Local group awarded grant to combat homophobia in the Valley

A local LGBTQ group has received a $10,000 grant to help combat homophobia in the Valley.

A local LQBTQ organization, South Texas Equality Project (STEP), has received a $10,000 grant to help combat homophobia in the Valley.

The grant was awarded by the Dallas-based Texas Pride Impact Fund.

Sebastian Cisneros, a Valley resident, says growing up bisexual in the Valley came with stigmas. According to him, the culture of the Valley has no respect for LGBTQ.

“It’s either you pick a lane and it’s either you choose to be straight and we won’t say anything, Or you choose to be gay and we’ll bully you and oppress you even more,” says Cisneros.

Gabriel Sanchez, president of STEP, was raised in a Catholic family and says he heard a lot of negative things about LGBT people growing up.

He claims that he grew up in the Valley when there wasn’t much of a gay public presence.

“Invisibility is the norm. Where we are taught that if we are different, we are taught to just keep it to ourselves. That's what previous generations had to do."

Sanchez hopes to use the money from the grant to put on events that help those who are scared to be themselves and come out. He believes events, like Pride in the Park, promote visibility which thinks is important for progress.

“I think a lot of progress is made with visibility. I think visibility is really important,” says Sanchez.

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