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Latina LesBi y Que Podcast


The Latina LesBi y Que! (as in Lesbian, Bisexual & Queer) Podcast was born from the Latina Lesbian & Bisexual Amigas Meet up in Los Angeles. The LLBA Meet up has a membership of over 700 women that meet up through various events to build community and create friendships between women who love women. The LatinaLesBi y Que Podcast captures the stories of the lives of Lesbian, Bisexual and Queer Latinas. This podcast is sexy, fun and very smart with topics that appeal to the diverse lives of Latina women who love women. 

Veronica is the host of the podcast and organizer of the Meet up. She is a mental health professional who works with women in a small psychotherapy private practice and she is a professor at a local University. She is also the organizer of the largest Latina Lesbian, Bi and Queer women’s meet up in Los Angeles. She is a smart woman who likes to have fun, is very opinionated and believes in building community. Veronica knows that Latinas have a valuable perspective and she captures that experience through interviews with Amigas from the Meet up that cover topics like Amor & Dating, Building lesbian community, Financial & legal topics for lesbians and Mental health & health topics for LesBi & Queer women. 

Dec 21, 2018

The first time I met ariana for coffee I was struck by her big smile and her warmth as well as her unique style. Ariana has a genuine and sweet way about her. That softness combined with her dapper boi style of dress is very attractive and interesting.  I have a lot of respect for mujeres, that are gender non-conforming in their dress and their sexuality. It takes a certain level of courage and confidence to live your truth and express it so creatively like Ariana does. She’s also very relatable. I watched her as she talked during her interview and I noticed that she was very thoughtful about her opinions and made these bright facial expressions when she talked. This woman is all heart and soul and it was my honor to interview her about some deeply personal experiences with recovery. It takes commitment and perseverance to live your truth by not conforming to gender role stereotypes, to become sober in a community deeply connected to alcohol and to maintain a positive mindset about your life.  She repeatedly expressed that it was her responsibility as well as her choice to stay sober. She owned that commitment with joy and not as a burden which tells me that it’s taken and will continue to take some deep work. She talks about this in her interview, that she’s done a lot of work on herself and that’s why she agreed to share her story. She sees sharing her story as part of the work that it will continue to take to stay sober and to help others into sobriety. I didn’t know Ariana before but It seems like Ariana is happier now that she’s sober. That happiness looks really beautiful on her and I wish her the best in all she does.   Thank you Ariana for sharing your story with our podcast. Make sure to follow her instagram account @arisadventures26.

Statistics:

I wanted to dedicate a couple of episodes to substance abuse and mental health in the Lesbian community because this is a relevant and timely topic for our community. I reviewed some recent statistics from a 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health titled Sexual Orientation and Estimates of Adult Substance Use and Mental Health. The Research suggests that sexual minorities which include people who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual are at greater risk for substance use and mental health issues compared with the heterosexual population. This national survey found that sexual minorities were more likely to use illicit drugs in the past year, to be current cigarette smokers, and to be current alcohol drinkers compared with their heterosexual peers.Specifically sexual minority females were more likely than heterosexual females to be current alcohol users, binge drinkers, and heavy drinkers. Among sexual minority females, 64 percent were current alcohol drinkers, 38 percent were binge drinkers, and 8 percent were heavy drinkers. Heterosexual females had lower rates at 51 percent for current alcohol use, 21.3 percent for binge alcohol use, and 4.4 percent for heavy alcohol use. Basically, Lesbian, bisexual and queer women are drinking more than heterosexual women.

 I found 3 reasons in the literature that can explain this risk.

  1. Is Stress and lack of support systems: Members of the LGBT community face chronically higher levels of stress than heterosexuals. Many LGBTQ people have a long personal history of social prejudice having to negotiate culture, religion and sexuality. We face discrimination in laws and practices in employment, housing, relationship recognition and health care, as well as stigma and challenges with our family and friends. This kind of stress builds up and can lead to higher levels of anxiety, fear, isolation, depression, anger and mistrust of people that then can lead to self medication.
  2. History: Alchohol use has become deeply ingrained in LGBTQ society as a result of history. For many decades, the only places that LGBTQ individuals, could be open about their sexuality and feel safe was in gay bars. Drinking became one of the primary social interactions in our community. Alcohol abuse has therefore become normalized. That’s why it’s important to queer up space in different parts of the community as we do in our meetup group. We organize different kinds of social interactions outside of the WEHO bar scene. We hike, we read, we watch movies, we organize carne asadas in addition to the traditional WEHO bar hops. By queering up space in other communities we open up social interactions that don’t center around bars.
  3. Potential Discrimination in Addiction Treatment: In addition to limited specialized services, LGBT individuals may be reluctant to seek treatment or disclose their sexual orientation during treatment out of concern that treatment providers might be unwelcoming to them. Latinos in general are less likely to talk to doctors about their psychological stressors and only 10% actually seek mental health treatment. Stigma, intolerance and open discrimination are substantial barriers to substance use prevention and treatment in the LGBT community.

 

So The environment of discrimination, homophobia, ghettoization of LGBTQ culture and lack of treatment services increase our risk of substance abuse. Essentially, the environment is toxic and hurts our community in specific ways. And that’s why I want to talk more about this topic in future episodes. I included some links to resources in our show notes to help people find local AA groups near them. I also included the link to the 2015 National Survey that I cited.

 

Websites:

  1. Alcoholics Anonymous is an international fellowship of men and women who have had a drinking problem. It is nonprofessional, self-supporting, multiracial, apolitical, and available almost everywhere. There are no age or education requirements. Membership is open to anyone who wants to do something about his or her drinking problem.
    1. https://www.aa.org
  2. Sexual Orientation and Estimates of Adult Substance Use and Mental Health:
    1. https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-SexualOrientation-2015/NSDUH-SexualOrientation-2015/NSDUH-SexualOrientation-2015.htm
  3. Latina Lesbian & Bi Amigas Meetup
    1. https://www.meetup.com/East-Los-Angeles-Latina-Bisexual-Lesbian-Amigas-Meetup/events/255753789/
  4. Latina LesBi y Que Podcast
    1. www.latinalesbipodcast.com