sexuality, as an expression of long-held church teaching and biblical interpretation,” said the SPU’s BoT in a statement posted to their school website.
In their statement, the university said their deliberation was difficult and complex, yet students say differently.
This is not the first time the private Christian university has shown discriminatory bias.
Adjunct nursing professor Jéaux Rinedahl sued SPU in 2021 stating that the university would not offer him a full-time position because he was gay.
"Seattle Pacific University and Mr. Rinedahl have agreed to settle the lawsuit out of court. SPU has no other statement about the case," said SPU in a statement.