The Spanish-language Radio Soap Operas to Air Across California on Radio Bilingüe Stations

(Salinas, CA, January 18, 2011)—Proyecto Poderoso, the Family Acceptance Project and Radio Bilingüe are proud to announce the January 19, 2011 community premier of their radionovela series, a Spanish-language radio soap opera similar to those popular during the Golden Age of Radio and developed specifically to reach California’s Latino families with stories about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) acceptance and equality.

The three-part series—called Bienvenidos a Casa, or Welcome Home—is based on groundbreaking research from San Francisco State University’s Family Acceptance Project (FAP), which conducted the first comprehensive study of Latino LGBTQ adolescents, young adults, and families, including family dynamics and the impact of family acceptance and rejection. The series weaves together pivotal social issues into storylines that have historically been difficult for traditional Latino families to discuss and address. This innovative evidence-based series is intended to help begin the dialogue in households by addressing crucial social and political issues, including bullying, coming out, and family acceptance.

“There are few things more important than family, and a family’s respect for who you are and acceptance of the person you love,” said Proyecto Poderoso Manager Dan Torres, Esq. “Our hope is that through this unique storytelling platform, we’ll open up the dialogue in Latino households, helping families begin conversations on issues they otherwise would never speak about, and providing them with a greater understanding of the hurt and damage experienced by adults, children, and youth who don’t have their family’s full, loving support.”

In 2007, the National Center for Lesbian Rights and California Rural Legal Assistance partnered to create Proyecto Poderoso—or Powerful Project—to provide legal assistance for low-income LGBTQ people in rural California.

Proyecto Poderoso leaders soon recognized a common issue faced by their clients—their clients couldn’t discuss the social struggles and pain they often faced as members of the LGBTQ community with their families.

The series was made possible through a grant awarded to Proyecto Poderoso from the Horizons Foundation. Proyecto Poderoso collaborated with the Family Acceptance Project and Radio Bilingüe to engage the state’s normally hard-to-reach Spanish-speakers by developing the radionovela. Spanish is the second most common language spoken in California households, with more than 26 percent of residents ages 5 and older speaking it at home, U.S. Census data show.

The team used research findings and messages developed by the Family Acceptance Project with Latino families with LGBTQ members to pinpoint the issues and create the storylines. Over the last three months, team leaders have also held several focus groups with LGBTQ Latinos and families to determine the best ways to address key social issues, with field direction provided by Jorge Sanchez, FAP’s Project Coordinator. Delia Saldivar, station manager for Radio Bilingüe KHDH, then used the research and focus group information to draft the series script, with input from FAP. The series will address bullying, and more specifically, the need for LGBTQ youth, or those perceived to be LGBT, to be able to turn to their families for support, and to talk about the problems, finding solutions together. The series will also address the struggles of coming out as LGBT, family acceptance and a family’s overwhelming support for an adult child in a loving, same-gender relationship.

Bienvenidos a Casa’s community premiere, at 7 p.m. on January 19, 2011 at El Callejon Restaurant, 66 W. Alisal St.,Salinas, Calif., will be followed by a discussion about the project with project team leaders. For information about the community premier, contact Proyecto Poderoso Community Worker Angeles Jimenez at 831-757-5221.

Bienvenidos a Casa will air the three-episode series 10 times across California on Radio Bilingüe stations and its partner stations, throughout February. The series will also air on two Radio Bilingüe shows and will be followed by special panel discussions on the issues that were addressed to continue the dialogue, and to encourage families to start talking about the issues in their own homes.

“We are excited to collaborate with Proyecto Poderoso and Radio Bilingüe on this innovative initiative to help Latino families support their LGBTQ family members,” said Dr. Caitlin Ryan, Director of the Family Acceptance Project. “Since our research indicates that family acceptance and rejection impact the health and mental health of Latino LGBTQ young people—including suicidal behavior, depression, substance abuse, HIV and STDs, self-esteem, sense of the future, and overall health and well-being—the series will have both a health and social impact in supporting LGBTQ individuals and strengthening Latino families.”

Said Torres: “No one should ever have to be ashamed of who they are or who they love, and people should be able to share their lives, the fears, their struggles, and their hopes with their families, and know that they will have their family’s support. Our hope is that through this unique series, Spanish-speaking families will begin to break down cultural barriers of discussion, and open up their hearts and minds to acceptance and equality.”

Learn more about Proyecto Poderoso

The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.

California Rural Legal Assistance’s mission is to provide high-quality legal services that improve the quality of life for low-income individuals and their rural communities. CRLA legal services are shaped by the needs of our diverse client community. Through a state-wide network of 21 offices, our staff conducts litigation, outreach and legal education on the most pressing issues facing low-income communities: housing; employment; education; workplace safety; discrimination; income maintenance and healthcare access.

Visit www.CRLA.org for more information.

The Family Acceptance Project Project is a community research, intervention, education and policy initiative that is designed to: 1) improve the health, mental health, and well-being of LGBTQ children and adolescents; 2) strengthen and help diverse families support their LGBTQ children; 3) help LGBTQ youth stay in their homes to prevent homelessness and the need for custodial care in the foster care and juvenile justice systems; 4) inform public policy and family policy; and 5) develop a new evidence-based, family model of wellness, prevention, and care to promote well-being and decrease risk for LGBTQ youth. Research, publications and services are provided in English and Spanish.

For more information, please visit www.FamilyProject.SFSU.edu

Radio Bilingüe, a non-profit radio network with Latino control and leadership, is the only national distributor of Spanish-language programming in public radio. This satellite network was formed to provide stations with news, information, and cultural programming in Spanish and musical programs showcasing a variety of Latino formats with emphasis on Mexican folk and Afro-Caribbean rhythms. Satelite Radio Bilingüe builds on Radio Bilingüe’s decades-old tradition of talk programs and special events coverage.