ACLU of Iowa Board Member Sonia Reyes-Snyder of Des Moines has been selected to receive an inaugural LGBTQ Legacy Leader Award.
The awards are a partnership between One Iowa and dsm magazine that aims to recognize important contributions of LGBTQ Iowans.
Sonia Reyes-Snyder is the executive director of the Iowa Office of Latino Affairs. She has been doing grassroots work with the Latino community in Iowa for almost 20 years, helping survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence, Latino youth in high school and college, and migrant and seasonal farm workers.
The following is an excerpt from the LGBTQ Legacy Leaders award recipient profile featured on the dsm magazine website.
Sonia Reyes-Snyder: Breaking Barriers
By Luke Manderfeld
During El Salvador’s long and bloody civil war, from 1980 to 1992, more than 75,000 people were killed. Sonia Reyes-Snyder grew up in the heart of it, in San Salvador, the nation’s capital. Her mother worked two full-time jobs, yet the family still lived in poverty. Soldiers roamed the streets at all hours.
It was a dangerous upbringing, but one that brought Reyes-Snyder to the United States...
Still, she says she felt depressed at that time. She sought therapy, which helped her realize she was queer, a term she hadn’t known before. That was in 2003, and she was married to a man and had two children. Coming out was a traumatic experience as she had to leave her home and community and build a new support system.