Commentary: Party Pandering Verses Dialogue “Pride 2023”

As we head into June also known as “Pride Month” I’ll repost a discussion and dialog I had with past party leaders of both Otero County Political Parties for their consideration.

Already even before “Pride Month” begins the political parties are already politicizing the LBGTQ community and “speaking at it” without polling it, actually sitting down with visible community members and seeking their input and concerns and then educated about their views “actually speaking for it.”

Locally consider…

Candidly this whole LBGTQ+ conversation only coming up during “Pride” or as a reaction to a national event, narrative or controversy is annoying at best.

Who are the members of the LBGTQ+ community of Otero County that each party has actually polled on what are their community concerns?

Rene and myself are 2 of the most high profile members of the LBGTQ+ in this county, leading multiple high profile businesses, involvement in the arts and New York Avenue redevelopment, and with a significant media platform with the 2 online news channels and leadership of radio station. Not once has any party leadership asked Rene nor myself what we believe issues specific to our needs locally are?

I see a lot of chatter online about safety and fear of safety?

That has not been an issue for either of us (excepting for social media hostility and some of that came from a former chair, and now candidate vetting chair as an established member of the Democratic Party Inner Circle and as expected by the Block/Melton Klan.)

Rene and I are out, and opinionated, with opinions that seem to concern the status quo in leadership, of both parties, at times.

Frankly Community resolutions from any government body in this county are meaningless and without force of law, so what’s the point? As there has been debate on bringing forth resolutions for recognition. We are active members of the community we don’t need a meaningless resolution statement for affirmation. Affirmation comes from actual actions in leadership to cease creating hostile behaviors via social media posts and in person communications and actually leading.

From resolutions on voting rights to those related to abortion; they have done nothing locally, but divide the community, and they are meaningless.

Rather than speak for what party leadership believes the LBGTQ+ community needs, I’d propose a bi-partisan fact finding caucus to find out what’s top of mind and concerns to that community?

Create surveys, create a fact finding party committees, hit the streets and meet with the LBGTQ+ leaders in the world of arts, nonprofits, business, religious (Unitarian, etc), service and healthcare etc and take notes.

Bread and butter issues; economic inequality, employment discrimination, access to grants and small business development opportunities from that state and Feds, unique healthcare needs and access, taxation, educational opportunities and access - those are priorities of the LBGTQ+ individuals, we encounter.

The parties, if serious about expanding their base, should each reach out and create subcommittees focused on LBGTQ+ issues and outreach, Latino/Latina issues and outreach, Mescalero Apache local concerns, issues and outreach, local African American concerns, issues and outreach.

That’s 4 subcommittees each party should have in place, with a mission of fact finding and then draft an action plan of tangible actions for each committee to politic and drive local policy debate around. In doing so each would expand their base.

A resolution of affirmation does not address our concerns.

We are affirmed every day with our day to day interactions with neighbors, friends, business associates and customers or clients.

On the rare occasion we’ve encounter hostility, it’s important to note it hasn’t been from where we would expect, but hostility we have encountered, has been from alleged allies that publicly speak of an affirming agenda, then act in a derogatory manner via social media or behind closed doors, thinking those conversations won’t get back to us.

Fundamentalist religious bigotry exposes itself on occasion to the local LBGTQ+ as does antisemitism, but sadly, that’s to be expected in a community with high poverty rates, transient, and one that struggles with an uneducated or undereducated and/or an unenlightened tribal populace; as is common in many rural communities thus the rise of Tribalism in those communities.

Rather than an affirmation “prohibiting official prejudice” as someone proposed, sponsor local legislation that defines “separation of religious dogma and government actions.” Provide property tax incentives to businesses or individuals that rehabilitate buildings with the same zest as is given to church properties that are tax exempt.

One can’t prohibit prejudice, it’s engrained in individuals via their environment and life experiences. One can address prejudice by engagement, participation and community outreach and bridge building and breaking up tribalism through in person interactions and ending hostility in social media posts and vindictiveness against those with opinions that differ from your own.

Individuals of all races, colors, creeds, backgrounds or sexuality that break bread, engage in arts or community events or nonprofit collaborations with LBGTQ+ people, Native American people, Latino or African American people are less likely to engage in prejudice, stereotyping, and hostility, once they have a connection in service, friendships or collaborations.

It all begins with in person dialog, interactions and ultimately collaborations and true leadership. Leadership that is missing in many quarters of political dialogue.

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