Assalamualaikum, May peace be upon you:
I dedicate this talk to Pulse Victims who the majority were Latinx and for my Muslims comrades. These two communities who, as well as others, always trying to find their place in our society.
My name is Miguel Carpizo and I am a Muslim, Mexican and gay.
I am glad I decided to accept myself the way God created me! There are no mistakes in God’s creation. It is indeed a hard journey to go through, but it is also very fulfilling to be able to be free in who I am. I used to ask the question “why me Lord?” many times, and asked God to make me a “normal” person. As husband and Pastor in The United Methodist Church (UMC), those cries were in my heart everyday, and suicide was part of my life in many moments.
I tried to change, went to ex-gay ministries where they taught me how to be a “REAL” man, and act like a man. I went to healing prayers, they anointed me with oil, went to Christian therapy, and after 13 years of marriage nothing was changing, So that is when I decided it was time to come out to myself after going through a very hard and deep emotional crisis.
Finally, I decided to accept myself. My ex-wife along with some friends and family accepted me, helped me and some even supported me financially when the church asked to leave and I lost my job of 10 years and eventually lost the called to be a minister.
Coming out to close friends and family is one thing, but then trying to integrate myself into the LGTBQ community, that is another story. I thought I was joining a loving and accepting community. I thought people were going to embrace me and encourage me in my new journey. I thought I was going to receive more support than rejection. Oh, how wrong was I!!
I found out really quickly that racism, genders, ageism, sizesim (body shaming), xenophobia, and even homophobia existed in what we call the LGBTQ community.
I soon realized that in order to be more accepted in this community you needed to be white, twink (skinny), have the perfect body with 6-pack and all and to have cute face. I suddenly realized that the hook up world and sexual objectivity was more important than getting to know someone and have deep and strong connections. Its very easy to fall into this trap, I myself have been a participant and complicit in this.
I learned that there are so many groups, some many divisions, and still so much prejudice among us. In the online dating world, there are profiles that read: no Black, no fat, no creepy, no older, no bottoms, no tops, (but sugar daddies are welcome!) and they end with the most prejudice phrase ever: these are my preferences. In all honesty, I feel that these words “these are my preferences” have become an excuse to be prejudice and racist.
We speak out against bullying to the people out side of our community, but we keep forgetting, we are bullying ourselves as well. We fight for marriage equality, and job discrimination. However, we as the LGBTQ community must recognize that we are still complicit in white privilege, racism, patriarchy, misogyny, and the oppression of communities of color. #NoJusticeNoPride.
We say that we want diversity so we reach out to the Latinx community without really understanding and accepting those cultures. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen folks co-opt our culture and use our people for their benefit. Here’s an example, you celebrate Cinco de Mayo or how folks here in the U.S. call it “Drinko de Mayo” and dress up with a sombreros, wear a moustache, have maracas, eat tacos and drink margaritas. Ah! But you still say, “Build that wall!” And somehow while you celebrate those holidays you forget about our undocumented Queer community that are locked up in detention centers across the country and in fear of being deported. We must break ties with those corporations who want to attract our investments as Latinx but at the same time are promoting detention center for immigrants and profit from incarcerating POC.
We must stop and re-think about the true meaning of community. That would be a tremendous transformation among us. We have done an unconscious mistake, we have made of the word “community” at the end of “The LGTBQ Community” a noun when in reality should be a verb. “Reaching community is both intentional and challenging. The group process requires that an individual give up learned defenses and habitual way of behaving. Through increases responsibility, risk and vulnerability of its member, a group develops into a “safe Place” providing an environment of acceptance, appreciation of human diversity, and nurturance of personal growth, healing and self-discovery” (Community Building Process taken from brochure titled “1996 Schedule of Events”)
Practicing community should be part of our daily lives. We should be building each other and our communities up every single day. This is the reason I accepted the invitation to come and speak to all of you today. I am reaching out, I am building, I am connecting, I am practicing community.
After 8 years of coming out, I am still here, I am still continuing this work. Building community is never ending. There are endless possibilities to things that we can all achieve together. I see that potential in this community.
I will continue in this struggle called life, I will continue to love myself, and I will keep building my self-esteem and self-worth. I will continue to battle my struggle with depression and anxiety but I will always be vulnerable, and real about my own journey.
I would like to wish you Happy Pride, but I also want to acknowledge that there are many who still struggling, who still trying to find who they are, who risk being fired form their jobs or who cannot come out because their families will reject them or shun them therefore end up homeless. There are those like me, who are suffering from anxiety and depression and cannot find a reason to keep living. There are still a lot of people who do not feel accepted as part of the whole LGTBQAI and more.
We need to embrace the new colors, the new identities, the new ideologies and Faith beliefs. We also need to not just acknowledge our mistakes, failures, and own prejudices, but continue to move forward and find ways to change them.
My hope and prayer is that you can find a safe place among your family, chosen family, friends, or among your Churches, Masjids, Temples, Synagogues; that you can have a support community who are willing to catch you if you fall, a community in which you can be vulnerable. That we can practice community, be intentional and challenging, open to listening and to change, but most of all be vulnerable because that is the way we can best identify with others who are also trying to connect.
I praise Allah for inspiring me to say what is right, and ask his blessings and pardon for whatever I said that was wrong. Inshallah!