Radio Bilingue tackles gay issues

FRESNO, Calif.

The Radio Bilingue series is entitled "Welcome Home" -- and tells the story of a teenage boy who is harassed by his peers and rejected by his family for being gay.

For many in the Latino community radio soap operas or radio-novelas are just as popular as those they watch on TV.

Radio Bilingue -- a national bilingual radio station headquartered in Fresno is using the popular format to reach Latino families with a Spanish-language series on homosexuality.

Maria Eraña said, "In the Latino community we know that when you want to relay a message, you can have an expert or a politician or an academic but people really listen when they hear someone that sounds like them."

The storyline -- called bienvenido a casa, or welcome home -- follows a gay teenager who is harassed at school and the family's struggle to deal with the situation.

Maria Eraña said, "It talks about how to accept that, how to deal with it and how to get help if its needed."

The radio-drama was created in collaboration with California Rural Legal Assistance and San Francisco State University. The goal was to reach rural farmworker communities -- where the fear of coming out is often more intense.

Juan said, "When I told them, my mom started crying -- she actually stopped talking to me for a whole week."

23-year-old Juan is openly gay, but asked us to not show his face for fear of embarrassing his family. He says his sexual orientation has made him a target of violence his whole life.

Juan said, "At school, at work. At school I would obviously be teased. I've actually had in school a guy come up to me and sock me in the face."

Though he came out to his parents at 15 -- he says he still feels some level of rejection. And that is the behavior Radio Bilingue hopes to help change.

Maria Eraña said, "The main goal is to open up the dialogue -- to talk about something that is going on every day."

Radio Bilingue says reaction to the series has been positive. It will air at various times in March and April.

Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.