CBP celebrates another month

Deputy Chief Patrol Agent Rosendo Hinojosa, Gabriel Sanchez of TAMIU and Port DIrector Gene Garza

Customs and Border Protection stepped it up a notch today by recognizing Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Trangender Pride month. A quote from their press release:

CBP is hosting an event at La Posada’s Zaragoza Room to commemorate Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month. This year’s theme is “We are ALL American.” The event will feature a keynote speech delivered by Gabriel S. Sanchez, President, Gay Straight Alliance, Texas A&M International University and an educational awareness presentation.

Good for the agency(ies?)! Its work culture does not openly embrace those of differing orientations but at least its public relations people do – maybe its a good step. But I will refrain from talking more about my opinion of the culture and tell you a little personal story:

Long ago and far away, I was studying people and their emotions. My internship was at a community college and because it was so small, I was asked to take on the LGBT awareness month so I planned some pretty superficial displays of posters, books, etc. It really was nothing profound where people truly got to understand others different than them, just an awareness of who had been great talents in our history who were gay, lesbian or other orientation. I didn’t think much of it but apparently, two of my office mates did. Without asking, without discussing, without any warning, they avoided me like the plague. These ladies were employees of the school and had worked with all kinds of students but because I posted up posters that forced them to think beyond heterosexuality, it put me on the out. My internship supervisor reminded me that it was also a learning experience for them so I let it go.

I had also been given the task of starting and sponsoring the college’s Latino club – piece of cake, until… the June LGBT display. These were students I saw frequently since the October before and we would talk about all kinds of things. So the president asks a little timidly “so… uhm… you put up the displays at school? Are you like … a lesbian?” I asked “What would it change if I were?” He said “Nothing, but if you are not, then why did you do it?”

Ok, so… ready? This was almost picture perfect so I wrote it up for my supervisor in my Masters program. A lesson I had been taught long ago and was about to teach someone else: “Because if we don’t help stand up for the oppressed, we are helping support the oppression.” Ok, not so picture perfect – ha. But at the time, it was a Hallmark moment with me and the Latino students in a little college in corn country. Because I am heterosexual does not mean I should not support those who are not.

I’ll stop being preachy – just congratulating CBP and a hope for moving beyond tolerance to respect of differences (unless you are in politics, then you are free game! Alright – I will resist).

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About Que Fregados

Que Fregados is a quirky look at little things that strike us funny in Laredo and the unique Latino culture. Suggestions and comments are welcome. You can also email to quefregados@gmail.com.
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13 Responses to CBP celebrates another month

  1. Erika says:

    Absolutely! I was stunned to see this, but it’s a step in the right direction.

  2. avoice says:

    well that is great! That everyone may have a voice. Especially those whom are oppressed, slaughtered, and have silent screams. All agencies should step it up even further and support those who have the right to be heard, but their silent screams will forever be silenced. How about next month mr. border patrol and police man etc…. you protect the unborn too. Now lets all be trully a part of the open society who grants freedom and liberty and justice to all. No MORE SILENT SCREAMS!

  3. ____come on !!!, give US some hard news like the guy that saw his wife in a car with another Gent and tried to run them down and hit a palm tree and killed himself, or the lady with the knife, or the one with the Hammer, all warm human interest stories > . . .

  4. C-Palo says:

    Some people just hover around blogs and do nothing but criticize them when they could just start their own blog, right?

    Nice job Que Fregados.

  5. BT Blues says:

    Wow. I am pleasantly surprised by the CBP announcement. Slowly the wheels of progress move forward.

  6. MonBon says:

    I know this is cynical, but when I saw it, I initially thought it was a joke (not haha but a prank). I know it’s a national celebration, and while I’d like to think an agency known for its macho-ness would be more forward thinking (the percentage of female agents, for example, is minuscule), I can’t help but think it was mandated by the higher ups as an effort towards humanizing an agency that has caught a lot of flack in the press lately for being everything BUT sensitive. However, I was only there for the first part, so perhaps the presentation was more progressive. What exactly were they presenting the young man in the photo?
    By the way, I appreciate that you always give everyone the benefit of the doubt. I myself would prefer to tone down my cynicism (I do try). I’ll keep reading and hope it rubs off. 😀

    • que fregados says:

      Trust me, I really make the effort to temper my own cynicism. I just sent an email to my CBP contacts to ask what it was. I was not at the ceremony but I do know the young man is president of the Gay Straight Alliance.

      • que fregados says:

        From my friend Rick Pauza at CBP:

        “He was presented with a certificate by CBP for making his presentation at the first-ever national Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month special emphasis program event celebrated in Laredo.

        I hope that helps.”

  7. Risa de Angel says:

    Your blog — and this particular post (about the CBP at least trying to join the 21st century) — are both refreshing and uplifting. Both exemplify generosity of spirit. I also appreciate how you give people the benefit of the doubt. ¡Viva Que Fregados!

  8. Big O says:

    The U.S. Border Patrol has always been a big promoter of the Gay Lifestyle. They have a large presence in the force and even have promoted them to high ranking positions as Deputy Chiefs and Assistant Chiefs. http://madmax.lmtonline.com/textarchives/040500/s1.htm

  9. Gabriel Sanchez says:

    Hello I came across your blog, my name is Gabriel Sanchez, I am that guy in the photo. I know this occurred a year ago, but I strongly believe having coverage of such events is important. (I googled something to the nature of gay Laredo history). My speech had an overarching theme of civil rights and I hope that I had left people thinking by invoking religion (Jesus never condemned, etc), stereotypes (I had laughs when I said just because I am of Mexican descent doesn’t mean I dance la cucaracha or eat beans every day, etc and compared it to people thinking gays are all feminine or are homogeneous in any way), love when I spoke about my family while my mother was present, and lastly I said that the LGBT community would not give up a fight. 3 other participants took part, Reyna Chavez gave a speech about religion’s role in discrimination against women and compared it to its discrimination against gays, Tiffany Kardashian recited a poem, and Jaime Moncivais sang The Climb. Thank you for posting this and sharing your story. Much love. p.s. this year we didn’t have this ceremony because of lack of funds from the federal government. 😦 If anyone is interested in knowing about gay friendly organizations, look up PILLAR Laredo and STCADA’s many men, many voices.

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