New Pope, New Hope?



As we know history was made last month when Pope Benedict XVI resigned from his position the past February the 11th. No Pope had resigned from this position since 1415. Yesterday however, history was made once again when  the first Pope from Latin America was selected. For the first time in history a Pope was selected to be the leader of the Catholic Church who is out of Europe. Argentine Archbishop Jorge Bergoglio was selected to reign  The Vatican as the spiritual leader of the Catholic empire and this gave hope to many people.

There has been a lot of momentum and many people are hopeful that things are going to change in the Catholic empire. Statistics show that the majority of Catholics are from Latin America and people are happy that we have a new hope in “Las Americas”. But, how hopeful it truly is to have a new Pope who apparently opposes the needs of our community? Gay City News called his record on LGBT rights “inflammatory.” It has been recorded that Pope Francis has different views on who we are as a community.

Pope Francis has been called by  NBC News  as prizing “compassion, humility and simplicity,” that as a Jesuit he has taken the task to work with the poor and those who are suffering. In some respects, I admire Pope’s Francis take on the understanding of the needs of the people, but if the spiritual leader of the Catholic Church is going to follow that approach it cannot be half way, it has to be equal for everyone, you can’t separate who you want to help and advocate for, there are many of us who are Trans, By, Gay or Lesbian and we cannot be put to the side by Pope Francis; it has to be all or nothing. We as a community need to understand that these views can continue to foster ignorance and hate in our Latin@ community and that his views influence the way many parents of LGBTQ Latin@s view things and make decisions based on those believes. In some cases many parents make decisions that make our lives really hard, like disowning  us or choosing to give us to the street because of who we are and because of the shame that The Catholic views oppose on our families and our neighbors.

Now more than ever we need to talk to our families to make them understand that being who we are is a gift, a gift of God and not a sin. We need to do a lot of advocacy and education to our Latin@ organizations, not only to LBGTQ organizations but to influential organizations that influence the way we think and the way we do things, because many of these organizations are influenced by the Catholic empire as well.

We do know that the views of Pope Francis are what they are but that is not to say that if we can change minds, we can change hearts. We need to continue to be visible and to show society and those powerful structures such as the Vatican,  Pope Francis and the Catholic empire and others  that as an LGBTQ Latin@ communities we are gifts of God and that we are here for a purpose and not to be judge for who we are but to be part of this world and bring the gifts that we possess as individuals to be shared with the world. They should not limit us with their narrow views, they should know and recognize that we are part of humanity and deserve our space in this earth just like anyone else.




About the author

Bamby Salcedo

Bamby is a nationally recognized transgender Latina woman activist, academic, public speaker, community organizer and artist. Bamby has created and found several organizations and projects such as Angels of Change, the first trans youth calendar aimed at providing trans youth with a positive image and the TransLatin@ Coalition. Bamby has participated in numerous state and national conferences and colleges as a presenter and motivational speaker. Bamby has been recognized locally and nationally for her great work in the community.

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