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Letter from the Chair in Sexual Health

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Daniel-Zamudio-BP.jpgA Chilean gay man who was brutally beaten in a park in Santiago earlier this month succumbed to his injuries on March 27, 2012.  Prosecutors claim that 24-year-old Daniel  Zamudio was struck with bottles, rocks and other blunt objects before the attackers cut off part of his ear, carved swastikas into his chest, and burned other parts of his body with cigarettes.

The attack has sparked widespread outrage across Chile and throughout Latin America.
A few days after the attack, President Sebastián Piñera and Interior Minister Rodrigo Hinzpeter met with members of Zamudio's family and Movilh, a GLBT human rights advocacy organization.  Hinzpeter and the United Nations have urged Chilean lawmakers to pass a law that would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression.

Daniel Zamudio has become Latin America's Matthew Shepard.

What is tragic is that after 40 years of gay liberation, we still face homophobic attitudes that discriminate, stigmatize, and demoralize people based upon their sexual orientation.  In many countries scientific evidence has led to public policy changes and changes in public opinion, but obviously we have not gone far enough.

Thirty years ago, I wrote my most cited article "Developmental Stages of the Coming Out Process."  I wrote it to describe a new model of affirmation therapy as opposed to the outdated "illness model."  It showed how individuals could escape from shame and self-destruction through a process of affirming one's own sexual identity and developing meaningful relationships and integrating their sexual identity with their overall identity and integrating into society.

It was a helpful model then.  I am often struck by how relevant this article still is today.  Today the struggle for self-acceptance and acceptance by others has been made be easier, but true integration is still an issue.  Individuals, families, and communities continue to struggle around these issues.

Oh for the day that this article is irrelevant and meaningless.

Meanwhile, we need to continue to strive to make the world a more accepting place for diversity of sexual and gender identity.  Everyone's life is enriched by this acceptance.

There is obviously no place for the homophobic attitudes and hatred that apparently led to the death of Daniel Zamudio.  I do hope that like Matthew Shepard's death, that this horrible event will lead to greater public awareness, changes in public policy, and new hate crime laws that will help to foster a climate of tolerance, inclusion, and respect for diversity.

In Minnesota, we are struggling with the question of whether individuals who love someone of the same gender can be entitled to the full rights of citizenry - including the right to marry.  There is no scientific evidence which shows that this will have adverse effects on society; and in fact there is ample evidence that laws that assure rights to citizenry will result in better health for all.

We need to move to a more enlightened society based upon the best available science and the principles of democracy and justice.

Coleman, E. (1981/82). Developmental stages of the coming out process. Journal of Homosexuality, 7(2/3), 31-43. doi: 10.1300/J082v07n02_06

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2 Comments

Two steps forward, but always one step back.
What a tragedy.

The only good to come out of such events, is to make those of us who support lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, stronger in our determination to keep taking those steps forward.

The tragic story of the so cruel murder of Daniel has really left me speechless for the homophobiv attitudes that could provoke something like that! I can not be more than agree with your stance that we need to move to a more enlightened society, where people' freedom to love who they want to and to marry the person they love, will never be an object of any discussion!

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This page contains a single entry by PHS published on April 5, 2012 1:49 PM.

Transgender Youth Theatre Project was the previous entry in this blog.

You are invited to PHS faculty research presentations is the next entry in this blog.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by PHS published on April 5, 2012 1:49 PM.

Transgender Youth Theatre Project was the previous entry in this blog.

You are invited to PHS faculty research presentations is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.