By Kimberly García
EL PASO – Sitting on the couch, a shy look on his face, he looks at his boyfriend working on a laptop. Almost as if sensing his anxiety the boyfriend flashes a reassuring smile. He responds back with a smile, takes a deep breath, his shy demeanor replaced with confidence.
“I have had people tell me that I was going to burn in hell,” said Daniel Falcon, 22, “that I should reconsider my sexuality.” Falcon, a recent nursing grad, speaks of the stigma and criticism of being gay that he faces in his everyday life.
“It has happened to me a couple of times that if I’m holding my partner’s hand [people] have something to say to me,” said Falcon. “I try my best to ignore them but sometimes I just want to yell at them.”
Along with facing disapproving attitudes Falcon has to deal with the stereotypes perpetuated by society as well and it is not unusual to have those stereotypes forced upon him. “Every gay man is a whore,” is a common stereotype, explained Falcon. “[It] is not true. There are some of us who believe in monogamy. I am currently in a monogamous relationship.”
These types of experiences commonly faced by people of LGBT orientation inspired four of Falcon’s friends to create a media vehicle focused on promoting acceptance and tolerance for LGBT individuals through entertainment and news programming.
They called it the Laurent Entertainment Network (LEN).
“Our motto is: encouraging you to think differently,” said Aaron Escobar through email. Laurent was the brainchild of Escobar, Jeremiah Brewer, Victor Garcia, and Jacob Daniels. “We were sitting around a table having fun and discussing life when the idea came about,” said Brewer through email. “That’s when we came up with our LGBTS family name, the Laurent’s,” adds Escobar.
The name Laurent is representative of the creators. Classy, different, unique, with a taste of old “Hollywood,” are the words that Escobar uses to describe his LGBTS family. With its French and Latin origins, the name Laurent radiated an exotic aura that appealed to them. “An uncommon name for an uncommon family with uncommon but great ideas!” said Escobar.
LEN was founded in the March of 2012 in El Paso, Texas. Escobar, an El Pasoan currently residing in the Los Angeles area, said that his experiences growing up here were influential in the creation of LEN.
“Growing up and knowing that being anything other than normal and straight was unacceptable [made] it hard to be true to myself and who I was. In school you were encouraged to be different, be yourself and all that jazz, but there was always somehow this underlying double standard. In a sense I was lost and confused,” said Escobar, “So, growing up, feeling confused and alone is what has really helped create the backbone of Laurent Entertainment Network.”
It is this type of life experience that has been essential in LEN’s mission to promote tolerance and acceptance throughout society.
LEN is currently…