Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Real lives in Arizona

I want to tell you another story. I want to tell you about my friend Greg who lives in Arizona. He works at a major university and moved there for love. He and his partner own a home, pay their taxes and are part of their community. Nice men, they have come to visit us and we had a rollicking time in Santa Cruz with them.

The Governor of Arizona doesn’t feel these two men should be equal citizens. One of her first acts as the new Governor was to take Domestic Partnership benefits away from state employees like my friend. They lose their combined insurance on Oct 1.

This is a problem to begin with for any family that loses insurance – but it is especially relevant to them because my friend’s partner has Alzheimer’s. And he is the one losing the insurance.

We cannot change who we are anymore than we can change our diseases. I distinctly remember a time when gay men were blamed for getting AIDS. It wasn’t that long ago. As the shrillness ramps up here and on the net, I will point out, that there are still people who think we should be able to change and therefore should change who we are. I can’t change being a Chicana anymore than I can change my queerness. Neither can my undocumented queer brothers and sisters change who they are.

This attempt at law, as it is written and passed now, will not survive the court challenges. This is a blatant move to bypass the constitution. In Sunday’s New York Times the point was obvious:

One night last week, Grant Woods, the former state attorney general, spent more than an hour on the telephone with Gov. Jan Brewer, a fellow Republican who was considering whether to sign into law the nation’s toughest immigration enforcement bill.

The governor listened patiently, Mr. Woods recalled, as he laid out his arguments against the bill: that it would give too much power to the local police to stop people merely suspected of being illegal immigrants and would lead to racial profiling; that some local police officers have been abusive toward immigrants; and that the law could lead to costly legal battles for the state.

When he hung up, Mr. Woods knew he had lost the case. “She really felt that the majority of Arizonans fall on the side of, Let’s solve the problem and not worry about the Constitution,” he said.

The same people who passed that immigration law, took away DP benefits.

There are queers among the undocumented who had to leave in a hurry because they are gay. There are people from the US who are in relationships with undocumented people.

LGBT groups, cities, human rights commissions all over the country are mobilizing a boycott of Arizona.

Many people in the country think of us as LGBT people as freaks, less than equal, illegal. If we were all legal and equal we wouldn’t need to protest inequalities like DADT, ENDA, adoption laws, gay bashings. We are all the “others”, we are the outliers that continue to be unequal.

1 comment:

theOther said...


Great job at showing the connection between the identity of Latino/a and LGBT. We must be loud and proud to take a stand and voice against the dehumanization of all people. Once this whole AZ bill is undone there will be great NEED for continued mobilization to protect humanity.

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