Patricia Velásquez: ‘There Is a Long Way to Go Until the Ill-Treatment of LGBT People Ceases to Be a Problem’
The actor talks about LGBT people in Latin America: ‘We experience discrimination such as physical and mental abuse, inadequate access to medical attention and jobs, and homicide.’
In this special series, LGBT celebrities and public figures talk to Tim Teeman about the Stonewall Riots and their legacy—see more here.
Patricia Velásquez is an actor and model.
When/how did you first hear about the Stonewall Riots, and what did you make of it?
I heard about Stonewall in 1993. It was my first time in NYC, and my partner at the time and I were walking on Christopher Street and she showed it to me. I couldn’t believe how important that place was for all of us.
What is their significance for you?
It gives me hope coming from Venezuela and visualizing our community being free without persecution all over the world.
How far have we LGBT people come since 1969?
We have seen enormous progress but we are still fighting for employment, housing, transgender rights, anti-discrimination laws for LGBT people. So many more things. It’s encouraging to see how much we have achieved, but we still have much more to do.
Many countries around the world still don’t have any rights at all, and despite all these apparent advances in some Latin American countries, we continuously face unjust challenges. Weak rule of law, the prevalence of male chauvinistic values, attitudes, and beliefs, as well as the influence of the Catholic Church and other religious institutions, make ultra-progressive legislation practically useless.
Therefore, we continue to experience discrimination such as physical and mental abuse; lack of legal recourse, inadequate access to medical attention and jobs; and homicide. For example, in Brazil, a person is killed for his sexual orientation every 25 hours. This must stop.
What would you like to see, LGBT-wise, in the next 50 years?
There is still a long way to go until the ill-treatment of LGBT people ceases to be a problem, and it’s not about us only in the U.S. but about our communities around the world that follow our steps. Now more than ever we need to get along, and—as hard as it is use this anger that we feel for our current politics—continue fighting for our truth.
I would love to see a world where we live freely in a community, whether it’s in Salt Lake City, Alabama, or Chile, and no one feels excluded like I did almost my whole life until I came to the United States.