“Once social change begins, it cannot be reversed. You cannot un-educate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid.” —Cesar Chavez
In studying the life of Cesar Chavez, I was surprised to learn, he couldn’t demand equality for his people if he didn’t demand equality for everyone—and that included the LGBT community.
Chavez believed that if any minority is oppressed, we’re all oppressed.
Today, with his spirit in mind, I have taken up this conviction through my membership with the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC). With over 100,000 members, LULAC works to advance equal justice for all American Latinos, including those of the LGBT community. Like Chavez, I believe in equality for everyone, and I believe a step forward for Latinos is a step forward for everybody.
There are hundreds of LULAC Councils across the United States and Puerto Rico, yet my council, Orgullo de San Antonio Council #22918, is one of a handful of LULAC chapters dedicated solely to LGBT equality—this number is minuscule when you consider the estimated 1.5 million gay Latino adults living in the United States, as of 2010.
We need more of these councils in every major city across the country.
For years, the Bible has been used against the LGBT community and its allies, which has only lead to exclusion and discrimination. Today, we can create more acceptance and kindness if we confidently stand on the Bible’s universal theme of love to include everyone. The Bible is not a book of do’s and don’ts—it’s a book about a hero that did something for all humanity.
God’s love can’t be trapped in a book. God’s love belongs to everyone He creates, and goes beyond the verses that speak against how they were created. Our cause is educated. We know the Bible, its origins, its translations, and the process that lead to what we read today. We also know the one message that has not been compromised by time and man: Love your neighbor.
I’ve been called selfish for saying homosexuality is not a sin.
I’ve been told no matter how much I don’t want it to be, it is. I’ve tried to speak privately and peacefully to those who disagree with me with no success. It’s as if a formula is being followed—volleys of verses are thrown at me, and then I’m told they’ll pray for me. They’ll ask God to give me sight and understanding, as if I am a lesser Christian. I proudly say, if defending homosexuality is selfish, then I’m guilty as charged.
I want a better world for my family. I want a world where we can all be ourselves without discrimination and judgment. I’m just an average Joe, but I know my support of the LGBT community counts. I encourage anyone who’s thinking of joining the cause to do so with pride.
You cannot be humiliated because we’re on the side of Love.
Holiness doesn’t come from saying people are sinners and saying God can’t look at sin. It comes from having courage to defend those that God created. The LGBT community and its allies cannot be oppressed anymore, and we’re not afraid to stand on the side of inclusion. Change has come to the United States, and now is the time to stand up for our cause. I understand many of you might be afraid and that’s ok—I was. Yet, despite my fears I’ve exposed myself to the world and come out as an ally to the LGBT community.
Since then, I have been ridiculed, condemned to Hell, and have been told I’m leading my children there as well. I’ve survived these attacks, and I consider being an ally my divine destiny. Moses and Jesus suffered in the desert before they lead many to a better place—with that example we can get through the initial challenges and prejudices that will come.
Hell can exist on this Earth when people exclude and judge others, but with courage, we can spread the good news that God is in all of us and in everything.
My membership with LULAC has allowed me to explore more of what it means to be an ally. Sam Aguilera and Robert Salcido, the President and Vice President of the Orgullo de San Antonio Council, are both influential gay leaders in our Latino community whom I’ve been able to talk to concerning spirituality in the LGBT community, and I am proud to follow their leadership. Robert is an old friend, and when I’m confused concerning my role as an ally, he gives me great advice; Sam encourages and motivates me to do all I can for our cause.
Sadly, many of the LGBT community have been judged wrongly by certain Christians, and may have resentment towards Christianity. I hope my message that God loves everyone will help heal and build a bridge between Christianity and the LGBT community. My two friends have welcomed me to the council, and their leadership has given me a sense of pride.
I’m proud to be an American, Latino, and Christian ally.
In closing, and in the spirit of Cesar Chavez, I encourage Latinos in every city to visit the LULAC website and start an LGBT LULAC Council. And it’s not just about Latinos—we want to help lead the way for positive change that includes everyone. I encourage Christian allies to reach out to the LGBT community and be an example to Christians who don’t agree with us.
Sí Se Puede (it can be done). I’m only one voice, but it counts, and so will yours.
Join La Causa (the Cause) because it needs you, and may God give peace to those who can imagine a world for us all.
Image via flickr user Jason Pier in DC