Intersection of LGBTQ, Immigrant Rights a Focus at Equality March

San Jose was the only Bay Area city to take part in Sunday’s national human rights protest known as the Equality March for Unity & Pride, which drew about 350 people locally and thousands more in places like Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.

For the majority of participants, including Julie Jones, a transgender woman from East San Jose, the march was personal.

“A big part of this is that I have spent so much of my life being scared and I’m tired of it,” Jones said. “I refuse to be afraid anymore.”

Pride Month is typically a time for celebration, but the Trump administration’s recent changes to legal protections for the LGBTQ community and immigrants provoked the nationwide political procession. Sunday’s march sought to unite communities of diverse backgrounds, sexual orientations and gender identities while calling attention to issues faced by minority groups in the U.S.

“This is where intersectionality really counts,” said Estefania Bautista, a member of Student Advocates for Higher Education, an organization that promotes higher education among undocumented immigrants. According to Bautista, the plights of undocumented LGBTQ people are often forgotten in mainstream activist movements.

In contrast, intersectionality and inclusion were at the core of the Equality March.

People carried signs that read: “We Will Not Back Down” and “No Ban, No Wall” while chanting, “No hate, no fear, everyone is welcome here.” Participants were of all ages and belonged to a vast array of cultural and religious backgrounds.

A pre-rally at San Jose City Hall included performances by Aztec dance group Kalpulli Izakalli and an open-mic session during which longtime activists and neophytes shared their experiences of coming out.

Reverend Nancy Palmer Jones, 65, of the First Unitarian Church of San Jose recently came out and sang her own rendition of the hymn “We are are a gentle angry people” by Holly Near. The lyrics, “We are trans and cis together and we are singing, singing for our lives,” echoed down San Fernando Street following her performance.

Isaac Oster, a 16-year-old pansexual male, wore a “pussy hat,” a symbol from the Women’s March, and lauded Del Mar High School for cultivating a diverse and tolerant student body. “That diversity is where new ideas come from,” he said. “Cutting off those perspectives is cutting off possibilities.”

State Assembly aide Shay Franco-Clausen announced her plan to be the first queer woman of color to run for San Jose’s City Council, which was met with applause.

At noon, the crowd made its way from City Hall to Plaza de César Chávez, where a rally was held. A score of organizations awaited, along with live music, food trucks and impassioned speeches from community leaders, activists and numerous politicians.

Santa Clara County Supervisor Ken Yeager, the first openly gay elected official in Santa Clara County, was one of the first to speak. U.S. Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose) and Anna Eshoo (D-Palo Alto) also spoke at the event, as well as state senators Jim Beall (D-San Jose) and Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont), San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo and Vice Mayor Magdalena Carrasco.

Topics ranged from immigration rights to transphobia, HIV/AIDS education, homelessness, LGBTQ youth and racial justice. Speakers noted the progress achieved and pointed to the sobering realization that much more still needs to be done.

“2017 has been a tough year,” said Maribel Martinez, director of Santa Clara County’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs. “Today I’m here to remind us of our great strength. That still we continue. We persist. We dance and sing because we are resilient.”

Candelario Franco and three other members of the march’s Steering Committee gave the closing remarks.

“It is our time to fight back,” Franco said. “We will not be invisible, we will not be erased, we will not be discriminated against. We will stand up, we will speak up, we will be heard.”

See more photos of the San Jose Equality March for Unity & Pride.

11 Comments

  1. Yawn, Yawn!
    I was afraid SJI had gone out of business because it has been so quiet lately. After reading this I’m afraid you are just taking advantage of people with a mental health disorder.

  2. > which drew about 350 people locally . . .

    > “A big part of this is that I have spent so much of my life being scared and I’m tired of it,” Jones said Jones. “I refuse to be afraid anymore.”

    Julie has a fear problem.

    Here’s a suggestion for Julie that might help get her numbers up and build a “mass movement”:

    Make alliances with other phobic groups, like arachnophobics, herpetophobics, insectophobics, coulrophobics, agoraphobics, acrophobics, claustrophobics, Trumpophobics, etc. etc.

    Maybe Julie could get a start on her “desensitization therapy” by wearing at Trump hat to her next LGBTQ event.

  3. LGBT activists practice goal displacement as described by sociologist James M. Henslin. It’s akin to the March of Dimes after polio was conquered. Instead of declaring victory and moving on, they now embrace other causes such as illegals in a desperate bid for relevancy and funding. Equality has resulted in vastly shrinking revenues of LGBT groups. SJ’s DeFrank IRS 990 forms show income down by almost 90% from its peak and similar reductions elsewhere.

