American flags were being waved alongside chants of "Veto Romney, not the DREAM Act." The crowd had gotten particularly energetic as they spied Craig Romney outside with his son. They chanted a bit harder, until Craig walked inside. This is the third or fourth Undocuqueer demonstration I'd been to where immigrants and the LGBTQ community joined up. Considering how the leaders within the Latino movement are disproportionately queer and women, this isn't particularly surprising.
For Latinos, women and the LGBTQ community, Republican rhetoric has been harsh. For Latinos, the promised veto of the DREAM Act, "self-deportation" plan for all 12 million undocumented immigrants and racial profiling laws like SB 1070 are only a few of his platforms they find offensive, if not outright racially charged. For the LGBTQ community, Romney spoke at Liberty University about his strong stance against marriage equality a week after the story of him leading a group to bully a boy they speculated was gay, forcibly cutting his hair.
For women, the GOP has taken a hardline stance against women's reproductive rights. The head of Planned Parenthood, Cecile Richards, stated that Romney and Ryan were dedicated to "ending insurance coverage for birth control" and were trying to "turn the clock back on a century of progress for women." The "legitimate rape" statement from Todd Akin just helped to remind the public of incidents like Romney's complete lack of an adequate response to Limbaugh calling Sandra Fluke a slut.
Jorge Gutierrez, a DREAMer from DREAM Team L.A., talked about Mitt Romney, who was currently addressing the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce inside the Los Angeles Convention Center Gutierrez was busying demonstrating outside of. His sentiment was one that I have heard many times before within the Latino community, however, as a gay man he also added his take on coalitions between his minority groups.
"Especially around LGBTQ and immigrant communities, a lot of coalitions and alliances have been built around this platform that we need to work together when we have someone attacking us and really trying to oppress our community" explained Gutierrez. One need look no further than Voto Latino, where Maria Theresa Kumar and Roasario Dawson host panels with Cecile Richards to see how women and Latinos are banding together as groups harmed by Republican rhetoric.
There have been cultural clashes between DREAM organizers and gay organizers in the past, the mostly Mexican immigrants occasionally find their allies at odds with their more traditional beliefs. The stories of serious disagreements have grown older, gay leaders of the movement have risen with greater frequency and today "Undocuqueer" is a common theme in the DREAMer movement. The Undocuqueer movement has been finding traction as many Latino organizers who are gay conveniently inhabit two important political networks, both of which have serious axes to grind for Republicans.
Between the War on Women that Republicans saw explode several times this cycle in the media, Romneys harsh, anti-Latino immigration policy and a willingness to bully gays in front of Liberty University, it's no surprise he's building strong coalitions against himself. The Republicans are undeniably strengthening their perception as the party of the angry, rich, white man, perhaps verbally abusing a chair with a complete disconnect from reality. They're alienating organizers in each community, and those organizers are finding it easier to band together against a common enemy.
At the end of my interview with Jorge, I asked if there was anything he would want to say to legislators at both ends of the aisle as both a gay and Latino organizer. With a nod to his coalition, he echoed the same demand for dignity every gay and DREAMer friend I've ever had has made: "We're working together, building a coalition around our issues, and we demand full equality"
Catch the full interview here
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