RUKUS society has the slogan of “Action speaks louder than voice”. One of the things I have been saying after working on the immigrants’ rights movement is that the subject of Queerness is silence a lot especially here in the state where I live, so for me “Silence speaks louder than words”.
Today while coming back from groceries shopping I realized that is not only the silence of others who have hurt me, but also the silence I have done to myself. I have also been silencing my queerness to others in my community, fearful of rejection and the possibility of losing all the hard work I have done. Silencing myself has truly hurt my self-esteem and my worthiness.
But in order to break the silence the others have done, I need to break my own, so I can truly fulfilled the quote my friend Jon Rodney from California heard from me when I said: “We need not only to come out of the closet and wonder inside of the house; we need to open the door of the outside and not being afraid to show to the realness of our life.
I do not know why people are afraid to be vulnerable; people think is a sign of weakness because you are letting the community know who you are. But I believe this makes me real and open to my own community so they know I am not superman, I am not the strong leader to follow. Because I am not here to be followed, I am here to help you be who you need to be, and then we can start walking together, fighting together, crying together, laughing together and advancing together. This is the true and real leader, the one who can lead out of his/her weaknesses.
We do not have to be afraid of showing our down moments. We think we only need to show our high and exciting times so others can get encouraged, but how are they going to get encouraged if they do not know you can also get discouraged?
I believe that an effective community organizer needs to show the good and the bad, the low and high, the cry and the laugh, the fear and the trust, so we can really connect with the people, con el pueblo. But at the same time there are levels of vulnerability and in my daily practice as an organizer I have not being able to overcome my own fears of rejection. So my vulnerability stops the moment fear arrives to me, and paralyzes any attempt to be open to others.
I am not ashamed of who I am, come on! It took me 39 years to develop that self-confidence to believe in who I am, but I am still fearful of facing the unknown minds of the straight world. Pema Chödron says: “As we tentatively step put of our cocoon, we’re bound to be afraid and grab on to what is familiar. Without ongoing patience and kindness toward this inevitable process, we will never trust that it’s wise and compassionate to relax into the egoless state. We have to gradually develop the confidence that is liberating to let go. It takes time to develop enthusiasm for how to remaining open really feels” (The Places That Scare You, p 107)
So it is not only my willingness to break the silence, but it is also the panic of what would happen when I start shatter other people’s fears. We are waiting for the right moment to deal with difficult issues because we do not know what others would think, feel or even react to our liberation statement. I am 42 years old, and I live in the year 2012, I really think is time to stand up and speak out.
LGTBQIA (Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual) rights are Immigrant rights as well. LGTBQIA rights are women rights as well. LGTBQIA rights are every human right as well. Yes! This is my statement tonight, because if I fight for the rights of undocumented students, families, moms and dads, if I fight for freedom of religion; if I stand beside you as my brother and sister in this journey for human rights, social justice, tolerance, equality and human dignity, I need to bring my whole self to this. I cannot leave it out, and I hope you can also do the same.
I am Miguel Carpizo-Ituarte, I’m Queer, courageous and shameless.