    “2017 has been a tough year,” said Maribel Martinez, director of Santa Clara County’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs. Nope, it’s been a terrific year. The 7th Circuit ruled that Civil Rights Act of 1965 protects gay and lesbian employees from workplace discrimination. Many argue this is much more important than the 2015 gay marriage Supreme Court decision.

    Franco said. “We will not be invisible, we will not be erased, we will not be discriminated against, we will not be discriminated against. We will stand up, we will speak up, we will be heard.” So much easier to bleat about fake discrimination and injustice than to urge volunteerism to improve our community.

    • > LGBT activists practice goal displacement as described by sociologist James M. Henslin.

      Excellent point.

      The “LGBT movement” itself was created as a “displacement” from the civil rights movement. After blacks won the rights for everything they could think of, the “civil rights activists” had to find another “victim tribe”.

      The irony is that “gays” were not nearly the victims that the “progressive” narrative required. Most gays were living quiet, peaceful lives “in the closet” , could obtain virtually all of the “rights” that they really cared about through civil law, and were, on the average, MORE prosperous than the population as a whole.

      > Equality has resulted in vastly shrinking revenues of LGBT groups.

      The reality is that the LGBT groups really didn’t need the revenues. They were plenty rich on their own. Other “victim tribes” really deserved the money more.

      • SJOTB, Gays & lesbians tend to be better educated and have higher disposable incomes. We also have higher rates of suicide and substance abuse.

        But job loss, employment discrimination, susceptibility to blackmail (& the excuse for not hiring gay cops & those needing security clearances), housing discrimination, professional suicide (public figures and professional sports), and being arrested for being gay or suspected of being has happened to me or people I’ve known.

        Neither I, nor the other 8.5 million US G&L adults were able to enjoy the rights we ‘really cared about’ until recently. See timeline http://www.cnn.com/2015/06/19/us/lgbt-rights-milestones-fast-facts/index.html

        Mr. Franco & his ilk wallow in the past instead of actions that benefit all SJ residents. Now that we’re equal, we should act like it.

        • > Neither I, nor the other 8.5 million US G&L adults were able to enjoy the rights we ‘really cared about’ until recently.

          For example. What are some of the rights you “were unable to enjoy until recently” that you really cared about?

          • Public accommodation (restaurant manager ordered staff not to serve us), job loss (jilted boy friend called my boss), and occasional assaults near gay bars. You learn to walk with house keys in your fist, assailants usually got the worst of it. Arrested (along with a few dozen others) as “inmate of a disorderly house” for being in a tame gay bar. Not so subtle message that the price had been raised for police protection payoffs.

            Back in the day, most G&L bars were mafia run in larger cities. Not much different than what blacks, Jews, etc. tell me they experienced at various times in the second half of the 20th century. Was able to donate blood & registered as organ donor when I lived overseas, but here only in past few years. Fear of AIDS resulted in funeral homes refusing services except 1 in Willow Glen. Two friends beaten to death. IRS filing as married couple is recent. No incidents in SJ, 1 in SF, others in midwest & east. No need to maintain SCC LGBT office now

  4. This article has some strange language:

    “This is where intersectionality really counts,” said Estefania…

    I might even agree—but the writer doesn’t define “intersectionality”. I guess I need to look up that word in my New Revised George Orwell dictionary.

    Estefania also claims that the plights of “undocumented” LGBTQ people are often forgotten, which just adds to the Orwell language corruption in this article.

    “Undocumented” means exactly one thing: ILLEGAL. Because everyone here legally has documents to prove it.

    Illegal aliens are undocumented because they can’t get legal residency documents. They are breaking our laws every day they’re here illegally, and it’s nonsense to try and make it a sexual orientation issue. It’s not. It’s criminal activity.

    As usual, George Soros has this crowd of puppets is dancing to his tune. Most of them don’t even realize they’re being used to promote his anti-U.S. propaganda, and the few who do realize it are happy to be used because it pays.

    And as ‘Gay In SJ’ notes above, these folks embrace causes such as illegals for relevancy and funding. Soros provides funding in return for promoting his “No Borders” propaganda. But they never think about what “no borders” really means.

    These folks don’t seem to understand that the newest wave of Middle Eastern immigrants are coming here from Islamist countries where they delight in throwing gays off tall buildings. It seems that money trumps everything now, even the murdering of their own kind.

  5. > The ones that courts have affirmed.

    GAY IN SJ:

    Much to examine and deconstruct.

    Unfortunately, the limitations of SJI will limit thoughtful exchange.

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