LGBT community has more to worry about than marriage equality

romeroI initially wanted to write this column explaining why gay marriage is not important as the media make it out to be. Why, as a 21-year-old gay Latino man, gay marriage really does nothing for me.

Do I want to get married and settle down with one man for the rest of my life? Definitely. I was going to try and convince you why my really unpopular views on marriage “equality” are better than yours.

But that’s no way to educate someone. I don’t want to give you the sob story of my oppression. I will, however, try to explain that there are other issues than marriage equality. Not better or worse issues, but others.

 

 

What is happening to queer people in Russia is horrible. Their rights are being violated. President Vladimir Putin and his government have created an environment of hostility and violence toward gay people. Anti-LGBT laws only justify any violence that private citizens commit toward one another.

But we don’t live in a post-homophobic society. Just because the Defense of Marriage Act was ruled unconstitutional does not mean the work is done.

I believe LGBT political and media organizations are rallying against the gross violations in Sochi, Russia, because the debate of marriage equality has been decided by the Supreme Court here in the U.S.

Basically, the LGBT community is running out of things to be angry about.

This is so far from the truth. The gay media and political organizations have so much work to do for our youth. Although Russia passed an anti-gay propaganda law which makes any LGBT information directed toward minors illegal, the American queer community is failing our youth, too.

The most shocking statistic is that 40 percent of all homeless youth identify as LGBT. And many of these homeless LGBT kids are people of color. Clearly, there are multiple axes of discrimination that affect a person’s social location.

Another issue that does not get addressed by the mainstream gay media is how the LGBT community often perpetuates a culture of racism. It’s important to note that racism takes many forms. Racism is more complex than obvious and blatant situations like a slur or physical violence. But unfortunately for queer people of color, like myself, we are more likely to be victims of homicide than my white gay friends.

73 percent of LGBT murders are people of color. Nearly three-fourths of people who are killed for their sexual orientation have brown, black or some variation of tan skin. This is absolutely disgusting, and it sickens me that people in Russia are getting more attention than our own people. Our own citizens.

The media nearly always portray LGBT people in movies and television shows as white middle class gay men. We hardly ever see lesbians or people of color or trans people represented. The media give this false notion that gay people are financially well off and that we have the money to adopt developing world babies, live in a nice neighborhood and go to college. Actually, same-sex families are more likely to be in poverty.

I could go on and on about other inequalities. I didn’t even get to the surface of transgender people. I don’t feel right talking about their experience because I do not know what it’s like to be trans. I do know how the “T” in LGBT is pretty much politically nonexistent. Also, people don’t realize that the “T” is not a sexual orientation, it’s a gender identity or expression.

Hopefully, this column enlightens many of you who did not know of these astounding and urgent statistics. Hopefully, you don’t completely buy into all the hype the gay media tries to sell you on how America is a champion of gay rights and every other country is backwards. Hopefully you, as I have done, recognize your own privileges.

Reach the columnist at gromero7@asu.edu or follow him on Twitter @gilromeo92