Ignorance on what it means to be gay is a worldwide pandemic, not just confined to particular geographic areas. Some use this ignorance as a propellant to a career that never was…or may never be. Case in point; the embattled Peruvian beauty queen, Cindy Mejia.
Cindy Mejia, the
lovely, talented and open-minded winner of the Miss Peru beauty title recently gave an interview to Peruvian television entity Peru21, weighing in on the subject of gays, gay children, and particularly if she were to give birth to a child who might someday come out as gay. Her comments included this gem; that “these things (homosexuality) happen perhaps because a child grew up without a father or was molested or lived with his mother and sisters became effeminate.” Her response has lit a fire in a number of individuals; most notably Latin superstar Ricky Martin. He quickly took to the Twitter-sphere to call out the beleaguered beauty queen as “foolish” and “ignorant.”
Ms. Mejia quickly released an apology, claiming a “lack of knowledge” was the cause of her comments. She has vowed to speak more carefully in the future, and has anointed herself a new “champion” in the fight against homophobia; offering herself as a spokesperson again “machismo.” An amazing turnabout, wouldn’t you agree?
Homophobia exists in almost every community. Gays and lesbians in both the African-American and Latino communities endure a huge stigma from their own for coming out as gay. But do individuals like Cindy Mejia fuel the fires of homophobia? According to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, 57% of gay individuals have experienced significant family rejection for being gay. If you were to break this statistic down into racial profiles, the percentages might skew higher for minorities.
Ms. Mejia is a prime example of what a lack of knowledge can do to not just an individual, but to a culture. It isn’t right, but it exists, and it should be addressed. Through outreach, through education, but it must be addressed.
Do you think homophobia can be eliminated? If so, how? Comments are welcome…
 Excerpt from the National Transgender Discrimination Survey – October 2011