Today, even as the US Congress FINALLY voted to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and paved the way for allowing gays to openly serve in the military, I got this reminder that full-on prejudice remains very much alive in the United States (and I'm not even talking about Senator John McCain's desperate last ditch attacks against the law's repeal on the Senate floor today).
As my Twitter friend @RachelLapp alerted me on Thursday, members of a Hispanic evangelical church in Miami were organizing a protest against national Spanish-language television network Univision claiming they had aired "pornographic, indecent or obscene" content when they ran a November 2 special on pop singer Ricky Martin.
I'm not sure what sort of coverage it will get today, even in Miami, but Rachel, once again, alerted me to this photo posted by Venezuelan actress Maria Elena Heredia on Twitpic (and re-posted here by permission). She apparently wasn't aware of the protest until she drove by it and wrote, in Spanish, "Miami protest against Ricky Martin for his confession!!! UNHEARD OF! Such backwardness #NOH8".
The turn out looks like a healthy number. By this pic alone, it seems there were, at least, 200 people or so. The signs seem to have been printed by the same person and distributed to participants. They are all in Spanish and the ones that I can read say "UNIVISION, CHANGE YOUR WAYS", "U.S.: Return to God and he who blessed you" and "RICKY: You mess up our children's heads".
Hm, I have a feeling that the ones with the messed up heads are pretty visible in this picture.
As I said my previous post, I thought twice about posting the information about the protest because I didn't want to give these loony-tunes more attention than they deserved. I even kept from providing a direct link to the organizer's website.
decided to poke around. Their reason? I love this Cindy Casares quote in taking up the organizers' assertions that Latinos culture is inherently homophobic: "We hate nothing more than when another Latino presumes to speak for us in the name of some blanket generalization."
Readers commenting on a Joe.My.God. blog post also pointed out something else: Ricky Martin's interview with Maria Elena Salinas, as it ran in "Aqui y Ahora", was in no way pornographic, indecent or obscene. What has these Miami homobigots all in a tizzy is the fact that someone like Ricky Martin dared to speak up - as a huge figure in Latin America - and say that being gay and coming out has made him a much happier man. From "Jack": "The complaint is not that a gay person was interviewed but that the interview showed a successful and (now) happy gay person. Miserable, decrepit, poor, suicidal gay people are beautiful. Happy, successful gay people are obscene."
In that regard, see this as what it is in the annals of history: These are the John McCains of the Hispanic community in the United States. They are losing their shit because they know they are grasping at straws and keep slipping into oblivion.
Not that their homophobic hate should be taken lightly: It has and will continue to elicit violence against queers and, in this case, specifically, in the Latino community they purport to represent.
But, ultimately, it speaks to these changing times - and the importance in the Latino community of someone like Ricky Martin saying "Yes, I am".