Honor 41 Promotes Awareness and Positive Images of the Latino LGBTQ Community

LOS ANGELES, CA - MALDEF is proud to collaborate with Honor 41, a national non-profit LGBTQ organization that recognizes outstanding Latina/o leaders in the LGBTQ community. MALDEF’s own David Damian Figueroa, Vice President of Strategic Development and Communications joins the 41 List of leaders and role models in the Latino community being released beginning today (see the video here). More information about Honor 41, as well as the first five videos of the 41 List, can be found at

"We are proud and honored to work with MALDEF on Honor 41. For decades, MALDEF has been the premier civil rights organization for Latinos across the country and their support brings immediate legitimacy to our organization,” said Alberto B. Mendoza, founder of Honor 41. "We are grateful to MALDEF for their continued commitment and support of the Latina/o LGBTQ community and the launch of Honor 41."

Honor 41's name originates from a hate crime in Mexico City in which 41 men were beaten, arrested, and eventually disappeared for their sexual orientation. Since the incident in 1901, the number 41 has been used as slang in Mexico to refer to a person of different sexual orientation. Honor 41 confronts the terrible history behind the number and reclaims it to honor inspirational individuals in the LGBTQ community and proudly remember the arduous path toward acceptance and equality.

“MALDEF is proud to collaborate with Honor 41 in working toward these goals, and we are proud of David Damian Figueroa’s well-deserved inclusion in the initial release of profiles,” stated Thomas A. Saenz, MALDEF President and General Counsel. “Those profiled are heroes to the entire Latino community as we continually strive for a legal system that fully recognizes the rights and dignity for all, as enshrined in our Constitution.”

The word “Honor” means pride in English and Spanish.

By adopting 41 in the name, Honor 41 acknowledges the historical event that began the negative association of that number, both erasing its oppressive power and celebrating the 41 ostracized men of 1901 and making them members of our Latina/o LGBTQ community.

Honor 41 envisions a world where Latina/o LGBTQ individuals are accepted in all communities. Their main priorities include:

1) Promote a positive image of who they are as Latina/o LGBTQ individuals and as a community;

2) Create awareness about issues impacting the LGBTQ community;

3) Build an online network of Latina/o LGBTQ individuals and their allies that can be introduced to and engaged with local organizations.

David Damian Figueroa, MALDEF’s Vice President of Strategic Development and Communications stated, “When you have a very, very strong opinion about something that is wrong, you need to put your voice forward. When we do not, it is a missed opportunity, and we do a disservice to our communities. When you do, it’s an act of courage. I am honored to be recognized as one of the Honor 41, and I am proud that MALDEF is working with Honor 41 to increase awareness of the Latino LGBTQ community for all, especially as the Supreme Court considers the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Prop 8.”

The 41 List features a diverse list of role models including activists, elected officials, students and more. Notable facts about the 41 List include: 50 percent are under the age of 40; 45 percent identify as lesbian, transgendered or bisexual; and 20 percent talk about HIV-issues within the community. Videos of the first 5 featured role models are available on their website.

For more information on Honor 41, an independent 501 (c)(3), please visit their website at

Founded in 1968, MALDEF is the nation's leading Latino legal civil rights organization. Often described as the "Latino Legal Voice for Civil Rights in America" MALDEF promotes social change through advocacy, communications, community education, and litigation in the areas of education, employment, immigrant rights, and political access. For more information on MALDEF, please visit:

Copyright 2009 MALDEF — Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund