Saturday, September 17, 2005

Zapatista (queer) love

It has been a couple of years since I had my big blow up with the Zapatista movement (well, as big a blow up as you can have on the internet).

For the better part of the last decade I have run what I can safely say is the most comprehensive compedium of Spanish and English-language news related to the Latino LGBT community in the United States and Latin America outside of Google alerts (ok, some might call it spam as I send up to 15 or 20 messages a day). Well, over the years I have posted a couple of the queer-friendly - yet mysterious - and, to be charitable, "unabridged" statements from that pipe-smoking, green eyed (or brown-eyed?), ski mask-wearing and revolutionary Subcomandante Marcos (some dare call him a stud, though as in many a chat room, I'd rather see a guy's face before passing judgement).

Now, befrore you say that I am belittling the Zapatistas (¡avemariadelvirgendecastro!), please understand that when a guerrilla movement shows queer love, queer love must be bestowed back. Particularly in a region as needful of revolutionary action as Chiapas, Mexico. But, then again, I come from Colombia, where blind idolatry for revolutionary guerrilla movements such as the FARC have led to a murderous, isolationist and extremist form of left-wing ideology that is as bad (if not even worse) as the government's military actions.

What brought things to head was that I refused to post information on local (as in NJ) Zapatista movement meetings that had nothing to do with LGBT issues. The argument was that if the Zapatistas embraced queers, then everyone should embrace the Zapatistas, and that that if Zapatistas were so open to queer expression, then every Zapatista meeting / gathering was a queer gathering, even if it wasn't. I gently reminded 'the movement' that by that logic I'd be posting every sinle thing that Walter Mercado said in his astrology shows just because he was so queer. And then I heard nothing...

(Full disclosure: I also sent a previous message to Subcomandante Marcos harranguing him for releasing a statement that went on and on... and on... about a supposed lesbian British pirate from the 17th or 18th century when so many gays and lesbians in Mexico were in need and, at least at the time, he hadn't said anything about them)

So it was a surprise when, years later (about a month ago), I got an e-mail in my inbox from the Zapatista movement with another long-winded statement from Subcomandante Marcos that made it clear that queer movements were welcome (in paragraph 452 or so).

Then this week, I get another message from the local Zapatista camp alerting me to an article from the Mexican newspaper La Jornada reporting that, yes, some queers, lesbians, gays, feminists and assorted progressive left movements had shown up for a week-long Zapatista gathering at which Subcomandante Marcos announced a "New Movement" and the "Subcomandante Marcos National Tour 2005." All the love is not shared by this article, which says that there were some catcalls from some of the attendees. But, then again, the allegations come from a gringo imperialist newspaper.

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