Archive | June, 2011

The Gay Issue

16 Jun

Well, should it even be an issue? I ask myself this question every time the topic comes up. My parents always told my brother and I, “You are no less and no more than anyone in this world; so never think you are more important or less important than anyone regardless of class, race or gender — you are equal” (in addition to more revolutionary words, in which I will cherish and keep to myself ) and we continue living with this philisophy. However, coming from a very Catholic and Latino home, homosexuality was perceived as an unnatural way of life in which should be lived in silence — living in an open partnership was unconventional, let alone marriage or children! Apparently, I was not alone in this upbringing…

I went to a High School predominantly consisting of Latinos and African-Americans. So one can imagine homophobia brewing within an environment filled with thousands of adolescents trying to “fit-in” all with a similar perception of what homosexuality is. Being labeled, “gay”, “lesbo”, “faggot” was feared by many hetero’s and even closetted individuals. It was after graduation where many explored sexuality and felt secure enough to embrace their orientation. Once again, education is key and it helped me understand many things beyond excerpts from a bible and the universality of love and attraction.

In a society where everything is deemed black and white, the attempt to view the gray area of everything takes a little more work and a little more work is a concept many people choose not to bother with. Within the realm of politics in our society many will label themselves democrats or republicans, conservatives or liberals. In the realm of color, for years there was either black or white and now that brown comes in the mix and more work is required to understand the diversity within a gray area of race — some choose to stereotype, persecute and promote xenophobic policies. The same goes for the topic of gender where only the role of man and woman co-exists with each other along with sexual orientation.

The formula to this narrow-minded concept is: A baby is a either a boy or girl and this boy or girl become a man + woman  who will eventually at some point come together to make children and form a family.

However, gender and sexuality holds a gray area as well. Western culture recognizes only two sexes, however as many do not know there are three major subgroups of sexes in which humanity can fall under; a mixture of sexes or intersexes. These are hermaphrodites (herms), female pseudohermaphrodites (ferms) and male pseudohermaphrodites (merms). But even this information is limited as sex can be vast but it is unexplored as it can become complex for society…so thanks to science, it has simplified it down to boy or girl.

Once science determines the sex of the baby (boy/girl), the door to gender roles open. Blue/Pink, Dresses/Navy Outfits, Barbies/G.I. Joes all choices based on the sex of the baby. And these are never-ending choices in which a child must choose according to their sex; where if they don’t, it can be deemed a cause for concern. And as the choice for a life partner arises so does a typical and “natural” expectation occur, it must be the opposite sex. But sometimes it isn’t and thus society chooses to stigmatize and punish ignoring the gray area of it all. Society as progressive as it can claim to be, digresses back to religion and the question of morality/normality & the preservation of it all.

Today we live in a society that swears by the word progress and a culture in which state and church are said to be separate. Our society denounces any other nation-state in which church and government are intertwined, labeled “archaic/developing”; countries in need of OUR help to progress. But this is the pot calling the kettle black as church and state have not completely eliminated their ties with one another. Clear example: Gay Marriage.  Considered sodomy and illegal in some states, homosexuality is looked down upon as a monstrous way of life to some. And now New York State is put to the test, should it legalize gay marriage?

In one of the most diverse states in the country, New York represents what the world is today… a melting pot. A melting pot of decisions, ways of life — cultures. The Assembly has passed the proposed bill and now on to the Senate. Consisting of a Republican majority, the bill is one vote shy away from it being passed and all it needs is a Republican vote. However, the Republican party has announced that any Republican Senator supporting this bill will lose support by the party itself if they vote to pass the bill. This following religious representatives such as the Catholic Archbishop denouncing homosexuality and the Republican party reinforcing their mission on, “preserving family values” — this coming from a party that freaks out when the government so much hints at involving itself with any economic issue (ie: Corporate America).

Gay marriage should not be an issue as it is more of a private and individual choice. Just like a Latina can be with a person of another race (well at least after the anti-miscegenation laws were eliminated in 1967 in the U.S.) no one should have the ability to deny a person to be with another simply because it is not deemed “normal” by our society. Who we choose as partners does not depend on our government nor can government deny individuals rights others already and automatically enjoy simply because they are different. By passing this law (in which if Senate passes it, Governor Cuomo has announced he’d sign it), New York will establish a sense of equality and example for other states in which should treat and permit the LGBTQ community to live their lives as everyone else. And not be set aside as a specific group simply because they choose to live their life differently to what society deems acceptable. Instead they choose to live in a gray area, in which many people need to learn about and respect.

