The Max Story...so far
Max (he, they) is a Queer, cis-gender, gay man born in Acapulco, Mexico and now living in occupied Algonquin lands called, Connecticut in the United States of America. Max started his community activism after being diagnosed with HIV in 2012. After five years working at an AIDS Service Organization, he moved on to working at Open Door Shelter, in Norwalk, Connecticut. At the shelter he noticed how undocumented LGBTQ+ people were treated and felt compelled to bring change to that community. The Covid pandemic struck just two weeks after being hired as the inaugural Latinx Program Officer for the New Haven Pride Center, which complicated the community work. Since that time he’s managed to provide gender affirming advocacy, popular education campaigns and community healing programming for undocumented LGBTQ+ people in Connecticut and beyond. In 2020, Max partnered up with Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement to support the management of Connecticut Familia with other Queer and Trans Undocumented people of color in Connecticut. Max is currently studying to be a Drug and Alcohol Counselor for undocumented youth and people who know the pain and trauma caused by addiction.
Max Cisneros, the Latinx Program Officer of the New Haven Pride Center was my guest on 3 Questions With…in order to provide insights on the #EndTransDetention campaign, the challenges of coming out in a culture as diverse as Latinos, and the double discrimination.
“LGBTQ immigrants who speak Spanish are in a very particular space”, says Cisneros. The double discrimination of being Brown and LGBTQ in this country he explains is how being queer is not accepted at home, and being Brown is not accepted in (U.S.) society. “We have these limited spaces to go where our whole identities, where our whole self is celebrated, affirmed, and heard.”
One space that I love to hold and expand on,
is that of liberation from stigma. Queer stigma, HIV stigma, race stigma, and one of the most powerful and destructive stigmas...addict stigma or SUD (Substance Use Disorder) stigma.
I’ve seen folks make wild and irrational justifications for terrible behavior towards people who are SUD. Because of this, I’m happy to report that I’ll be resuming my training to be a Drug and Alcohol Counselor for folks who know the trauma and pain of SUD discrimination and prejudice.
If you know of anyone who suffers from addiction please just be available to them, not judgmental, it might make all the difference.