An excerpt from Chasing Romney: How Mitt Romney is Losing the Latino Vote
I walked into a room that was filled with some unusual characters. I saw Marla, a young girl I met when we were both crashing at Caesar’s and an Arizona protest. Eric was there too, and also Danny, a familiar face from some Arizona protests. There were around twenty other people in rows of seats in a small box of a room with one purple wall. Against the purple wall was a table with five speakers and a small eraser board with every imaginable undocumented, gay and Latino slur written on it from faggot to wetback to beaner. I never did quite get the story behind that board.
We made our way into seats, and I sat next to a girl with a crew cut and very nervous, energetic disposition, sitting curled up on her seat. She rocked with pent up energy and seemed a little sensitive. Considering the accepting environment, her squirrely ways were pretty easy to overlook. In front of us was a man in partial drag, his clothing being androgynous, while her earrings were clearly feminine, as was what appeared to be a little bit of makeup. In front of me sat a couple with a deep-fried southern accent, covered head to toe in exotic Japanese tattoos, their tattoo artist being an associate of Horiyoshi III, whose tattoo museum blew me away in Yokohama.
When the guys behind the table started talking, they began with their coming out stories. Some confessed how they promised themselves every year they would come out on their birthday, but every birthday was passed in a closet. Others recalled how their religious parents didn’t accept it, saying things like God wouldn’t make a gay person, why do you choose to be gay?
It was a charged room, with many members fighting back tears the entire time as they heard stories similar to their own most traumatic experiences. They shared how, even within the DREAMer movement, a group of guys who know what it’s like to be slandered ruthlessly, they’ve experienced trouble finding acceptance. They have often had to “tone down the gay” after they noticed uncomfortable jokes and laughter around other DREAMers who came from conservative homes. Considering how a common gesture in the room was an attitude-alluding finger snap followed up immediately with a hand on a hip, this was a pretty damn gay group, and I understood how a guy not used to gay people could feel uncomfortable. It must have been refreshing for them to be able to gay it up so much in that moment.