Growing up Latina, I was taught the importance of family from an early age. Our families are at the center of everything we do; they are there for us during the most significant moments of our lives and the most painful ones. As Latinos, we are taught to support all of our family members unconditionally, no matter the circumstance. It’s part of who we are.
Our relationships with the ones we love and our Latino identities are two of the biggest reasons why we should care about equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in America. When we see our Latino hermanos y hermanas harassed and held back simply for being who they are; when we can’t come together to celebrate a wedding for our gay friends; and when we know they don’t have the same opportunities we take for granted, it affects us personally.
I’ve spent my life championing both labor and civil rights causes and getting to know diverse perspectives; I’ve come to see that the struggles gay people face are intertwined with my own struggles. On a practical level, the gay community was key in my work with the farm workers’ movement, from organizing to striking. The farm workers, in turn, have shown their support by marching in gay pride marches and carrying pride flags to display their support. On a deeper level, this work has shown me that when we talk about workers’ rights, women’s rights, and civil rights, we are having the same conversation about human rights – and the universal struggle to be understood and treated as equals.
A wonderful op-ed by Dolores Huerta, a labor and civil rights icon and co-founder of the United Farm Workers. She's been outspoken opponent of California's Proposition 8 and a supporter of equality.