DeColores Queer OC Looks to Revolutionize "Pride" During Weekend Conference

Ballet folklorico DeColores style!
Ballet folklorico DeColores style!
Photo by Denise Rodriguez

OC Pride week wrapped up earlier this month with an all-day celebration in downtown SanTana, but not everyone is feeling too festive. A conference organized by DeColores Queer Orange County, a grassroots LGBT people of color group, is looking to reshape the very notion of pride, or better yet orgullo, this Saturday. Issues near and dear to DeColores remain invisible, something the group wants to directly address.

"We're at the end of pride season for the LGBT community," says DeColores organizer Javier Saucedo. "We're looking at what pride means for us."

Though DeColores tables at every OC Pride festival and this year's event took place in Santa Ana, the group says there remains a dire need to be inclusive of queer people of color. "The organizing is not representative of the Latino community," Saucedo says. The 29-year-old Santa Ana resident has been a member of DeColores since it started back in 2009. He mentions a few Latino gay businesses and groups are invited but the event itself isn't inviting to their clientele. "OC Pride, the organization, has really failed to incorporate us."

With that, the group's sixth annual conference dubbed "¡Que Pride, Ni Que Pride! Revolutionizing Our Orgullo" shines a light on what OC's gay rights movement might look like and fight for if it gave its browner community members its due consideration. Gay and trans issues are making national headlines, from marriage equality to Caitlyn Jenner's Vanity Fair cover. There's even a Stonewall Riots-inspired film due in theaters next month. But it's all too white, middle-class and mainstream.

DeColores crew at last year's conference
DeColores crew at last year's conference
Photo by David Lopez

Workshops at the conference include topics like queer immigration, OC queer and trans politics and navigating safely through hookup culture and dating websites. Two of them will be given in Spanish. The conference also features a keynote, but not by any one speaker in particular. It's a community keynote where a 20-minute video will screen and discuss what pride means to them.

The U.S. Supreme Court's decision to legalize gay marriage across the country is seen as a victory, but doesn't factor heavily into this weekend's gathering. "As queer people of color, marriage equality has never been a priority for us," Saucedo says. "There's other pressing issues for our community like homelessness, access to healthcare, youth suicides, violence against transgender women."

The politics of DeColores and its conference echo the radicalism of Sylvia Rivera, a trans Latina central to the Stonewall Riots, although people wouldn't know that if they watch the trailer to the movie inspired by the event. "It's very easy for white America to erase the work that we've done and the work that we're doing," Saucedo says. "It's really hard to see a movie like Stonewall, when this movement was started by someone that we can relate is erased by a white, good-looking cis-gender male."

More than a movie, the slight is all too common to LGBT groups like DeColores, an all-volunteer outfit including a parent support group. They relay experiences where their work is taken with little credit by bigger organizations with deeper pockets.

"It's our reality as queer people of color and it's hard," Saucedo says, "but we continue to do the work that we do."

DeColores Orange County's "¡Que Pride, Ni Que Pride! Revolutionizing Our Orgullo" conference at the LGBT Center, 305 E. 4th St., Santa Ana, Sat. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Free.

Follow Gabriel San Román on Twitter @gsanroman2

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