Remember Nativo Lopez? Guy called Larry who became radicalized during the 1960s, led renter strikes against SanTana slumlords during the 1980s, served on the SanTana Unified School Board during the 1990s, then was recalled for his conflict-of-influenza, amongst other sins in early 2004? He's spent the last couple of years trying to remake himself as the next great Chicano Movement leader by heading the Mexican American Political Association (MAPA), a once-great group that now has the moral weight of a Kleenex.
This pronouncement comes on the heels of MAPA's 2008 voter guide for California's propositions. Nativo and his gang offer yes/no recommendations on every California proposition except two--Propositions 4 and 8.
The bigger controversy--and where Nativo shows his true colors--regards Proposition 8, the anti-gay-marriage initiative heavily funded by my pal, Howard F. Ahmanson, Jr. MAPA's non-endorsement infuriated Jeff LeTourneau, the Weekly's 2008 Best Gay Rights Activist , political director of the Elections Committee of the County of Orange, and as much of a mensch as you'll ever find. In a letter to Lopez and cc'ed to mucha gente, LeTourneau let Larry have it. "At a time in history when when it is necessary for community leaders to do exactly that (LEAD!) you have instead chosen to do the politically expedient and safe thing. At a time when virtually every other civil rights organization and leader has made clear that we will not stand by and let the rights of minorities be voted on by the majority, you have remained silent," LeTourneau wrote.
For his response, Lopez acted like he always does--with arrogance, idiocy, and Mexican nationalism.
Per Lopez: It's quite evident that you are not familiar with the Latino community - in its entirety, not just that section that is gay or lesbian or sympathetic to those values and life choices. MAPA is much broader than one section and it also takes into consideration that issues put before the electorate, by both the right and the left, many times are driven by particular political agendas that never consider the needs of the Latino community, but instead would only use this community for its own benefit.
Stop right there. Notice Nativo's use of words: "those values and life choices." Larry thinks gays choose their sexuality! Fuck him--he's no better than Sarah Palin. What a pendejo.
Moving on to Nativo's beef with ECCO--that the gays don't support his group when it comes to fighting for Mexicans, and therefore, neither should MAPA. He offers no substantial proof, and reduces civil rights to an ugly quid pro quo game. But his response gets better!
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Similarly, there is much more work to be done within the Latino community relative to the issues that forced Proposition 8 on the ballot, and the reasons to defeat it. The Latino community is not a homogeneous community, and there does exist a very strong conservative and religious current - and even intolerant - which plays a big role in the political fights of the day. Without a doubt this current has influence on the thinking of members of the leadership of MAPA and many other organizations. The organization was split on the question and decided that the best position to take at this moment was to have confidence in the individual voter to decide this issue based on their own individual or family values.
This is where an organization committed to civil rights takes a brave stance and confronts hate against a minority group because it's the right thing to do. Instead, MAPA pussied out. A true Chicano rights advocate, United Farm Workers founder Dolores Huerta, sure didn't mind incurring the wrath of Mexican homophobes--she recorded an ad against Proposition 8.
Nativo tried to make nice with LeTourneau by stating he's personally against Proposition 8, which Larry describes as "intolerant and homophobic legislation...which will only continue to fuel intolerance in general." But let's not forget he thinks homosexuality is a "lifestyle choice," and that his group can't be bothered to concern itself with any group other than Mexicans. Even MEChA doesn't do this. MAPA under Lopez represents the worst of the Mexican community--insular, petty, and homophobic.
Need further proof of the latter? MAPA also offered no endorsement on Proposition 4, which would require parental notification for any minor about to undergo an abortion. Put aside that most of Nativo's constituents are rabidly anti-abortion, and focus on who the group's main funder is: Jim Holman, publisher of the San Diego Reader and California Catholic Daily, and a man who's about as much of a Catholic gay basher as you can get. His Catholic publications have put the onus of the Catholic Church sex-abuse scandal on homosexuals, and Holman once infamously said he doesn't "want to encourage gay relationships" and thus forbade gay personals in the Reader (not sure if that's still the case). Every respectable, self-professed progressive organization in California urges a no vote on Prop. 4--except MAPA. Which makes sense, since they're neither progressive or respectable--just Nativo writ large.