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Help Stop Xenophobia & Racism

6 Jun
Help Stop the ongoing Racism and Xenophobia going on the Suffolk County area, promoted by County Executive Steve Levy. We have already witnessed the result of promoting anti-immigrant legislation in the unfortunate Marcelo Lucero case. Please sign the petition and prove your representatives that Long Island is progressing and wants change! Click the link below…

Un Blanquito+Una Latina in a modern day world??

2 Jun

Interracial relationships and marriages are a topic that people choose not to talk about, instead many just choose to quietly judge or gawk at it. As long as it does not hit close to home, it will be a subject untouched  for most. Based on a Gallup research, 83% of Americans approve interracial relationships/marriages however only about 8% of marriages are interracial. If most people seem to “approve” of it then why such a scarce number? If racism is allegedly diminishing from our melting pot society why such an obvious hesitation to approach a racially blind relationship?…My answer to this, interracial relationships continue being a taboo within our society.

Before 1967, interracial marriages and relationships were a cultural abomination within the United States. Interracial marriages and relationships were considered illegal by law. These laws were initially introduced within the thirteen colonies and continually enforced in states such as Virginia (the Racial Integrity Act of 1924) and Alabama — all until 1967’s Loving v. Virginia case. A white man and an African & Native American woman were married in DC in 1958; they were Virginia natives and were both caught sleeping in bed by officers who were defending the Integrity Act . They were thus sentenced to prison for one year that in turn was suspended as long as they left the state. After the ACLU filed a motion on their behalf, the Supreme Court ruled against any law throughout the nation which enforced anti-miscegenation.

Today, many fear to be labeled racist and choose to quietly disapprove of such a relationship while expressing progressive views publicly. However, there are groups in which attempt to digress back towards the anti-miscegenation laws. Such is the case in Mississippi — A poll conducted by the Public Policy Polling announced that 49% of Mississippi residents desire to have interracial marriages/relationships banned. In Lousiana a Justice of the Peace, Keith Bardwell, refused to marry any interracial couple. The resistance to interracial marriages/relationships does not only come from one group. People of other backgrounds also perceive interracial marriages/relationships unseen for many reasons that may be similar to that of white groups. They might perceive it as a form of betrayal or selling out.

I am married to what many Latinos would call a, Blanquito/Gringo/Zuco/Colorado, in plain English – a white boy. However, when I met him, he was just another human being who soon became my partner. I am a Latina, very ethnic looking at that so walking down the streets of New York City we did get some looks of curiousity, some of disapproval from both sides. Walking down the streets of Babylon Village, there were the same looks however in a predominantly white community dissaproval was a bit more obvious and well, pissed me off. One day we were both curious with what each side was thinking. I tried so hard not to pre-judge many of the white people’s stares and he felt the same way about Latinos. As we exchanged our thoughts and what our cultures were quietly thinking we both came to the conclusion that some things have yet to change…

I told him some Latinas or Latinos look for white partners to move up socially and even economically within society, this is not a generalization just cases I have seen and heard personally. Therefore others within our community consider that a form of selling out which of course I would agree because searching for someone based upon race is racist in its own matter. Others would feel its a form of betrayal to our community; a lack of solidarity and embarrassment of where one comes from, their identity. I have also had friends who have asked me, “What? No good Latin men?” and my answer would be “I’m sure there are, but I don’t require a Racial ID”. From his side, he made me aware that ignorance continues to exist filled with stereotypes and some that coincide with some of my community’s misperceptions. He made me aware that while many looks might be curious looks, others were of disapproval. Individuals might think its a step down from the social ladder. A white man rescuing a latina from the ghetto. Therefore she must be somewhat un-educated, have an accent and maybe even not documented.

As we both confirmed the world has not caught up to present day, we both knew it would be a little harder since we both had to educate others down this path and continue doing so. I speak Spanish fluently and as many of you know my identity has a solid foundation. I don’t have an accent, I love the skin I’m in and am very proud, I hold a Master’s Degree and can hold a conversation with anyone. As for my husband, no he did not save me from any ghetto (I did not need any saving from anything; I love where I came from). He eats latin dishes, dances, speaks a little Spanish — ultimately respecting my identity as I respect his.

Interracial marriages/relationships are quite the taboo however, its a taboo because there is a small amount as it requires a little more work due to the societal pressures that exist. But what’s taboo is not necessarily wrong….