When former a union boss got mixed up in a fight last month, verbal threats devolved into physical confrontation. To make a bad matter worse, someone threw homophobic slurs into the mix.
It’s shocking enough to see high-profile people resort to violence, as reported by San Jose Inside in a series of articles about the clash between Assemblywoman Nora Campos’ husband, Neil Struthers, and Local 270 business manager Enrique Arguello.
The incident is convoluted already, fraught with dirty politics and bitter rivalries. Unfortunately, it also involved homophobic insults and salacious teasing about Arguello, who has a wife, and Omar Torres, an openly gay man.
To harass Arguello and Torres because they posed for a photo together is ludicrous. To resort to hateful slurs to incite a physical fight, however, is unconscionable and homophobic.
The incident shows how homophobia gets caught in the crossfire and used as a weapon in ongoing political battles.
First of all, homophobia has no place in this arena or any. Being LGBTQ, especially if a person is openly gay, is something to celebrate and honor—not to attack.
Secondly, political battles need to center on issues, not descend into fistfights, groundless accusations, homophobia or slurs of any kind. Homophobic speech doesn’t just kick the intended target “in the balls,” so to speak. It kicks the entire LGBTQ community. It hurts everyone.
Gabrielle Antolovich serves as president of the Billy DeFrank LGBTQ Community Center Board of Directors.