Thursday, June 23, 2011

Gay 2011 - Diaz Family of The Bronx

image nicked from Dick Mac

It's hard to believe that the Stonewall Riots happened 42 years ago.

I remember sitting in the back seat of my father's car on a Sunday just before the 4th Of July. We were going to be putting the boat in the water at Old Colony Yacht Club, in Dorchester, and he was with Bob in Chester's Backyard (a barroom) purchasing (illegally) a case (or two) of Schlitz for the boat.

The radio was always tuned to one of the news stations that played marine forecasts, and for some reason I think it was WBZ 1030. While we sat there, a radio show discussed the events of the week. The big stories were the Red Sox (of course), a riot in Greenwich Village (another riot), and the funeral of Judy Garland (I didn't even know she had died).

Riots were still big news in 1969, because they were happening all across the country, generally among police and citizens demonstrating against the Vietnam war or for civil rights. The story seemed to be that a bunch of drunk patrons (probably hippies, right?) got in a fight with police and it got out of hand and continued into the next day. The word "gay" still meant "happy" and the reporter made no mention of homosexuals, or election-year harassment of minority communities.

Judy Garland was the girl from Wizard of Oz, and my mother had the box set "Judy At Carnegie Hall." Two summers prior, my mother and one of her friends went downtown to see Judy perform and coincidentally ended-up at the same cocktail lounge, Alfie's, as the singer later that night. My mother approached Judy and was saddened that the singer, whom she adored, screamed at her to be left alone. So, although "Judy At Carnegie Hall" had been played regularly on our record player, she never played it again, and I only heard it when I put it on (which was more often than I should admit). But I digress . . .

It wasn't until a few years later when I was a member of the 1976 Boston Gay Pride Planning Committee that I realized I'd heard about the Stonewall Riots and Judy's funeral at the very same moment. I always thought it was an amazing coincidence, but nobody else has ever been as impressed.

All of that said, Gay Pride Day is this weekend in New York City.

The Village Voice released their queer issue and I was fascinated by an article about the Diaz family, of The Bronx.

Ruben Diaz, Sr., is the homophobic minister/senator who works in Albany to promote the hatred and continued marginalization of homosexuals; his son, Ruben, Jr., is the hypocritical Bronx Borough President who protects the public activities of the elder Diaz; and Erica Diaz, is the lesbian niece/granddaughter of these two horrible men.

The elder Diaz's online biography at the New York Senate's website refers to him as a minister (Reverend Diaz) more times (9) than it does an elected official (Senator Diaz) (6), and one of those references to Senator Diaz refer to him as Senator Reverend Diaz.

I think it's odd that an elected official would consider their business title (reverend) to be more important than their government title (senator); and I think there should be an investigation into Diaz's use of the State Senate's website to promote his personal business.

Ruben Diaz, Jr., wants to be taken seriously as a modern American, but his refusal to protect the interests of all New Yorkers against his homophobic father shows him to be ineffectual as a leader. He is the Bronx Borough President and if you are a homosexual in The Bronx, then he is failing to protect you adequately and to advocate for your well-being. In a nutshell, he is a failure as a public servant. He cannot, of course, prevent his father from expressing his opinion, and I don't expect him to. There are approximately 140,000 homosexuals in The Bronx who need their rights protected and Diaz, Jr. has failed to speak out against those who would deny over a hundred thousand of his constituents their civil rights. If an elected official cannot speak-up to protect ALL his constituents, he is a failure.

The article was much more generous than I will ever be about the Diaz family who have created a little fiefdom in New York City politics.

The article follows, allows and forgives the parochial notion of patriarchal bonds in this Latino family. These are cultural bonds that keep sons from maturing as modern men, daughters from escaping the cycle of pre-marital teenage maternity, and homosexual children from leading a healthy, fulfilling life.

The article quaintly tells the story of Erica joining her grandfather on the podium at his anti-gay rally on the steps of the Borough Hall outside the windows of her uncle's office. Erica explains that she was present at the anti-gay rally so her grandfather knew she loves him.

What the fuck?

So, I am a lesbian and the only way my family knows I love them is that I stand at a podium while they say lesbianism is unacceptable.

Girl, if this is your idea of how the world works, you are in for a hellish life of complete and utter subjugation at the hands of anyone who wants your love. Grow a spine and either go back into the closet and side with your bigoted grandfather and spineless uncle, or speak out against them. Having it both ways is useless -- which will lead to your own misery.

Diaz, Jr. is also treated kindly in the article, perhaps because he is handsome and young and smart, and maybe the writer might have a crush on him. Perhaps we all do. He's pretty hot! But Diaz, Jr. needs to grow a set and either protect ALL his constituents against his father's moronic, unAmerican activities; or just put his tail between his legs, shut-up and fall into line behind his daddy in one of the anti-gay hate-fests daddy likes to host.

Diaz, Sr.'s most recent cause celebre was gay marriage. He worked diligently, vocally and hatefully to prevent basic civil rights from being enjoyed by all taxpayers. Like most hypocrites that drape themselves in the mantle of the Christus, he was concerned about the institution of marriage. Diaz, Sr., is such a fan of marriage and so concerned about its protection, that he has been married twice. His first wife wasn't good enough for him, so he got a new one. And he is afraid that homosexuals will destroy marriage?!?!? Looks like the Reverend is doing a good job of it all by himself.

When a family inserts itself into the public in a pursuit of power, their life decisions become part of the public record and they are held accountable. God knows we do it to the Kennedy, Palin, and Bush families, and the Diaz family should be treated no differently. If they are on your side, then give them praise, if they are your enemy, speak out against them.

Unlike the former families, the Diaz family wants it both ways: they want to hate homosexuals and work to deny them civil rights and they want to love homosexuals and support their place in American society. Well, you can't have it both ways: you are either for the continued discrimination of taxpayers based on their sexuality, or you support equal treatment under the law for all taxpayers.

Image used above is a business card design nicked from Business Cards and you can purchase them at that site.

Díaz Family Values. This excellent article was written by Steven Thrasher.

Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr., official government bio

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