HRC Blog

Personal Reflection on NOM’s Plan to Pit LGBT People against African Americans and Latinos

Rohmteen MokhtariThe following post comes from Rohmteen Mokhtari, HRC’s Family Project Assistant:

My sophomore year of high school as I watched the documentary I Exist: Voices from the Lesbian and Gay Middle Eastern Community in the US, I remember feeling relieved to learn that I was not the only gay person in the Iranian-American community.

I was reminded of the film this morning as I read the  HRC-obtained previously confidential documents from the National Organization for Marriage outlining a $2 million strategy to oppose marriage equality by  “[driving] a wedge between gays and blacks” and by framing marriage equality as a dangerous part of “the process of assimilation to the dominant Anglo culture” in order to present opposition to marriage equality as “a key badge of Latino identity - a symbol of resistance to inappropriate assimilation.”

What troubles me about this messaging is that it assumes that gays and lesbians seeking marriage equality exist only outside of the communities of color NOM is targeting. It assumes that we are outsiders seeking to erode the community’s identity by forcing, to borrow NOM’s terminology, an “Anglo culture” onto communities of color.

This is an all too familiar argument for me and as a proud member of both the Iranian-American and LGBT communities,  I feel the need to assert that I exist. LGBT people of color exist. Our families are not “Anglo" constructs. We are a part of every community.

We will continue to work within our own communities of color, within our faith communities and within the LGBT community, not to impose “inappropriate assimilation,” but to ensure that our voices as LGBT people of color are heard.

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