Monday, December 1, 2008

Who doesn’t want to save the children?

Iris Arcón

On Election Day, I was checking the polls anxiously waiting to see the results. When I got the results that Obama had won, I cried, but it was a bittersweet victory. The ban of same-sex marriage completely devastated many of us. We received the news along with numerous statistics that African American and Latinos had voted ‘yes’ on Proposition 8. I was furious. Why did Latinos, mi raza, vote against me? Upon hearing this, I wanted to protest in Compton and East LA. I wanted to scream, "How fucking dare you take away my right to marry the woman of my dreams? Who gives you that right? ¿Es mas, a ustedes qué les importa con quien me caso? How can you ban us from having the same rights as everyone else when you know what it feels like to be discriminated? We are all in the same struggle together and you hurt us like that?" Yes, I’ll admit to this anger, frustration, disappointment that I felt towards my community and the black community. I’m not proud of it, but you have to understand it was not easy. It hurt so much. Worst of all, I fell for the lies.

Some people say that California put the propositions on the ballot and that Californians voted as a democracy. Each campaign had a chance to win and now it is over. Pardon mis chilangueadas, but ¡ni madres! The opposing side clearly used many lies to win, especially about schools teaching children "gay things."

Jack O’Connell, the California Superintendent of Schools stated that, "Prop 8 has nothing to do with schools or kids. Our schools aren’t required to teach anything about marriage."

Proposition 8 had nothing to do with altering the school curriculum, but the opposing side made everyone believe that farce. At a family dinner, this was the topic of discussion. The majority of my aunts, uncles, and cousins, all Catholics, believed that it was not their business to interfere with someone’s life. That was where my family, and possibly a lot of other people, hesitated. And that is where all of the lies worked. We must also remember that history has showed us that majority consensus is not always fair.

Then I started wondering, why couldn’t African Americans and Latinos relate to this discrimination? Many Latinos agreed that banning same-sex marriage would not make all of us equal. I feel that LGBT activists did not reach out to the Latino or Black population, and now my community along with the African American community are being blamed. Initially, I too blamed both communities, and I did not question the older, religious groups. It made me wonder if this was for a reason. It would certainly not be the first time that we have been put against each other. Even when I attended the consecutive marches, I felt out of place. I arrived wearing my "Legalize LA" t-shirt wanting to speak up for two groups and "kill two birds with one stone." I felt several faces stare down at it. The primarily white faces made me question so many things. Of course Latinos and Blacks could not relate to this discrimination! The LGBT community did not approach Latinos or Blacks.

My sister, a straight Latina, brought this to my attention. She realized that there were so many commercials for the ‘Yes’ campaign, but where were the commercials for "No on 8" in Latino and black programming? The "Yes on 8" campaign rolled constant commercials stating that they wanted to "save the children." Who doesn’t want to save the children? I even wanted to save the children! Yes, religion played a huge role in this campaign, but there are a lot of religious, Latino families with Queer sons and daughters, and the "No on 8" campaign did not tap into this reality. The LGBT community did not approach my community and now it blames it.

It isn’t until now, with the Day Without Gays movement on December 10th, that I have seen something where the Latino community can relate and understand the similar discrimination. A Day without Gays will be a nationwide Strike and Boycott in support of marriage as a right for all Americans. It was "inspired by the film A Day Without A Mexican and the nationwide strike in 2006 called A Day Without Immigrants that protested against proposed immigration laws." You see, this is what needed to be done ahead of time before harsh, racist remarks were made. I am glad that it is happening, but it only took place after we failed to interact with the Latino community.

I have big hopes that good things will happen. We will overturn the vote. You can see it in the marches that have taken place. A lot of us are pissed off and a lot of us want to do something about it. It is nice to see us all together fighting for this cause. We can only learn from this. We will not turn on our communities. Neither the Latino communities nor the Black communities are to blame. We will not blame the equally oppressed. Instead we will unite; we will all get to see a wonderful wedding day.

¡Que viva la jotería!

No comments: