Written by Scrappy Perez Thursday, 03 September 2009 00:00
By Scrappy Perez
It’s hard for some of us in the gay Latin community to walk down calm meadows when we get attacked by our government, religious groups and our own Latin community. It’s a double-edged sword. How do I celebrate Hispanic heritage when I fear to go back to my own country and live as openly as I am in
I couldn’t possibly begin to pinpoint all the things that are wrong with our community and the struggles we face so I will just have to narrow it to the most recent one: the infamous Proposition 8. For those of you who don’t know, Prop 8 is a ballot measure addressing the legality of gay marriage by changing the state's constitution to limit marriage to unions between a man and a woman. Their argument is summarized in the form of an ad produced by the National Organization for Marriage, followed by a much comical response to such ad. They can be checked out in YouTube.
One of the things that aggravate me about this commercial ad is the notion that gay people want to change the way Americans live, therefore ruining the sacred institution of marriage. I’d be more concerned with football season, which has separated husbands and wives for generations. I do not want that kind of merit! Besides, what is this sanctity they talk about? The same one that’s paraded on TV so that women can marry millionaires? Marrying someone to then divorce them? Unhappy arranged marriages or marrying someone for citizenship status? They should be saving marriage from themselves! Now that marriage is something gay people feel stronger about fighting for it, this issue has sparked a renowned interest in it with the idealization and romanticism they forgot about.
There are no victims in that ad, simply the idea of being victimized. That commercial demonizes us as a community. You better believe a storm is coming; the storm of resistance from many years of oppression! Don’t you think it’s a bit offensive how they compare us to a freaking storm?! That’s scary! I should know, I live in
I think it’s even scarier to see how the Christian right argues this matter: They talk to Jesus and “He” tells them what the right thing to do is. Isn’t that schizophrenia? When you pray and ask your creator anything at all, there is no response. It is up to you to fill that gap with anything you want it to be whether it’s good or bad. If religion is wedge instead of a bridge, then it’s going to destroy us. But with religious fanatics there is no room for debate. If I belong to a different religion or don’t follow a particular faith, I am automatically inferior because they have a truth that I do not see. Show me any passage of your bible that enables you to deny others their happiness and hold it against the principal of “do onto others as you would like to be done to you” is what I say.
But back to Hispanic pride. If there is anything I can feel proud this Hispanic Heritage Month, it would be the teachings that have been inculcated in me from an early age by my parents. It makes me proud to know of my grandparents struggle and my parents’ experiences. If there is one thing we posses as Latinos is passion, and I’m not talking about that kind that Calvin Klein illustrates in his commercials. I’m talking about perseverance and a joyful attitude that trumps the monochromatic world we all live in. To us, there is nothing that cannot be fixed with a nice dish of “arroz con habichuelas” and there is no task too troublesome as long as we move to the rhythm of the Latin drum on the radio. We are naturally expressive, happy and energetic. It may be a stereotype, but I think it’s the kind that should be exploited. So if you have ever been spanked with “chancletas”, enjoyed Sábado Gigante, have a sister with more mustache hair than your dad, went to church to find out about the latest “chismes” from your mom’s “comadres”, have a mother who thinks you’re too “flaco” even when you’re overweight or ever clapped when your plane landed on the runway remember this: we have to believe that, no matter how sizable our adversities may seem in a foreign country, we always have a place to come home and it never leaves us because it lives in the brightest corner of our hearts. It lives in our childhood memories, our homeland’s call and the wisdom that comes from knowing who we are because of the people who made us into what we are today.