Latino, Gay y Prop 8... Oh My!
What did the passing of Prop 8 mean to me as a Gay Latino?
Many of us felt the emotional blow by the passing of Prop. 8. I actually didn't realize how sad and hurt I would feel if this proposition passed. Being Latino and Gay, I somehow thought that I had gotten used to the discrimination, and had developed "thick skin".
Published on LatinoLA: December 12, 2008
I was wrong.
Like many of us, I was dumbfounded when I understood that Prop. 8 had passed. As my day progressed the day after the elections, I canceled and rescheduled my clients for the day. I didn't feel that I was able to focus on my client's emotional concerns when I felt in emotional distress. Several times through day I had to ask myself if I was overreacting. I wasn't sure why I was so affected.
Since I had trouble focusing on work, I called friends. It was then that I knew that I was not exaggerating. They, too, were feeling wounded. The passing of Proposition 8 sent a clear message of HATE. Like Prop 187 in 1994, it was intended to blatantly hurt and discriminate a group of people, a minority‘«™ and for that I was not wrong to feel disheartened.
Although Julio (my partner for 5 years) and I were married Oct.17 at the LA Clerk's office before Proposition 8 passed, we're uncertain of our statues as a married couple. Much is being said about being able to stay married. Opponents of same-sex marriage are going after the couples already married by filing lawsuits against the state to go back and annul same-sex marriages since Proposition 8 passed. This ambiguity is frightening. Our families have expressed to us that all they want for us is the same equality, protection, and stability that as everyone else. They also wanted to throw a big wedding with mole, mariachis, and dancing "hasta que cante el gallo".
Prop 8 goes beyond taking away the right to marry, it took away my right as a Mexicano to continue and celebrate in my culture's tradition. Having the right to marry gave our mothers a feeling of security that their boys are legally protected. The passing of Proposition 8 has also sent messages to people that it is not only OK to discriminate, but that the state supports it. It is a false sense of entitlement and a false right to single out people for loving and wanting to be married.
Just don't call it "Marriage" -- There are over 1,400 federal rights and benefits granted to married couples that domestic partnerships do not cover. So I ask myself, "How IS domestic partnership and marriage the same?" Julio and I are NOT second-class citizens, and do not deserve to be made to settle for something "similar" to marriage.
As Julio's mother put it so clearly‘«™
"I don't understand‘«™ I thought America was the land of freedom and equality. We immigrated to this country so you CAN have opportunities and be treated equal. I thought the United States stood for defending rights, not taking them away‘«™ THAT'S UN-AMERICAN!"
There is nothing more that I would love than to be accepted for who we are as Latinos and Gay, but I do understand that people have their own personal, religious, cultural, etc‘«™ believes. We are not forcing people to accept us, but to respect us. Respect our right as human beings that are entitled to the same civil rights as the rest. People were lied to and duped into believing that this was an issue of forcing acceptance. They used children as a scare tactic to convince voters that children were "going to be forced to learn about homosexuality". A bold face lie‘«™ SHAME ON THEM!
I do have hope for the future. When Christina Chavez spoke out in Fresno against Prop 8 and said, "How dare we, how dare we even have a discussion about taking away the rights of a certain group of people. How dare we do that! ‘«™my grandfather (Cesar Chavez) was not only about the right of farm workers, he was about the rights of any disenfranchised community."
Ms. Chavez lets us know that in 1997, her grandfather stood with and spoke in front of thousands of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people and supporters in a march in Washington, DC, because he knew that you cannot demand equality for your own people while tolerating discrimination of any other group of people.
We will continue to fight and struggle for OUR civil rights now. We will do as all others before who fought for basic human civil rights and win.
Alejandro Soria, 38, Mental Health Therapist. Alejandro taught 4th gr (LAUSD) for 10 years, and at Cal State, LA. Alejandro holds a BA in Psychology, Intercultural Proficiency Certificate, Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, and a Master's in MFT.
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