Join us in celebrating the first anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act. To gear up for the June 26 anniversary, msnbc will feature couples’ and individuals’ reflections on the impact the decision has had on their lives and the future of the LGBT rights fight in the United States.
In the last year, marriage equality has come to nine states. Federal judges have also struck down same-sex marriage bans in Idaho, Oklahoma, Virginia, Michigan, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin, though their decisions are on hold pending appeals.
No ban on same-sex nuptials has survived in federal court since DOMA’s demise. And, as of this month, every remaining ban has been hit with a legal challenge. Both marriage equality advocates, and opponents alike, believe it won’t be long before the issue is once again before the U.S. Supreme Court, and ultimately legalized throughout the nation.
"I want the LGBTQ youth, particularly LGBTQ youth of color, to look within our community for inspiration and to recognize their own power in creating solidarity movements across cultures and borders."'
Name: Oscar Nuñez
City, State: Brooklyn, NY
Profession: Urban planner, DJ and co-founder of Papi Juice
Below are Oscar's responses to the questions.
Have you noticed a general shift in attitude toward the LGBT community since the Supreme Court ruling?
Not really. The general shift in attitude has been happening in the long-term, but almost exclusively towards particular groups within the LGBTQ community. Visibility plays a large role in this and the media's representation of the LGBTQ community at the time of the ruling and continuing today is largely of upper-class, white, educated members of the community. A lot of the conversations exclude groups of LGBTQ people, particularly folks who are young, poor and of color.
What are the ways in which the DOMA ruling has fallen short?
The ruling fell short in that it erased the other issues people continue to face in the LGBTQ community — documentation, immigration, housing and health care. As the ruling passed, people seemed to have forgotten that homeless youth are almost twice as likely to identify as LGBTQ than straight or that LGBTQ people of color still face discrimination and racial profiling at exponentially higher rates than their straight, white counterparts.
What would you like President Obama and future leaders to prioritize in terms of LGBT rights?
Establishing larger education campaigns teaching youth about today’s hate, discrimination and racism; encouraging visibility of all people under the LGBTQ umbrella; increasing protection at local government levels in terms of basic rights like housing; and health care should all be priorities, in my opinion.
What are your hopes and dreams for the next generation or [for your children]?
Self-love, self-acceptance and solidarity. I think that our community puts so much time and energy into trying to change and appease others instead of looking into ourselves and the people around us that love us and/or that are like us to empower each other. I want the LGBTQ youth, particularly LGBTQ youth of color, to look within our community for inspiration and to recognize their own power in creating solidarity movements across cultures and borders. Let’s decentralize the conversations from oppressive systems and look into introspective systems of empowerment.
Listen to a DJ set from Oscar's party, Papi Juice, a space for queer latino men:
Follow Oscar on Twitter @oscarnnnn and listen to his story on NPR: Raised In The U.S. And Coming Out To Immigrant Parents.
Don't miss yesterday's profile on Odera: “Walk-strut-prance” down the aisle.