Jasmyme_pix_3_bw_1_1So in case you haven’t heard, there’s a big brouhaha over my article on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights and illegal immigration.

Immigration reform is a difficult issue, I realize that.  But I also realize and respect the fact that we all see this issue differently whether due to race, socio-economic background, or just geographic location. 

My reality in South Los Angeles may not be your reality.

I believe that America needs immigration reform but how we will get there still remains to be seen.

At the same time, I also believe that America needs to take care of its citizens who don’t yet have all of their rights, including the right to marry, access to affordable housing, access to a better education, access to healthcare, and access to jobs that pay livable wages.

I am perfectly aware that immigrants are not only Latino’s. Many of my friends are immigrants from African and the West Indies. I am not against immigration or immigration reform.  However, whether or not illegal immigrant rights should be addressed before addressing the rights of legal citizens is debate that is ongoing.  No one is right and no one is wrong.  We all have the right to our own opinion on how things should be handled.  If the Congress and Senate can’t even agree, why should we expect all gays to be in agreement on this issue?

Now let’s get down to it…

Gay rights, HIV/AIDS, and immigration reform should not and cannot be the only issues that gays do coalition building on.

I would be remised if I didn’t point out the fact that while there is this swelling support for illegal immigrants from the gay community, I have yet to see this kind of support for issues that are equally important to Blacks, like stopping police brutality in our communities, the call for Reparations, and ending gang violence. In fact, there were very few, and I mean few, gay organizations that publicly supported renewal of certain parts of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that are due to expire in 2007.  I haven’t heard a peep from these gay organizations about the rate of Black male incarceration or the death penalty either?  What about the misogyny and homophobia found in today’s hip hop lyrics?  Haven’t seen or heard much from gays on that issue either. 

When we talk about coalition building it needs to be about more than immigration, AIDS, and gay rights.

And finally, why wasn’t this open letter addressed to the Black community as well, since I do belong to both?

It’s important to mention that Blacks continue to be more divided than ever on this issue, and being that I am Black I fall into that category as well. The fact that I am a lesbian does not take precedence over the fact that I am Black.

But let us be clear, if I had wrote a piece about open borders for all and that gays and lesbians should be out there fighting for the rights of immigrants, we would not be having this conversation today.  But because I didn’t, I am being called out by others in the gay community who wish to press upon me there views and ideas.  Fine, but I will be paying particularly close attention to see if this group also calls out other writers and activists including Blacks whether straight or gay, who voice opinions conflicting with their point of view.

The Last Word: At the end of the day, this conversation of who is right and who is wrong could go on forever.  You are welcome to your opinion as I am welcome to my own. I will not be put into a box because I am Black lesbian nor will I will be bullied into silence by those who disagree with my article.  My voice is my own when I cease to use it, it will be up to me and only me.