Queer Heroes NW: Lupita Mendez

By Erin Rook, PQ Monthly

Today, June 21, Queer Heroes NW honors Lupita Mendez, an advocate for LGBTQ survivors of domestic violence. The Queer Heroes NW project, which honors a new hero every day in June, is a collaboration between Q Center and the Gay and Lesbian Archives of the Pacific NW (GLAPN).

Check out what the committee has to say about Renee, Jay, and Marty:

Lupita Mendez helps LGBTQ victims of domestic violence, and teaches healthy relationship skills. Bradley Angle House, Portland’s oldest shelter for survivors of domestic abuse (founded by lesbians), is the only organization in Oregon offering services targeted to LGBTQ victims of domestic violence. Lupita runs the program with vigor, and, in addition to the support group, she started a healthy relationships program that is the only one of its kind in the state of Oregon.

Lupita regularly partners with local organizations like Pivot and SMYRC to provide education and outreach (such as her monthly drop in classes called “Boyfriend Lessons,” which target male-identifying queer folks for healthy relationships skills).

She facilitates at least four trainings a month, on domestic violence awareness for queer groups, and teaches LGBTQ cultural competency for other domestic violence organizations. She is the point person for any LGBTQ-identifying person living in tri-county domestic violence shelters, and is sought out statewide for her expertise.

Lupita Mendez has brought domestic violence and healthy relationships in the queer community into the spotlight in Oregon, and continues to push for equal access to services for LGBTQ survivors statewide. Without her work, hundreds of queer survivors would be without culturally specific support, and the needs of non hetero-normative couples and individuals seeking models for healthy relationships would go unmet.

Lupita received the 2010 Mariposa Award from Portland Latino Gay Pride.

Every day in June, the Queer Heroes NW project will reveal another hero. We’ll be posting them daily here. Information on each of the honorees is also featured on the walls of the Aaron Hall Gallery at Q Center through the end of June.