Bringing Pride to the LGBTQ+ Latinx Community
Celebrating the Latinx community will not end when Latin American Heritage Month concludes on October 15. In fact, for Orgullo Delaware, celebrating the LGBTQ+ Latinx community is at the core of their mission, and their work is just getting started.
Co-founded by mother-son duo Julissa Coriano (ella) and Noah Duckett (he/him/his), Orgullo Delaware kickstarted right before the COVID-19 pandemic. Coriano’s master’s and doctorate work is in clinical sexuality. “I knew for the longest time we just didn’t have a platform for LGBTQIA+ Latinx individuals and their families in Delaware,” said Coriano, a clinical social worker and sexuality therapist. The mission then became clear. “It became so obvious and the universe said, ‘get on it, let’s go!’” said Coriano.
Indeed, Orgullo Delaware is the first and only clinical platform for the LGBTQ+ Latinx community in the state. Their work focuses on educational and clinical services, with a good touch of social support for the community as well. In practice, that translates into bilingual gender and sexuality-based therapy, and foundational intersectionality training.
In Spanish, the word “orgullo” means “pride.” The pride that Orgullo Delaware instills in the community comes from the pride Coriano holds for her son, and vice versa. Duckett is a licensed clinical social worker and works closely with Planned Parenthood. Speaking with the duo, the love and pride for each other is palpable and brings a great dynamic to the table. “It’s helpful as we’re working with families of similar backgrounds and experiences. It feels different than someone with no background, no lived experience, and no skin in the game to help deal with this process,” said Duckett.
Even though the platform is based in New Castle County, Orgullo Delaware offers their services statewide. Events are offered with a Zoom component, and clinically, they’ve joined in the world of telehealth. “We’re ready to help everybody in the state that needs it. We’re very flexible,” said Duckett.
For Orgullo, their clinical and educational work can manifest in many ways. Coriano notes that one of the biggest challenges facing Latinx LGBTQ+ families is their roots in Catholicism, and pointing to the Bible to reject the LGBTQ+ community. “We’ve been doing so much work in breaking it out, and saying everyone is loved, and this is your child, and this is your sister, your brother, and going from there,” said Coriano.
Duckett expands, “Clinical doesn’t always have to mean emotional processing.” He says this work could also mean helping someone navigate through a legal transition—changing their name, gender markers, and IDs—or doing assessments and writing surgical letters if someone is looking to have gender-affirming surgery.
Orgullo Delaware’s advocacy has given them access to some medical offices to provide training, so clinicians can better explain hormones to Spanish speaking families. “It’s not just language, but the whole concept of hormones. Latinos tend to be very holistic people, so medication is not something that we embrace,” said Coriano.
That advocacy and education also meant providing a highly successful speaker series led by Duckett one year ago, in partnership with groups like PFLAG and PTK (Parents of Trans Kids). The series covered a variety of topics, starting with basic terms to use, the language, and what are different parts of the transition and coming out process. Then, the series delved a little more in depth in terms of Latinx sexuality and different groups. Further focus and presentations shifted to gender dysphoria, the medical surgery, and topics customized to reflect participants’ feedback.
All of Orgullo Delaware’s work addresses the unique challenges facing the LGBTQ+ Latinx community. But, above all, the challenge is access and a seat at the table. Whether it’s the at-times-insurmountable English language barrier, or events planned without consideration for the intended audience, the Latinx community is often excluded from LGBTQ+ events. “Asking questions like: where are these events? Who’s hosting them? When are they taking place? Are we considering people not working a traditional 9-5 weekday schedule? A lot of it is these decisions or events being planned not with our community in mind,” said Duckett.
Latin American Heritage Month will be celebrated all October long for Orgullo Delaware, which has plans to show El baile de los 41 (The Dance of the 41) and have a discussion on Latinx sexuality after (check their Facebook for details).
Plus, Orgullo Delaware will be a presenting partner with CAMP Rehoboth for Delaware Shakespeare Community Tour’s free performance of the new Spanglish musical, Twelfth Night, O Lo Que Quieras, on October 21, at 7:00 p.m., in the Elkins-Archibald Atrium. Register online at camprehoboth.com.
Find and like Orgullo Delaware on Facebook or by email at email@example.com.
Matty Brown is the Editorial Associate for Letters from CAMP Rehoboth and Communications Manager at CAMP Rehoboth.