Equality NM Celebrates 30 Years of Transformation for LGBTQ+ Community
Tuesday, January 10, 2023
Equality New Mexico will advocate for new LGBTQ protections during this year's legislative session as it celebrates 30 years as a leading advocacy organization.
Kat Sanchez, chair of the board of directors for Equality New Mexico Foundation, said efforts to remove barriers that prevent gay and transgender people from thriving in life has always been the mission. She said New Mexico's long legacy of tolerance is connected to the group's success in advancing human rights for all.
"New Mexico values are for respecting and loving our neighbors and not getting involved in what kind of personal relationships they have, or at least respecting the kind of personal relationships individuals have," Sanchez said.
This year's proposed legislative policy changes include requiring affirmative consent education for all students and giving 16-year-olds the right to vote in state, local and school-board elections as well as updating the state's Human Rights Act.
Victor Romero-Hernandez, the organization's advocacy associate, had not been born yet when Equality New Mexico was founded. As a 22-year old, he finds it disheartening to watch the ongoing discrimination and attacks on members of the LGBTQ community nationwide.
"Legislation that is very harmful is being introduced at all levels of government, and so, you win and then all of a sudden there's somebody else trying to derail what you've been working toward," he said.
The legalization of same-sex marriage by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015 was a milestone for the LGBTQ community, but Sanchez said there is always more work to do, especially in communities beyond Santa Fe and Albuquerque.
"Equality New Mexico has seen beyond just the headline grabbers and doing the good work of what it means across the board including wages, voting rights - all of those things," Sanchez said.
Albuquerque held its first "Pride" march in the summer of 1976, seven years after the Stonewall Riots in New York's Greenwich Village that launched Gay Pride marches across the U.S.
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