I have been a long time activist in the Dominican/LGBT Community. Several of my associations have included the Gay & Lesbian Dominican Empowerment Organization, Alianza Dominicana, LGBT Dominican Picnic/Health Fair and most recently the Community Board 10 LGBT Task Force. It is has been my goal to see the visibility and influence of LGBT issues become prominent and included among the issues of the entire Dominican community. In an attempt to accomplish this, the support of Councilman Ydanis Rodríguez has been instrumental. That is why I am so angered and betrayed Councilman Rodríguez has chosen to support Reverend Rubén Díaz, Sr. for an open seat in the Bronx.
Díaz, Sr. is a Pentecostal minister and politician who has been virulently opposed to LGBT equal rights, marriage rights and women's rights. Rodríguez who has always voted in favor of these issues, wants to become the Speaker of the City Council and is seeking Díaz' support. Rodríguez claims that Díaz, Sr. has a satisfactory on issues important to his community (i.e, seniors, the taxi industry and support for Congressman Adriano Espaillat).
Councilman Rodriguez' support of Diaz, Sr. is particularly galling in light of the current issues in Charlottesville, Virginia and President's Trump's lame response. The lesson is that equal rights and civil rights are not negotiable. One cannot accept bigotry and hope to be a unifying force in NYC politics. If a community leader cannot stand with all members of his community, what kind of support should he receive in return?
Rodríguez, I urge you to renounce your support of Díaz, acknowledge your mistake and then we can continue to work together again.
Francisco J. Lazala
Francisco J. Lazala is a Dominican LGBTQ activist currently living in New York.