Empathy gap remains a challenge for LGBTQ allies
SAN DIEGO -- As an LGBTQ ally, I am a work in progress. I don't know firsthand what it's like to be rejected or marginalized -- even by family and friends -- because of who I am, so Pride Month is a time for introspection.
My brother and I don't talk much about being Latino, or about being raised in a small farm town, or having an immigrant grandfather.
Because those are experiences we share. Instead, we talk about the thing that separates us: his sexual orientation.
I asked my brother, who is gay, what he wants from allies, including me.
"I expect an open mind, a willingness to learn, and unconditional support," he said as if he had waited for this question for years.
"But most of all, I expect action," he said. "If you're going to talk the talk, then make sure you walk the walk. Show me action."
What kind of action? I asked.
He immediately referred to what has become known as the Pulse nightclub massacre.
Three years ago -- on June 12, 2016 -- a 29-year-old Muslim American security guard named Omar Mateen entered Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, with a high-powered rifle. He killed 49 people and wounded 53 others.
The FBI considers the shooting a terrorist attack. But, in the LGBTQ community, this was a hate crime -- two times over. Pulse was hosting a "Latin Night" at the time of the shooting, so most of the victims were Latino.