The Consulate of Mexico in Philadelphia has signed a memorandum to partner with Philadelphia FIGHT “to spread the culture of inclusiveness and the importance of diversity” for LGBTQ members of the Mexican-American community, said consulate officials.
Alicia Kerber, Philadelphia’s consul of Mexico, signed the memo with Philadelphia FIGHT CEO Jane Shull Sept. 25 at The Bourse building at Independence Hall. The partnership agreement will provide education for the LGBTQ immigrant community in Philadelphia, Kerber said.
Shull said the agreement is one way in which FIGHT is trying to reach and assist “the population that is of Mexican origin and other Latin American countries in Philadelphia.”
“We want to serve everyone who is a part of this community,” she said. “We want to be able to provide the help that we can and be able to move forward in partnership. We have expanded our services over the last few years and we wanted to be able to reach out to everyone in the community and this was an opportunity.”
FIGHT is a nonprofit AIDS-service organization that also provides primary care and consumer education on HIV and mental health. Prior to the agreement, the consulate partnered with FIGHT for community programs and workshops. Educators from the nonprofit led HIV- prevention workshops for consulate visitors while they waited for passports or Mexican identification cards.
Kerber said the new partnership is the first step in providing support for LGBT immigrants in the city.
“In this moment, the environment hasn’t been very positive for the immigrant community. If you’re an immigrant and you’re also LGBT, you almost feel like your roads are closed. The consulate is working to connect people with the proper organizations that can give the assistance that’s needed. In turn, the programs will begin to develop according to the needs we see in the community.”
“We saw that FIGHT is an organization providing services to the LGBTQ community and other services to the population in general, and we were very interested in having them as a strategic alliance in order to fulfill our commitments,” said Kerber.
Kerber also noted the agreement will be the starting point to discussing LGBTQ equality in the Mexican
“There’s this idea of the ‘macho Mexican’ that’s not very open to talking about the LGBT community but the new generation is more open to diversity, more open to inclusiveness,” she said. “We are trying to spread the word of the importance of this and that the consulate is here to protect the rights of the Mexican LGBT community that’s within our jurisdiction.”