By Eduardo Morales, Ph.D.
As we reflect on the events this past year this is a good time to plan for your special events for the following year. Setting up your own schedule throughout the year will give you things to look forward to as well as set prompts for obtaining information about special events and deals. The end of year is a prime time to plan out your finances for the end of this year and create a budget for the following year. Consider traveling to other countries that do not celebrate holidays unique to the U.S. such as July 4, Labor Day recognized in the U.S. at the end of May, Veterans Day, and Thanksgiving holiday. Remember that each country you may plan to visit, they have their own holidays that are not celebrated in the U.S. Pacing oneself throughout the year helps to prevent burn out and can keep your curiosity and inspiration elevated. This one of my goals for this upcoming year. The cultural diversity within the SF Bay Area can inspire your wish to travel internationally. Regionally Northern CA has much to offer and is a great place for getting away. Be mindful that the pandemic of COVID-19 along with the annual periods of the flu combined with other illnesses vary at different places one visits.
For LGBTQ+ persons laws protecting their rights vary. The customs and expectations in behaviors are things to bear in mind vary among places to consider for travel. The Thomson Reuters Foundation notes that LGBTQ+ murder rates are at alarmingly high levels in Latin America. This report estimated that four LGBTQ+ persons are murdered every day in Latin America and the Caribbean. In the past five years 1,300 LGBTQ+ people have been reported to be murdered with the highest rates being in Columbia, Mexico, and Honduras accounting for 90% of all deaths and accounting for three times the global rate average according to the United Nations. Most of the victims were young gay men with ages from 18 to 25 and were most likely murdered in their homes while transgender women were skilled in the streets. These data are contingent upon persons being self-identified and reported. An FBI report data of high rates of reported hate crimes towards LGBTQ+ persons noted an increased from 2.2% in 2018 to 2.7% in 2019 in the U.S. These FBI reported data can be found in the Uniform Crime Reporting Program’s Hate Crime Statistics Data Collection. Fatal violence was found more prevalent against transgender and gender non-conforming people in the U.S. particularly against Black and Brown transgender women. Since hate crimes are not mandatory reported these data appear to represent a fraction of such violent incidences. A publication by the Bureau of Justice Statistics entitled Violent Victimization by Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, 2018-2020 supports the vast evidence obtained about violence toward LGBTQ+ persons in the U.S. Data from other countries vary and compromised by their methods of reporting.
Consider the most resent nightclub shooting in Colorado Springs on November 20, 2022, where five persons were murdered and 25 were injured at the Q Club. Although people felt this environment was a safe place for LGBTQ+ persons such was not the case in this instance. Consider the largest mass murder incidence in the U.S. at the Pulse Club in Orlando Florida in June of 2016 where 49 persons were murdered and 53 were wounded. Most of the persons killed at the Pulse Club were Latinx LGBTQ+ persons.
While these reports are of great concern for LGBTQ+ persons we need to balance our need for community and comradery in making plans for the up coming year. By being aware of the potential for violence among LGBTQ+ persons, we can better prepare ourselves for engaging in different communities while maintaining our sense of well-being.