On Saturday, December 18, the United States Senate voted to block the DREAM Act from moving further in its path to citizenship. It immediately followed with a historic vote to dump the horrid Don't Ask Don't Tell law.
As a queer Latina, I found myself in the same quandary as the night Prop 8 won and Barack Obama was elected President. I didn't know whether to cry or dance, weep or shout, be enraged or engaged. Instead I made cookies. There at least I have complete control over what happens.
As my mailbox quickly flooded with the joyous and angry messages from the different camps I wondered about the future.
Many of my Latino colleagues have talked about the bullying they have experienced from people in the LGBT community in cyberspace for their advocacy of both immigration reform and the DREAM Act.
Conversely, our Latino advocates have been so consumed with immigration that there was hardly a word spoken about DADT nor ENDA, which disappeared in this Congress.
Where are those of us who now live at the intersection of yes and no?
Yes, we can go in the military in the future if that is our choice. No, we can't be recognized as citizens if we came here with our families as children. The inequality remains for us throughout the land.
As the national political landscape begins its rapid change in the new year, where does that leave my community? We have a voice in California with Speaker of the House, John Perez. At the national level, not so much.
While angry voices talk about practical ideas such as withholding donations from Dems who voted against the DREAM act and regrouping for the next movida to gain equality, I wonder here what the future holds for the young queer people of color denied hope today.
As much as we talk about supporting our LGBT youth, can we support LGBT immigrant youth? Now that we have DADT, we need to get ENDA passed. But can we also be part of the movement to bring equality to everyone?
Many of our organizations have done work as allies in the immigration movement. There is a wide swath of organizations who understand the need to work in collaboration and who can see that equality for everyone means just that. Not just for queers, for the monied, for the whites only, that a true social justice movement is inclusive of all.
Right about now I can hear a certain groups of people screaming about law-breakers. But if I recall correctly, sodomy was illegal not too long ago. So was dancing with someone of the same gender. And marrying someone of a different race.
The country changes, sometimes for the better, sometimes not. But I heard the wail today of millions of Latinos across the country. It is the wail of lost hope and lost dreams.
I don't know what comes next for us in the Latino community, let alone the Latino/POC LGBT community.
All I know is the lesson I learned from my elders. When we are knocked down, eventually we get up again and fight another day.
Adelante hermanos y hermanas, will will see justice in our lifetimes.