LATINO VOICES
03/11/2013 04:57 pm ET Updated Mar 12, 2013

LGBT Immigrants In The United States Amount To Almost 900,000

During a moment when gay rights are being rethought throughout the Hispanic community in the United States and in Latin America, a new study shows a large group of undocumented and documented Latinos are also part of the lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) community.

Findings in a study by the Williams Institute at UCLA in California show there are approximately 267,000 people who identify as LGBT within the population of adult illegal immigrants in America. Also, another 637,000 identify as immigrant LGBT adults with documents.

The report also reveals that from these numbers, about 71 percent of LGBT adults are undocumented Hispanics and 15 percent are Asian or Pacific Islanders.

“It is estimated that 900,000 people in this country are LGBT immigrants, among whom more than 48,000 are in with a same-sex couple where one or both spouses or partners are not U.S. citizens," said the study lead expert Dr. Gary Gates in a press release.

Among the key findings about this population is the estimate that in relation with all undocumented immigrants, those who are LGBT are more likely to be younger males.

Pew Hispanic Research Center estimates that in 2011 the immigrant population reached a record of 40.4 million foreign-born people living in the United States. Of this group, approximately 11.1 million were undocumented.

Recently, Hispanics inside and outside of the United States have found themselves debating on gay rights, and formulating strong positions with regards to this matter.

According to a Field Poll, 56 percent of California Latinos now support same-sex marriage. Most recently, a poll conducted by Latino Decisions for the group Immigration Equality also showed that nearly two-thirds of Latino voters support allowing same-sex couples equal immigration rights.

Meanwhile in February more than 200,00 faithful Puerto Rican Christians turned to the streets to demonstrate in favor of "traditional" family values and against gay rights in the island. The protest comes at a time when Puerto Rico's legislature is reviewing a proposal, which would protect all couples, regardless of sexual orientation, of domestic violence. In addition, members of the House of Representatives are also working on a bill that would prohibit discrimination due to sexual orientation in the work place.

Countries like Ecuador, however, have started to reconcile with the LGBT community. In a historic speech, after winning the re-election in February Ecuador's President Rafael Correa apologized to gay Ecuadorians for homophobic comments made last year, and promised his government will be more inclusive and sensitive moving forward.

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