Lance is a 23 year-old multi-ethnic male who describes learning at an early age that it was not acceptable to be attracted to other men. He talks about the myriad societal messages that stated he couldn’t truly be an equal human being just because of his sexual orientation. “I couldn’t trust my environment to protect me, the way that someone else might be able to. There are other things that feed into that, you know. But that was a big thing. Who can you go to when, like, your parents are the people doing that? You know? When the government is doing that? When that stuff is happening in the hallways? Um, and there’s not a single teacher who sees it or does anything about it when they hear it. You know?”

Lance’s reflections and what he’s doing now:

To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I signed up to be a part of this. I felt like I’d never experienced oppression since I’d never faced violence as a direct result of my queer identity. I was just excited to be heard! It’s clear to me now that oppression is what kept me silent and ignored.

The most meaningful part of this whole experience is that my honesty and vulnerability are helping people find their strength. The people involved with this film have come together to love and support each other. It’s because of this respect and understanding that I can speak out. The lie has been exposed. We are not alone.

I’ve also been empowered to take a more comprehensive look at who I am. What does it mean to be Mexican and Mayan as well as White? This means looking at how I’ve both encountered and perpetrated racism. I’m also looking more closely at my gender identity and expression. I’m challenging myself to construct these identities for myself.

I’ve also challenged myself to be a more active proponent of social justice. Having participated in something like this makes it imperative to stand in solidarity against oppression in all of its forms. I’ve had to see how powers and privileges I’ve been given play a role in the very systems we’re trying to restructure.

I’ve recently graduated from a professional counseling program and am applying to doctoral programs. My work has been in identifying how oppression toward the LGBT community manifests itself in counselor education. I’m currently collaborating on a project aimed at empowering people to reclaim their identities. I want to be a force for change toward a more inclusive and understanding world and this is how I see myself doing that.

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