Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) is honoring
Reverend Irene Monroe at their 13th Annual Spirit of Justice Award
Dinner on Friday, October 26th in Boston!
an African American feminist theologian, Rev. Irene speaks for a
sector of society that is frequently invisible. She is being honored
for her life-long work advancing the public conversation about race,
gender, and sexual orientation; in particular for encouraging the
LGBT community to confront racism; and the African American community
to confront homophobia.
in Boston, GLAD’s work – from its marriage equality victories in
Goodridge and Kerrigan, to its triumph in the U.S. Tax Court on
behalf of a transgender woman, to its recent challenges to the
federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) – makes it a leader in the
fight to end discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, HIV
status, and gender identity and expression nationwide.
to make a gift to GLAD and show your support for Rev. Irene.
Overlooked and too often not reported on are the thousands of Central Americans coming to the U.S. fleeing anti-gay persecution.The kerfuffle concerning
undocumented immigrants and legalizing same-sex marriage are usually
competing and unresolved hot-button issues for voters heading toward
the ballot box. Immigration advocates and LGBTQ rights groups have
long tried to get its constituencies working together.
the efforts have been abysmal.
But organizations like Casa de
Maryland, a community organization advocating for undocumented
immigrants has formed an alliance with Equality Maryland and the
Latino GLBT History Project.
This might be
the first such alliance in the country. Voter outcome of this
alliance will determine its success.
The alliance, albeit not
an uncontentious union, will allow proponents for in-state tuition
for undocumented immigrants and/or same-sex marriage to pull support
from each other’s base at the ballot box.
move is brilliant. It’s a strength-through-unity approach.
an April report from the Pew Hispanic Center, it revealed that 59
percent of Latinos accept lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and
queer (LGBTQ) Americans. And a report released by the National
Council of La Raza and Social Science Research Solutions in April
found that 54 percent of Hispanics support same-sex marriage, a
higher percentage than the general population. And certainly a far
greater percentage than in my community.
In 2008, according to
the Pew Research Center, approximately 95 percent of the African
American populace cast their ballot for Obama, and only 26 percent
were in favor of same-sex marriage.
publicly announced his support for marriage equality in May,
according to Pew results in April, 49 percent of African Americans
were not in favor of same-sex marriage while only 39 percent were.
And since Obama's announcement endorsing marriage equality some
African American ministers have come out more vociferously against
Similarly, conservative Latino religious leaders are
strong opponents against marriage equality and have come out
forcefully against the alliance.
“Why does man want to
redefine what God already established?” Paredes yelled as the
congregation nodded and clapped. “Man is not the inventor of
marriage! God is!”
The Rev. Heber D. Paredes of Iglesia Roca
de la Eternidad, a Hispanic Pentecostal church in Landover Hills,
espouses a typical and uninformed statement about marriage. Like most
religious homophobes he's a prominent cleric in conservative circles
and his influence is far-reaching. His community clout with
parishioners is as strong and powerful as that of African American
These Latino religious leaders see the alliance of
immigration and same-sex marriage as a ballot box initiative not only
as exploitative, but also as a deal with the devil—they feel deeply
betrayed. Do they have to compromise their theological beliefs to
gain legal documentation.?
Religiously conservative families
feel Casa has veered from its mission in order to promulgate a gay
agenda under the guise of helping Latino immigrants, or as the only
way it will help Latino immigrants.
“It surprises me,”
said Maria Delgado, 30, of Hyattsville, who was attending services
with her six children. “Because really they help people to work,
they help people with families.”
As an African American feminist theologian, Rev. Irene speaks for a sector of society that is frequently invisible.Casa has provided immigrant
services to Latino families through the years. Founded in 1985, Casa
"was created in response to the human needs of the thousands of
Central Americans arriving to the D.C. area after fleeing wars and
civil strife in their countries of origin."
and too often not reported on are the thousands of Central Americans
coming to the U.S. fleeing anti-gay persecution. These Central
Americans are not only here because of the civil wars going on in
their countries but they are also here because of their sexual
orientation, or trans identity or HIV status.
American countries like Panama, Nicaragua, Belize, Honduras, to name
just a few, do not allow its LGBTQ citizens to serve openly in the
military, or recognize same-sex unions, marriages and adoptions. And
none of these countries have a hate crime bill.
attitudes and times are changing for a younger generation. Younger
generations of LGBTQ Central Americans here in the states are not
only coming out to their families but they are helping others in
their communities to come out. Because they see the intersectionality
of oppressions it that makes easier for them to form alliances.
Immigration advocates and LGBTQ rights groups have long tried to get its constituencies working together.For
example, a gay,
undocumented immigrant from Guatemala, Edwin Guil, 22, says he is
used to being discriminated against. But when a gay friend recently
said he was not going to vote for President Obama because of his
program to stop deporting some undocumented immigrant youths, Guil, a
college student, decided it was time for some cross-cultural
The future for disenfranchised groups to thrive is
to form alliances, ones that not only strengthens their causes, but
ones that genuinely unites us across our difference.
Latino community in Maryland is operating, as least theoretically,
within a paradigm we social justice activists espouse.
November, the voter outcome will determine the success of the
alliance forged with Casa de Maryland, Equality Maryland and Latino
GLBT History Project. The proof will be in the pudding.
Board member and Columnist, the Rev. Irene Monroe, is a religion
columnist, theologian, and public speaker.
is the Coordinator of
of the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry
(CLGS) at the Pacific School of Religion.
native of Brooklyn, Rev. Monroe is a graduate from Wellesley College
and Union Theological Seminary at Columbia University, and served as
a pastor at an African-American church before coming to Harvard
Divinity School for her doctorate as a Ford Fellow. She was recently
named to MSNBC’s list of
Black Women You Should Know.
Reverend Monroe is the author of
Your Light Shine Like a Rainbow Always: Meditations on Bible Prayers
for Not’So’Everyday Moments.
As an African-American feminist theologian, she speaks for a sector
of society that is frequently invisible. Her website
to contact the Rev. Monroe.